‘A complex secretomotor phenomenon characterised by the shedding of tears from the lachrymal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures’. It’s often believed only humans cry as an emotional response, although Darwin noted Indian elephant keepers at London Zoo often said that the elephants ‘cried in sorrow’. Yes, well, that’s clearly complete bollocks. Crying is commonly believed to be an outlet for intense emotions, although the exact reasons as to why we cry aren’t known. Even ‘crying studies’ can’t find a reason, and yes, that is a study where people are made to cry. Well that’s just cruel. Women cry between 30 and 64 times a year (tell me about it), and men between six and 17 times. A woman’s cry often lasts around six minutes on average, whereas a man’s cry will last around two minutes. And in 65% of women, this crying turns into a full blown sobbing session, compared to just 6% for men. However, until puberty, there is no difference between genders. You see? Puberty is miraculous. It ruins everything and makes everything wonderful, all at the same time. Like a good pair of clogs. Mmm.
The world of tears is a fascinating one. Did you know, for example, that when a woman cries, a man detects a unique chemical component in the tears that discourages sexual arousal? So if you’re a bit teary, and wondering why the fella isn’t interested in a night of lovemaking, there’s a scientific reason why. It’s kinda sweet, in a funny sordid way. Tears come out of the tear ducts, but if there’s an overflow of tears, the overflow flows down the nasal cavity, to which tear ducts are connected, giving us the sniffles that often accompany crying. There are three types of tears. Basal, reflex and psychogenic. Basal tears wash over our eyes to keep them clean and tidy. Reflex occurs when exposed to strong wind or an irritant. And psychogenic is the emotional crying kind. Babies don’t produce tears until they are three months old. The first tear always comes from the right eye. 39% of people cry between six and eight in the evening, the most popular crying time of the day. 77% of crying takes place at home. 15% in the car. 40% cry alone. 88% feel better afterwards. And extroverted people are more likely to cry than us shy ones. But we’re not without emotion.
I have a big ‘thing’ about not crying in front of people. I never do it, and I suspect it’s the case for most shy people. We don’t like to show our emotions or, more precisely, we’re incapable. I am. ‘Anger’ is about the best I’ve managed. That’s a real easy one. I do cry in private if I’ve lost someone, only once, one cry. Purely because the lump in throat can overwhelm and I need to ‘get it out’. Crying is illogical, for me. It’s a bodily reaction like peeing or bleeding for no reason I can fathom. I do that one a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever cried from injury. Probably because I get injured so much I’m used to it. I cry when I say goodbye to relatives I don’t see very often. Like my baby nephew. And of course, I cry when my favourite television characters depart. What? That’s perfectly normal. I miss Grissom, who doesn’t? Leave me alone.
So yes, I do cry but I don’t like it or make a habit of it. Crying is a very strange thing. It’s not for me. Although if that crying study pays big bucks, I’m in.
Do you cry, readers?
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