Your guide to decoding a woman’s tears |

Your guide to decoding a woman’s tears

Linda Boyne

For women, there’s nothing like a good cry. Don’t stop reading, guys. I know it freaks you out when the waterworks start, but if you understand what’s going on behind the tears, you may find it less confusing.

There are just about as many different types of crying as there are emotions, because actually, just about any of them can make us cry. The most obvious, and least threatening, is the Sad Cry, prompted by sad movies, death, a break-up, empathizing with a friend’s troubles, etc. It can range from a few tears rolling down the face to a high volume of tears, accompanied by snot, gasping for air and a limp body. In its grandest form, it’s the whole body cry.

The interesting thing about the Sad Cry is there’s a very thin line between it and laughing, as my sister and I discovered at my grandmother’s funeral. We were both in our 20s at the time, sobbing during the service, when we looked at each other all wet and puffy and started giggling. My Great Aunt Pearl, who bore a striking resemblance to Grandma, was seated behind us. She tapped us both on the shoulder and wagged her finger at us with a stern look, exactly like Grandma had done to us a thousand times. Boom! Right back to sobbing.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Happy Cry. It usually involves some other emotion as well, and you’ll see this form at weddings (touching, hopefulness), watching her child make that presentation he worked so hard on (pride, nervousness, fear), and when she finds the perfect pair of jeans (O.K., that’s just pure joy). The best Happy Cry is the kind brought on by laughing so hard you can’t breathe.

Slightly more confusing is the Angry Cry. You’ve heard the phrase “spitting mad?” Well, for women I guess it’s “crying mad.” Just remember, men, crying is an emotional release, much like yelling or punching something. For some reason, women just release their anger through their eyes.

The most confounding is the Emotionally-Wrought Cry. This one is seemingly triggered by something as innocuous as running out of laundry detergent or someone asking how you are, which happened to me in Starbucks when a friend’s husband asked after a particularly frustrating morning. He now avoids me. This cry is not brought on by the present event, but everything that has lead up to that moment, the old “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Once she gets rolling, it will be hard to get the tear ducts back in check. Hold tight and ride the wave, gentlemen.

After a good cry, I find that my mind is clearer, I’m more focused and relaxed, and I can think rationally. Though there are many others I didn’t have space to touch on, just try to look at crying as a good thing, a cleansing ritual, a positive step forward. And know that the tears will eventually stop. No one has cried forever. VT

Linda Boyne is an Edwards resident and a regular columnist for The Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to

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