Have you ever been hiding tears while you laughed, maybe about a joke on yourself? I worked as a temporary clerk in a billing department and struck up a friendship with a very nice lady. Unknown to me, her other friend resented me. We were gathered around the boss’s desk, joking about things and the boss asked us for input. I said what I thought. The resentful worker said something I didn’t hear but seemed reluctant to repeat it so I could hear it. Basically, she said that my opinion didn’t count because I was just a temp.
I laughed and tried to keep the painful tears from escaping my eyes. Wow. Lesson learned. That was one of those moments that comes back to me when I write a villain. The resentful woman was not a bad person, she just didn’t do well with change and worried that her friend liked me better. Great motivation.
Fictional crying is tricky. Men do not cry. Well, not often. Studies show that for every 5 times a woman cries, a man will cry once. If your Female Main Character cries too much, she’s hard to connect with for some readers, possibly a watering spout in historical novels. If your Male Main Character cries, you might have a problem.
Sadly, the western culture dictates that men do not show emotions, otherwise, they are not masculine enough. This article by Dr. Nick Knight is funny and detailed in that regard. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/why-do-we-cry-the-science-of-tears-9741287.html Three types of tears are ready when you need them. Always keep an onion handy to blame for the waterworks.
I’ve read a few too many stories where the heroine never cries. Then when the hero helps her make the world a better place, she does cry. It’s a sign that she can be herself now. A waterspout of the highest order. Thanks to Dr. Nick, I just learned that psychic tears, the ones such as I struggled with years ago as a temp, provide a natural painkiller with a scientific name I can’t remember. I used to think I had a chemical imbalance and that crying would reset that back to normal.
Crocodile tears are a myth, which I always believed started because when the reptile eats its prey, the excess water in its mouth is squeezed out through the nasal and tear ducts. Not so! If a crocodile has been out of the water too long, its system will produce tears to moisten its eyes. This sometimes happens when it is eating, too.
What about happy tears and crying when we laugh too hard? Your lizard brain can’t really tell the difference between laughing and crying because both are highly emotional states. Could it be a painful situation? I don’t know, but let’s turn on the water works anyway. https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/14/why-do-we-cry-when-we-laugh/
Finally, as Dr. Nick said at the end of his article, babies have three kinds of cries. A good parent listens and knows the difference. There’s a tired cry, a pain cry, and an angry cry. Other sources say this is a myth. And that crying is often a normal state for a baby, a new way to explore this odd world they plopped into. http://www.parents.com/baby/care/crying/understanding-baby-cries1/?slideId=26858 As I just wrote twin girls into a novel, I am going to use this information. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.