Service of Crying

February 22nd, 2018

Categories: Crying, Emotion, Tears


Crying was the subject of Maria Hinojosa’s NPR’s Latino USA program the other week. The focus was the role of crying in Latino life and the discussion focused on whether Latinos cry more than others.


I didn’t hear the whole show, got lost in a description of a microscopic survey to analyze the number of times Latino men and women cried over a period of weeks, and assume the point of the program was to illustrate that tears come fast and furious for Latinos.

More importantly, it got me to thinking about crying.


One of the guests on Hinojosa’s show mentioned that crying is the pressure cooker for the soul, that it’s comforting and nice. I disagree. I’m the family weeper, doubt there’s an ounce of Latino blood in me and I’ve always hated not being able to control my tears. I envy people who can and those who never feel like crying. Only an actor in a role that requires tears would find that troublesome.

I don’t mind when other people cry and think it’s healthy that American men feel more comfortable crying these days.

Do you think that certain nationalities are more prone to tears? Is yelling a form of crying? Do you have techniques to stop yourself from crying when you don’t want to? Do you cry easily? What turns on your tear faucet?


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6 Responses to “Service of Crying”

  1. Anonymous Said:

    I heard Joanne Lipman, author of “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know About Working Together” at a recent New York Women in Communications event. She said that women cry at the office because they are frustrated. That’s how they express themselves.

    I often cry when I’m frustrated or when I cannot find a solution and am overwhelmed. When the tears come, I usually hit a point where I allow myself to stop and refocus.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The very few times I’ve cried at work about work, I’ve let things go too far and I blow and tears may be part of it. If I’m telling a colleague/friend about something personal that’s profoundly sad I might get teary but that’s not what Lipman is referring to.

    Otherwise, I’m the one crying over a Hallmark card advert; during a round of “God Bless America,” and through countless movies and British sitcoms that touch me. I cry when at funerals. I may begin to cry when feeling supremely sorry for myself but that’s easy to stop. I just give myself a mental slap and keep on trucking.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Tears are a human’s way of convincing society of grief. They make me see crocodiles, and more often than not, match the sincerity of these crafty reptiles.

    Productive activity is an effective road towards healing. A neighbor died before her time: Those of us who were friendly got together and held a memorial of sorts, wherein cheerful memories involving the deceased were relived. Laughter and good feeling prevailed, along with a better understanding of the deceased, a touchy soul at best! Other methods involve gifts to charities, which often makes life easier for others.

    Crying privately is another matter, and only affects the mourner.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Clearly you are one of the lucky ones who don’t suddenly feel the tears coming, much like the lapse of seconds after stubbing a toe, just long enough to anticipate the sting of pain that soon follows only in this case, it’s tears, not pain, that comes There’s nothing that stops it and it’s not fake. And often it comes up from behind and surprises.

    I was having dinner with a friend the other day and he was telling me about his visit with his son to a concentration camp in Germany last summer and as he spoke, his nose turned red and tears fell. Soon, they stopped and he kept telling his story. His tears were not fake and he was impressing nobody.

    Saying goodbye has been a trigger for me. There are far too many others. I don’t think about something sad for a time and if I bring it up, forgetting how it touches me, suddenly, wham! If sad, hearing one of Rachmaninoff’s concertos can bring tears. I’d rather not cry, believe me. It’s a reaction I’m not proud of, would rather didn’t happen and have no control over. It would be a blessing if mine were crocodile tears. How wonderful to be able to turn off the faucet.

    I’ve been to funerals where people laugh at the anecdotes, me included.

  5. Lucan Said:

    Whether we cry or not is the consequence of many things, from our backgrounds, to how we were raised. For example: My family did not cry at funerals, and I don’t either.

    I have no problem with crying, including men crying, but I do with yelling, and which I equate with anger rather than grief. I also have a problem with exaggerated anguish, tears turned on with dramatic intent.

    I’m sentimental and cry easily under certain circumstances. For example: when I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam for the first time. But what really unzips my eyelids is music. Pieces such as the final chords of La Boheme, “Di Provenza il mar,” the “Liebstod,” and Mahler’s adagios, but especially the final movement of the Ninth.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I was raised around people who did not cry. So much for that theory you reference, though I could be the exception that proves the rule.

    With the exception of spoiled children who cry to get their way when they are able to speak [obviously not babies who can’t express their unhappiness any other way], I think I’ve only observed “exaggerated anguish” by actors in the movies or on the stage.

    After the two Kennedy assassinations, my church began singing “God Bless America” at the end of mass [when we usually sang only religious songs]. I was leaving the US for two years when the organ struck up that music and I couldn’t contain my tears.

    As for family habits at funerals, I went to very few if any with my parents.

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