Well I don't know about ninety-six tears, but I read somewhere that the average amount of tears a person cries in a lifetime adds up to around 120 litres. That seems an awful lot to me – equivalent to filling up six kitchen sinks! – but given my own propensity to cry at the drop of a titfer these days, maybe I can believe it.
I’ve never been a cry-baby - never the girl sobbing in the corner at a party, or blubbing in the loos at work, unlike several women with far tougher exteriors whom I've witnessed in my previous life of office jobs and Christmas piss-ups. I’ve never cried at leaving do's and I’ve never cried at weddings. I’ve been thinking about the subject today though because I know I’ll have to deal with my runny eyes (and even more embarrassing runny nose) at the funeral on Thursday and I know I’ll be trying hard to hold it all back - I also know that I won’t succeed.
Well that’s fair enough, it's a sad occasion - but I do get that throbbing behind my eyes as those hot tears try to make their escape at the silliest things too sometimes, like simply seeing footage of, say, a beautiful bird in flight (especially if there's some emotive music in the background). It's a strange response to something wondrous and happy and I don't really understand it. I try to repress that prickling sensation from beneath my eyelids as if it's something shameful, but usually fail and then end up laughing at my own ridiculous-fucking-patheticness.
Still, I’m so glad I’m female and that I am at least “allowed” to cry. It must be harder if you’re born with the Y chromosome, where there still seems to be that unspoken expectation to keep tears at bay at all costs (as well as to have emerged from the womb with an innate knowledge of how to put up a shelf / unblock a drain / maintain a car, etc...) purely because of your gender. We all know what it’s like to fight those ‘stupid’ emotions, to try and swallow them away, and pretend that your eyes are a little glassy because you just sneezed, or your nose a little red because you just rubbed it…. But really, when you think about it: why? Why do we try so hard not to show how we feel when it’s as real, as universal and as valid, as any other emotional expression – like laughing, or smiling, or frowning?
I’ve known more than a couple of men to get tearful at times (by which I hope you won’t get the wrong impression!) and I’ve found it both moving and endearing - a revelation of compassion and depth. John Peel (bless 'im) openly admitted that as he got older he found himself crying more frequently and more easily than ever before, so it's not such a bad thing for a man to do, is it?! Or maybe it's an age thing? Whatever - each time I worry about that emotion creeping up on me and feel silly and embarrassed, I just remind myself of him and I don't feel quite so soppy. I'm sure I still have a few more kitchen sinks to fill, and it'll probably be triggered by something relatively innocuous a lot of the time. You still won't fnd me weeping at a wedding or puffy-eyed at a party, though.... now that's just far too girly!
I couldn't resist the tenuous link, seeing as I'm still musically on a Suede trip!