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“Manly Tears” or “Manly Tears Were Shed” is an expression typically used by male users in forums to reveal one’s feeling of great sadness or joy (depending on the context) without compromising his masculinity in the eyes of fellow males.
The phrase “manly tears” became popularized through 4chan’s imageboards in early 2008, according to Google search results and Insights data. Though circumstantial, it was likely influenced by the recurring BAW threads (sad media or touching story threads) as well as general prevalence of martial arts mangas like “Fist of the North Star” on 4chan.
The dramatization of masculine tears has been also used as a trope in popular films and television shows, particularly in Japanese animes or mangas and Chinese kung-fu movies in which alpha-male characters quietly shed streams of tear while sustaining the poker face.
As a reaction face, “manly tears” may be used to describe a wide range of emotions, such as exhilaration, sadness, disappointment and others.
In discussion forums, “manly tears” has been alo used as the title of threads where users can share sad/touching stories or experiences:
According to LurkMore Wiki, “Manly Tears” was also used as a pseudonym by a notorious troll on 4chan’s /v/ in 2008, who has been also credited with creating Ralph Pootawn on the virtual reality platform Second Life.
He is well known for scamming people on /v/ on a regular basis and trolling, he also likes to post pictures of himself to use as (troll bait) which works successfully every time, most of /v/ hate Manly tears for his constant trolling and apparently takes the spot of most hated tripfag from Lanced jack (The new lanced jack) Mostly seen in /v/ but ventures to other boards to troll at random.
The first Urban Dictionary entry was submitted on April 21st, 2008:
What men shed as a quiet, dignified showing of being deeply moved. Whereas merely bawling your eyes out will open you up to accusations of being emo or a sissy, a manly tear shows you’re mature enough to show your emotions without whoring for attention.
The TVTropes Wiki entry was created on August 8th, 2010:
There comes a time when a man’s emotions do get the better of him, and they pour forth – prerequisite impassioned speech may or may not be present – by cascading down his cheeks. These are what we like to call Manly Tears.