But read these guidelines first.
• Men get more leeway to cry in public now than women do. A crying man is sensitive, but plenty secure in his manhood, while a crying woman is just an emotional nut. Or so go the public perceptions, at least.
• A moist tear or two is more acceptable than full-scale blubbering. No one really liked watching Ellen DeGeneres sob on television over a mess involving a dog she gave away, and no one would have liked a man doing so either.
The discussion brings to mind the Pittsburgh Pirates managerial stint of one Jim Leyland, who took manly crying to a level that yinzers had never seen. Not only did he cry in front of cameras after the tragic loss to the Braves in the 1992 playoffs and later for his last home game as Pirates manager, but also between those events for the mere occurrence of Bob Walk’s 100th career victory. Heck, he even cried on the occasion of Sid Bream’s departure as a free agent. (Incredibly, we’re not making that up.)
"I’m sure some people probably think I’m a wimp, but I can’t help the way I am," Mr. Leyland said of his public tears.
Cry — you’ll feel better
Today’s Morning File is being written by such a crybaby that the next "Friday Night Lights" episode that doesn’t get him misty-eyed will be the first. There’s joy to be found in such lump-in-the-throat emotional manipulation. Somehow, we can watch the news an hour later about some tragedy that has befallen mankind, or worse, Blawnox, and feel detached and unmoved.
One psychologist who wrote about crying, Jeffrey A. Kottler, noted that male tears usually mean brimming eyes, while women are more likely to send streams cascading down the cheeks. Research has suggested that women cry four times more often than men. About 85 percent of women and 73 percent of men say they feel better after crying.
Apparently, the "tears help remove chemicals that build up during stress," biochemist William Frey II told The Boston Globe.
Boys do too cry
A couple of crying researchers (well, not actually crying at the time — you know what I mean) discussed the difference between men and women on a radio interview show. It was noted, for one thing, that male infants fuss and cry more often than little girls. It’s one reason why males are known as the weaker sex.
As people mature, explained Randolph Cornelius, a psychology professor from Vassar College, "You find women crying more out of frustration or anger in interpersonal conflict situations. Men are less likely to do that. Men are more likely to cry for loss or in a situation in which they’re grieving."
Professor Ad Vingerhoets of the Netherlands noted, meanwhile, that a higher proportion of men’s crying comes from positive reactions instead of negative, "when they see a special achievement like winning an Olympic gold medal in sports, and pride and victory, that kind of thing."
This may explain why a college girlfriend was flabbergasted, and I humiliated, when she saw my damp cheeks during the credits of an even cornier remake of the corny boxing movie, "The Champ." The relationship went rapidly downhill after that.
Famous tears abound
Before Bill Clinton had spent a year as president, Time magazine ran a list of a dozen of his teary public moments. He seemed to follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, who choked up so frequently at moments of emotional patriotism that skeptics thought he was extending his acting career — such as it was.
When Tom Hanks won back-to-back Best Actor Oscars, he practically bawled during eloquent acceptance speeches both times. Old-fashioned newspaper columnist Mike Royko didn’t like it. He called Mr. Hanks’ speech for his "Philadelphia" Academy Award "one of the worst public displays of incoherent, weepy blubbering that I’ve ever seen." Maybe Mr. Royko was thinking of one of Mr. Hanks’ most memorable non-Oscar scenes, the tongue-lashing ("There’s no crying in baseball!") he gave to a weepy female baseball player in "A League of Their Own."
They’re just faking it
A University of Florida professor recently checked out the whole "crocodile tears" mythology. The term started with a writer long ago who suggested crocs seemed to be crying from remorse as they tore into and consumed carcasses.
Zoologist Kent Vliet concluded the reptiles really do shed tears while eating, but for physiological reasons rather than any grieving. Humans remain the only species proven to cry for emotional reasons, though there is some thought that elephants do so. We’re not sure, however, because we’ve never sat next to an elephant while watching "Friday Night Lights" or "The Champ."