Sunday, February 6, 2011

Crying etiquette

“There are certain rules, a manhood code about when you can and cannot cry,’’ said [professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Kansas Robert] Minor, who is on the board of the nonprofit American Men’s Studies Association. “It’s OK to cry once you have already proven, particularly to other men, that you have fulfilled the manhood code. . . . That’s after they have defeated another man.’’ ...

And there’s another group of politicians who are not allowed to cry: women. Imagine if Pelosi wept her way through Wednesday’s gavel passing, instead of Boehner. People are still talking about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tears at a New Hampshire campaign stop...

As with so many things, crying has gone in and out of fashion. Tom Lutz, the author of “Crying: The Natural & Cultural History of Tears,’’ said many epic heroes cried, including Odysseus, Aeneas, and El Cid. In the 18th century, crying was considered a mark of a man’s refinement, and in novels of the time, he said, “You will find men weeping all over Europe.’’

“Lincoln and Douglas wept . . . during their debates,’’ Lutz said. “It was considered part of what a great orator would do.’’
--Beth Teitell, Boston Globe, on who's allowed to cry when

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