Crying can be a funny thing. Well, not funny exactly. It can be touching or heartbreaking or uncomfortable or communicative or frantic or…I guess funny. Like, if it’s your enemy or something.
But for a guy, crying is weird. You’re supposed to be able to handle when other people do it, but you can’t really get away with doing it yourself. Personally, that’s where I sit at least. I understand what to do when other people cry (I’ve taught preschool; I’ve had girlfriends), but it’s hard for me to really break down. It’s like how I can read and hear Spanish better than I can speak it.
There are lots of different kinds of crying. They generally fall into two categories. We’ll call them “Weeping” and “Sobbing.” Weeping is a passive cry. Tears fall out of your eyes. You deal with them. Sobbing is an active cry. You really put your body into it. Beyond those two subsets, crying falls into several more specific categories.
Something In My Eye/Is Someone Cutting Onions In Here?
This cry could almost be chalked up to atmospheric conditions. After all, lots of factors can physiologically make eyes water. Wind, exhaustion, onions, pollen.
This cry can only be differentiated by context. Is the crier watching “The Notebook?” Is the crier at the wedding of a childhood friend?
If the crier is male, there are only a few circumstances that make it comfortable to be crying. Did the crier just win the Super Bowl the week of his grandfather’s death? Did someone shoot the crier directly in the tear duct with a gun?
Look, I’m not saying I like it or that it’s fair. I’m just reporting my experiences. I’m kind of a wimp, and I will tear up when the good guy sports team wins in movies. Yes, even “The Sandlot.” What…I mean…nothing.
The Just Gimme a Second
This cry looks a lot like the first one, with the exception that some combination of its intensity and duration necessitate a cleanup of tears. Generally the back of the hand and a strong sniffle get the job done. In more severe cases, the crier may employ a tissue.
Generally this is a good news cry. Weddings. Engagements. So good romantic news, I guess. Business mergers, not so much.
Here’s where we move into sobbing territory.
The Bad News Cry
Here’s where the line gets drawn. A good news cry is usually anticipateable. You see it coming. You’re invited to the wedding. A guy gets down on one knee. The movie is called “Remember The Titans.”
A bad news cry has emotion, plus surprise, plus…well…bad news. A bad news cry is generally a weep, not a sob. There’s a shudder at least. Like being physically confronted with something. Losing a job. Hitting an animal with your car by accident. Bad grades. A death in the family.
The Dry Heave
This one’s the worst you’ll likely see in public. It’s only appropriate for the death of a child or spouse. Or a surprise announcement of a divorce. We’ve all seen someone misappropriate this cry for other circumstances. It’s awkward. It’s like: “Dude, we all wanted to see another season of ‘Arrested Development.’ Pull it together. It looks like you’re about to puke.”
It’s one thing to not be able to hold it together. It’s another thing to not even try.
The Rock and Roll
The Rock and Roll is a full-on tantrum. Writhing on the floor. Screaming. Sobbing. If an adult does this, just run away.
So there you have it. Hope this helps. Sorry about your loss.