Monday, October 26, 2015

Why Do Chicks Cry so Much?

I have this problem. See, I have two daughters who, despite their feminist upbringing, love to watch princess movies. And as they're watching these movies, (Frozen, Tangled, Cinderella, Ariel, repeat), their mama, little ol' me, is sitting there either typing away, stirring something, or scrolling through my phone.

And then, without rhyme or reason, it happens. That specific part of the movie (Elsa draping herself over her frozen sister, Rapunzel's dad shedding a tear as his queen wipes it away, Cinderella saying "but you see, I have the other slipper," and Ariel's dad with his fingertips on her chin as they say goodbye) will happen, and my eyes will start to prick, my nose tickle, and sure enough, no matter how many times I've freaking seen these freaking movies, I will have tears in my eyes.

Happens constantly.

The Budweiser commercials with the Clydesdale and the puppy.

Soldier homecomings.

Culling my chickens.

Timelapse videos.

Violence or illnesses against children.

When a shy person dances.

Getting put on the spot.

Witcher 3 cutscenes.

Witcher 3 graphics.

Witcher 3.

Carrie Underwood singing "How Great Thou Art"

When dudes I care about (either in real life or on TV) cry.

When my corn doesn't grow properly.

While singing my toddler a lullaby.

Anytime someone asks if I'm ok.

When a leaf falls off a tree.

I mean the list goes on, people. Most of my friends know this about me because when I was younger, it was worse. I had a high school biology teacher ask me a question once after class and I just stood there, crying. I don't know why. She wasn't scary. She was nice. My friend Jen (we're Jens, squared, get it?) just looked at me and was like, "It's alright, she does this sometimes." Those friends of mine, They get it.

My spouse hates it. I mean hates it. Pretty sure he's told me he can't stand that I cry everyday - which is SO not true. I mean, I don't cry every day. Not every single day. That'd just be crazy, right? not me. Not me. No. Maybe.

Even I get frustrated by my lack of control in this department. When I was in the Army I learned how to hold it in pretty well by just getting pissed. I would get angry as shit. The Army handles angry. The Army does not handle crying. But I've been out of the Army for years. Many years. I'm back to my wily, crying ways.

I decided to check into it. This is the end of October, after all, and as some of you remember, I participate in National Novel Writing Month every November. 30 days of getting straight-up locked in the basement, type, type, typing away. There will be crying, oh yes, there will be crying. So like I warned you last year, this will be my last perfectly-coherent (well, coherent for me, Jen) post for a while. I'll still write on Mondays, of course. It might just look like alien speak. But I digress.

Chicks and crying is a real thing. I have friends, female friends, who will cry with me when I cry. And if they don't, they cry pretty consistently on their own. We're a giant gender of crying. And I want to know why. ***fingers crossed it's not just because I am insane***

Apparently it's a combination of things.

Chicks cry because of our biological makeup. That's right. I can't always control it, you hear? My hormones, apparently a specific hormone named prolactin, are vastly different than that of a man. Us chickies have about 60% more prolactin than men do. And men of course have more testosterone, which is said to work against emotional crying. Plus, one article I read said female tearducts are smaller....which I guess means they cry more because they can't hold as much? Weird. But biological! Can't change it!

Chicks cry because of our social environment. We're kinda socially allowed to cry more than dudes are. I hate to say it, but if I walked into my old office and hugged a coworker and then cried a little everyone would laugh and hug me harder. If my old boss (dude) walked into the office and cried a little when he saw me, everyone would be freaked the f out. We're getting better at allowing dudes to show their more sensitive (read - not angry) emotions but they're so not on the same level as us chicks. It's also a running joke in every movie ever that chicks who cry get what they want from dudes who don't want them to cry. That is not the case in my personal situation - I just get ignored - but if I had a man who didn't want me to cry so badly that he'd do anything to make it stop, you bet your ass I'd use that to every now and then get what I want. Flaws, forgiven, people.

Chicks cry because of our personality. Just like dudes, some chicks are just more prone to emotional outbursts. I, for one, am an overly-anxious, somewhat-extroverted, highly-empathetic person. This is part of the reason why I cry when I see the elderly holding hands. And why I can't watch the news. My internal person, the very essence of who I am, transports me into the lives and feelings of those around me and my head gets filled with the thoughts and concerns of others. And so when they cry, or they are happy, or they are sad, or they are scared, I feel it with them. For the most part.

You hear that?? Half of that stuff I can't even control. Like the biology. And the social environment. And even the personality traits, kinda. I can't really change who I am in the blink of an eye, you know? Yeah, I may sprout tears like a hydro-chia pet but you know what? I get some great stuff in return.

Like friends who aren't afraid to cry in front of me because they know I'm a crier.

Kids who know emotions are ok.

Problems that get resolved instead of swept under the rug.

Stress relief.

Clean tear ducts.

Stock in Kleenex.

In fact, although it gets annoying at times, I am kinda proud of my ability to place my emotions, trace them back to a root cause, and then communicate the whole process to another person. That is a pretty bomb-ass gift, if you ask me. It allows me to explain myself. Explain things for others. Help others explain themselves. It's pretty rad.

In fact, the only part of this whole "crying like a wee lil baby" thing that I don't like is the blotchy face. And the perception of others, specifically, those who don't understand emotions or are afraid of them. Like dudes. Specific dudes. Dudes with emotional barriers that sit there like logs when a woman is crying.

So how 'bout this, dudes. How about you make like a movie and hug the crying girl. Get over yourselves for two measly seconds and hug the crying chick because you know what, she prolly needs it. And if you hug her, maybe she'll stop crying sooner. And maybe she'll feel closer to you. And maybe she won't feel terrible about something that simply is part of who she is, who most women are, at the core of our very beings.

Cuz I betcha what - I betcha next time you're real upset, and you feel so down you can't find your way back up, that chick will be sitting right there, ready to wrap you up in every wonderful, soft, caring, empathetic part of her.

Sources for research:

And that does it for me, dear readers! I will be back next week with (hopefully) a semi-legible post for your reading pleasure. How many criers do I have out there? Are you ashamed of it? Proud of it? How do you handle your emotional prowess? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below and as always, thank you so much for reading :)



  1. OMG I cry over EVERYTHING! It's my hormones though, and I'm wired that way. At preschool concerts, at principal honor roll awards, cheesy Hallmark movies...sigh. It's a girl thing!

    1. It totally is!! Thanks for stopping by, Kristen :)

  2. I am also a big crier--particularly because of songs or movies, but plenty of times in real life, too. My emotions are consistently dramatic--whatever I feel, I pretty much show it. Angel is much more of a stoic and when we were newlyweds and he found out how much I cried he did not appreciate it. But then he realized it's not like I'm crying "on purpose", it's just the way I naturally respond, and he's okay with all my random tears now. We can have total coherent conversations while I'm sobbing away. Now that we've lived closer to my family for a while, he's realized to a greater extent how often tears pop up in a family chock-full of girls. I, on the other hand, live in constant wonder about why he doesn't cry. I was beginning to think I'd never see my own husband cry until the last World Cup series, I looked over during a Mexico game that Mexico was winning and tears were rolling down his cheeks. What?!

    1. HAHAHA isn't that insane? Dudes get overwhelmed by the most random things .... I have a really good guy friend who never cries. I've known him for close to 15 years and I've seen him cry once...when our high school football team won for homecoming (he was on the team). I was a pommie back then (no judgement - I really liked to dance) and I remember storming the field and I ran up to jump on him and he was just shaking cuz he was crying so hard. It was insane, but also very, very cool. I'll never forget those moments! Glad I'm not alone in the girl crying world! Thanks for stopping by, Rach :)