Oprah has coined a phrase I had to throw out yesterday, The Ugly Cry.
Almost every man who has been in any relationship of any consequence with any woman has, tragically, witnessed the Ugly Cry firsthand.
It ain’t pretty, man. That’s why it’s called ugly.
You know the cry I (/Oprah) mean (/s). Just plain ol’ u-g-l-y. Tears streaming, lips quivering, slobber potential in between monster gasps of woe. You might as well just scream, “I have estrogen! Hear my whine!”
Oh, we hate the Ugly Cry. You guys have no idea. Oh, my GOD. The times we turn around later and go, “What the fuck is wrong with me?’ I’m three sobs away from needing an industrial hanky, but zero sobs away from a complete loss of pride? How wrong is this? Where in the hell is my brain? Is there no override button for this shit? My god, someone get me a penis!”
Almost every chick’s done this thing. It comes up at the stupidest times. Every time we try to get a grasp, we realize again, “Oh, I’m such a loser! Ugly-crying!” and on with the waterworks and gulpfest. Afterwards, it’s just a humiliating realization that, “yes, I really, really am that weak.”
Oh, sure, let’s call it some euphemistic maxim, like, “in touch with my emotions.” Sure, that almost makes me feel like something less of a fraud, but no, not quite. Normally, I try to repress my emotions. I don’t want to be in touch with them, and shit, man I turn down every collect call they throw at me. I’m more the type where I just shuffle around and grunt a little, in between resentfully scouring dishes or meaninglessly shifting things around into less offensive patterns on the counter. I think about things, develop great reasoning for my emotions, what have you, and then, I open my fucking mouth.
“But what I felt…” [honk] [sob] [wheeze] [sob] “was that what you were saying…” [sob] [whine] [sniff] [snuffle] [snort]
Yada-fucking-yada. Like any of it matters.
By the end of it, we’re so ashamed with our all-out girliness in this crazy-ass world of men that we soften or completely bristle, and either way, things don’t progress as they should. You can almost start to understand why those old sexist commercials of the ‘50s had the men doing all the negotiating for big purchases.
“Now, honey, you just let me take care of the big, bad negotiator. You just rest your pretty head.”
And what’s really lame is this ability for absolute stoicism through much of life’s challenges, but then the lips part for some person with whom I wanna talk on a deeper level, where I’m just being honest, and whomp! There it is.
The Ugly Cry.
I know that my “Ugly Cry” tends to come out most often when I’m upset about something with someone I genuinely care about, someone with whom I’ve got an issue but with whom also I feel a pretty solid connection with. It doesn’t make it any easier, it still is something that’s been hurting enough to produce that reaction, or it’s one of those moments where we feel safe enough to really let ALL of our shit go.
I had an Ugly Cry like that last week, and ALL the shit I’d been feeling all rolled into one bad session of expressing how I felt. Man, it got heavy ‘cos I just couldn’t shake the Ugly Cry. There it loomed, on my shoulder, the entire fucking night. I felt like such a loser. I couldn’t get it together, and then I’d feel more frustrated about my lack of control, and off I’d go again.
You know, I think the Ugly Cry sometimes is actually that negative-but-positive sign about the relationship’s strengths sometimes. As chicks, we get so overwhelmed by grumpy guys in our presence and we think (like you) that it’s our job to fix it somehow, by being cute or nice or sweet, and sure enough, it backfires. What we either forget or just fail to realize is that guys being grumpy with us is a sign of how comfortable they feel around us, a sign of trust. It just really doesn’t feel that way when it’s going down. Usually tends to be a 20/20 hindsight reckoning, if anything.
And the Ugly Cry is sort of the same. A chick won’t go Ugly in front of someone she doesn’t trust, really.
Next time you boys are sitting there face-to-face with an Ugly Cry, just keep it together and remember, it’s a sign that she trusts you.
Just like a seagull shitting on you means luck, it’s all good, boys.