AS a teenager, in my first job, I loved to sit and listen, in the tea-break, to older members of staff. I recall some of the discussions and one being about men crying. One man said: "What's the problem? If we are not intended to excrete we wouldn't have been born with a bowel. If we are not intended to cry we wouldn't have been born with tear-ducts. All of us." (He put it rather more plainly but it would have involved me using a lot of asterisks.)

I agreed with him that male tears are no different from female ones. From five-year-old Harold crying in the infant school playground because he had wet his pants, to my father sobbing, howling, when I told him my daughter had died, crying was necessary; vital to relieve the intensity of feeling.

When Mark Smith writes, "But I cry" ("The damaging words that are dragging Scottish men down", The Herald, August 9) I applaud him and am greatly relieved that he behaves naturally. Well done to all men who do.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


I NOTE that the blood-sports industry has indicated that many grouse moor owners will not be shooting, according to consultants in rural property ("Grouse moor owners hold back as season begins", The Herald, August 13).This is as believable as a Boris Johnson red bus NHS finance statement. Of course they will shoot, it’s what they do.

With the “season” lasting 16 weeks it leaves another 36 weeks to shoot other things, like mountain hares and birds of prey. That is also what they do.

We are told that “rural communities” – whatever they are – have fragile economies and depend largely on the shooting of grouse. With some shooting estates charging £30,000 per gun, per day, I find this pleading poverty rather hard to swallow. Perhaps lead shot from eating grouse has penetrated the brain of the well-heeled shooters? This “rural” irrelevance should be confined to the dustbin of Victoriana, that somehow still pervades in 21st century Scotland.

Bernard Zonfrillo, Glasgow.

China threat

TINA Giam (Letters, August 12) asks why the protesters in Hong Kong have to wear masks, if they are not doing anything wrong. The reason they have to wear masks is because if the Beijing government find out who they are, they will be arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and possibly killed. It is only 30 years since the massacre in Tianmen Square in Beijing, when unknown numbers of pro-democracy demonstrators were killed. That's why the demonstrators have to hide their identity, no other reason.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.

Plain speaking

IN light of recent articles regarding the late Jeffrey Epstein, when will we desist from using the misnomer, “underage girls”, and use the correct term, “children” "Issue of the day: The Epstein conspiracy theories", The Herald, August 13)?

Lynne Roberts, Glasgow G42.

A real test

LOOKING back to my early 1950s interview for entrance to the medical faculty at Glasgow University I was very fortunate that it lasted a mere 15 minutes and focused mainly on my hyped skills on piano in a minor league ceilidh band and on the tennis courts rather than the demanding and exhaustive assessment itemised by Dr Philip Gaskell (Letters, August 13 ).

However, what was missing then, and I think still now for young graduates, was how to assess the ability to function when meals are missed and one is sleep-deprived.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.

Summer poser

WHEN does the Scottish Government hosepipe ban start?

John Dunlop, Ayr.