Bell Let's Talk Day: Boys Can (And Should) Cry


“I tried to laugh about it / Cover it all up with lies / I tried to laugh about it / Hiding the tears in my eyes / ‘Cause boys don't cry.”

Those are lyrics from The Cure’s 1979 song “Boys Don’t Cry,” which frontman Robert Smith explained, 40 years later, was inspired by his upbringing.

“When I was growing up, there was peer pressure on you to conform to be a certain way,” he told Rolling Stone in 2019. “And as an English boy at the time, you’re encouraged not to show your emotion to any degree.

“And I couldn’t help but show my emotions when I was younger. I never found it awkward showing my emotions … So I kind of made a big thing about it. I thought, ‘Well, it’s part of my nature to rail against being told not to do something.’”

“When I cry into my hands / I’m conditioned to feel like it makes me less of a man”

Initiatives like Bell Let’s Talk Day are helping to eliminate the stigma boys and young men often feel around expressing emotions. In 2022, boys can cry.

“We need to cry,” declared singer Shawn Mendes, during a 2020 appearance on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. “Stop thinking this is being brave and strong and start thinking it's the opposite, actually.

“We’re holding in these emotions and not crying – and being a**holes. Nothing about that is nice.”

In his 2020 single “Wonder,” Mendes shares: “When I cry into my hands / I’m conditioned to feel like it makes me less of a man” – a lyric that he said resonated with his male friends.

“Every single man in my life said something to me about that line, but in private,” he told GQ in an interview last year. “Not publicly, which shows how uncomfortable men can be about expressing how they feel.”

Mendes admitted he regularly lets the tears flow. “It’s like a huge physical release when it happens,” he said.

“We’re fighting against thousands of years of conditioning. It’s important to give men a real safe space to feel like they’re allowed to express their emotions.

“And that takes time and patience, because it’s not just a matter of whether they want to cry or not.”

Mendes told GQ about the physical toll anxiety took on him during “a really dark time” prior to the pandemic.

“It was all in my throat, which a lot of men experience,” he recalled. “We often experience those emotions as tension in our back, neck, and as pain in our bodies.

Jan. 26, 2022 is Bell Let’s Talk Day. Click here for more information and to see ways you can help. (Bell Media is the parent company of this website.)

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