Mentions of #RelationshipGoals were at an all-time high recently because of this viral video of a crying groom that gave everyone all the feels. If somehow you were actually living life and missed it, here’s a quick rundown: Gabriel Deku burst into tears at the mere sight of his bride-to-be, Annabelle, walking down the aisle. The sob fest got so intense that Gabriel’s best man (aka the real MVP) had to G-check the big homie and make him stand up straight and look at his wife like she’s the captain now. A few quick sniffles later and the United Kingdom-based couple got on with the ceremony.
Once black Twitter got wind of the video, its female contingent got their Keith Murray on and dubbed the scene the “most beautifullest thing in this world.” Comment sections were flooded with broad-stroked declarations from women that their bae—both real and fictional—better cry them a river at the altar or his love will forever be questioned. Guys, for the most part, took to roasting Gabriel for shedding thug tears.
I can see both sides of the proverbial coin here.
When my best friend got married some 10 years ago, I, of course, was his best man and was prepared for everything, from the Advil after the bachelor party to the rings on the big day. One thing I didn’t plan for, though, was this fool crying. Bruh, I could not believe that this typically cocky alpha male was up here bawling. I swear, if we hadn’t been in the house of the Lord, I would have bust out laughing in his face right then and there. Instead, I snickered under my breath and saved the jokes—of which there were plenty—for another day.
Fast-forward six years later, and I was now preparing to jump my own broom. I was cool throughout the entire morning leading up to the ceremony. But as soon as the strings on my entrance song, Kanye’s “All of the Lights (Interlude),” came on, the waterworks started. I had no idea what was coming over me, but I couldn’t stop the tears from coming down my eyes no matter how hard I tried. Finally I just said, two tears in a bucket, f—k it—and walked out to the altar with my head held high. I even shed a few more by the time my bride made her way down the aisle.
The question remains: Why do (some) men cry during their wedding?
I’d be hard-pressed to come up with an answer for every single guy on the planet, so I’ll just speak on my own personal experience. I wasn’t mourning the loss of my bachelorhood or feeling like my life was somehow over. In fact, it was the complete opposite. As cliché as it might sound, I was crying tears of pure joy. Second to the birth of my first child or finding out that Chick-fil-A was coming to New York City, this was the happiest day of my life.
Coming from a broken family and all the commitment issues that go along with that, I was embarking on a journey that I didn’t always think was possible. I was defying the statistics about black folks and marriage and starting something my own parents couldn’t finish. Plus, I was getting the opportunity to put a ring on the finger of one of the most beautiful women I had ever known. If a Jordan-crying face was the price I had to pay for all of that, then sign me up.
As boys, we’re often taught that crying isn’t cool and not what “real” men do—unless somebody died or you just won the championship game—because it’s seen as a sign of weakness. Well, in that moment I didn’t feel weak, but free. I was letting go of all my childish ways and doing the manliest thing possible: pledging my allegiance to a black woman forever ever.
Now, that’s some #RelationshipGoals for you.
Anslem Samuel Rocque is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based writer who previously ran the popular relationship site Naked With Socks On. He’s currently wearing way more clothes while working on his debut novel. Follow his thoughts in 140 characters or less on Twitter and on Instagram.