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Girls and Crying

Tears taste good (and so does that santorum-y mixup of tears and warm nose liquid that drips on your lip after a really hardcore session).
May 4, 2012, 6:00pm

The apocryphal idea (APOCRYPHAL? HAAAA) that crying is for girls is extra-dumb (like in addition to just being regular-dumb) when you consider how everybody is mad at guys for being Xboxy thumbsuckers, right? (PS: guys, girls are mad at uuuuuu.) Boys cry plenty, and I like it. I like it better when a boy’s penis cries right into my hands, but it’s nice when an adult man cries (about something other than an occasion of retarded, internalized sports-team dramatics) and you are allowed to be there for him for a half second. And when you’re in a fight and a guy cries "YOU’VE WON IT! Shake my hand!" Nah. But really men crying is just as complexy sexy and responsible for turning pussies into fresh-out-the-box Creamsicles as the attractive sadists on TV who we can’t stop talking about.


And yet. Girls and crying is just a canon of its own, a subdivision of girl-activity in the same way that I guess guys shop for stuff (apparently? You’re wearing stuff, items, somehow?), but they could not possibly understand the capital-X-shaped full-systems flush of Shopping, which is also the reason why “acquisitiveness” should be recast as a necessary sexual macaroon rather than symbolic of dumb sluts in the grip of capitalist overlords/patriarchy/Transformers, or whatever. (Here is the part where, if you’re like “I don’t understand this bitch,” you retire to your mud room to do a job because I don’t even want you here, OK?)

Been doing a lot of crying lately. It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ve found out new ways to cry and be crying and stop crying. One of them is, you might remember this from the toddler era, is the back of the fist tear wipeaway? I’m vaguely curious about why that’s been my move during a tough time (eight months!) and is always the move when I’m in front of my mom. NEVAH MIND I just figured it out. Oh hey, did you know that when you hear your mom’s voice it makes you want to… go? My friend told me that.

I don’t really know. The closest I can come to it without broaching gross science is when a firmness of purpose in any direction is interrupted. Also, PMS.

If you listen to drone music and also think about your throat, it is like that. It is of you and not up to you. It’s better that a cry be as natural as possible, all road-trip colors and moving through heavy air, because the alternative is you hopping around on one foot and whine-sobbing because you’re too frustrated to do anything else. Knowing you might cry, considering it, and beginning is a hazy extra-reality where your doll-eyes slide shut, big lashes side-by-each like windshield wiper blades at rest until they bloom with water and red vines, is actually really beautiful.


The secret realness of being a girl right now is that it’s polyphonic. There is significant “muchness” to the experiences of being a chick amidst a political environment characterized by social backsliding and contemptuousness toward women; amidst men who we love and want so thoroughly (PS: Guys, girls love uuuuu), as scummy buds and dice-throwers but also of course, of course of course of course, to cry onto and be penis-cried onto; amidst a pinwheel of economic, cultural, and psychic pressure systems. The muchness, experienced largely via deep, committed engagement with clothes and words and music and fucking and any number of personal micro-cultures, is consuming. (Again, leave if you want. I don’t care. I don’t care!)

This muchness coolly and totally defies any kind of male ethic, the Boy Rules that create the social order. If punk means, or should mean, actively and effectively defying one’s captors and their sundry bullshits, then being a muchy, polyphonic girl at this moment is, bien sûr, punk as fuck, especially when you can see past the whole deal with being aggro and mouthy and overt by necessity and can maybe be an actual, tender, many-things human instead of a cartoon about it. Plus, I have like 30 girls in my immediate orbit who likewise endure the most diseased misogyny and the marshmallow fondant of High-Level Girl every day. Muchness, you know? It’s like having been on tour and in war and through medical school with every clued-in bitch you meet, even if you don’t like them. (That you should “like” your kin in this way is girl-on-girl thought crime.)


OK anyway, so that is the way we exist in the world, and crying, really crying, is its singular physical manifestation. Menstruation is annoying but private and tits mess with your tennis swing, but crying is out front. It’s an act, like screaming, more or less controllable, but also not. An expression of our own contempt and fury and giving up and boredom and also doing vengeance/playing with y’all a bit. Just like how men have a primal scream communicating their own boundaries and torpedoed possibilities (spurting come on your face), women have tears.

Also, a fun fact is that this muchness opposes any set of ultimately hateful cardinal virtues, with their “restraint” and “temperance,” because NOPE.

Tears taste good (and so does that santorum-y mixup of tears and warm nose liquid that drips on your lip after a really hardcore session).

Like, new Courtney vs. old Courtney. Unresolvable, inalienable Courtney deserves a short, hard, cold cry.

I hate those little fucking aphorisms on magnets or birthday cards designed to make non-normies feel really good about them/ourselves. See: “All adventurous women do,” circa Girls last week. (I am 100 percent on Girls but I am zero percent on the idea that my former sexually retarded, borderline narcissistic, semi-habitual pills-and-alcohol-abusing era was somehow better than this one, or even justifiable; not having any STDs was a major and mysterious triumph; I won’t be made to celebrate the cancer-causing residuals of that behavior, mine or yours.) I recognized this sour valley of my own subculture when a fun bestie sent me and our other fun besties an article about a really old woman in England who had been a maj slut her whole life and I think we were all supposed to get bonding frissonies out of it. None of those things felt good or right or real to me and I cried so hard that I stopped doing a variety of stuff that I was only doing because I thought I was supposed to. You can be a lil’ scamp without hurting yourself and other people, is the idea.


The only song about crying that’s any good is “Don’t Cry” by Guns n Roses.

Ooooh this one is so ugly, when you are getting all worked up and ready to go but then cool out and are just twisty and red? Heinous face-look.

Avoid the popped blood vessels of the crying that devolves into throwing up. (Maybe, say, your life was flipped over sideways and then flipped over again and beached on the sand, and then bit you while it was gasping for air? So I guess that non-analogy went from a boat to a dying whale to that shark that bit Lorne Michaels, which is fine.) If you can get away with redder, puffier lips and rosy cheeks and bedroom eyes and messy hair then that crying did you a favor, girl. Get it.

“Don’t cry over someone who wouldn’t cry over you” is the worst advice ever. However: crying over something you know was problematic in the first place is a complicated personal treason.

There is this short era between not knowing what a tear-shaped tattoo means and thinking that tiny wee face-tats are kind of a cornykins thing for hard prison guys to get, and in that short in-between era teardrop tattoos are a scarier visual cue than a page of Google image results for “Gross.”

Hotspots are bathrooms, dressing rooms, restaurants, movie theatres.

When you cry in your boyfriend’s kitchen while he is sleeping and then he charges out naked to be like “What am I supposed to do about this?” it’s so much sadder than if he pretended he didn’t hear you, OK?


When I’m eventually editor-in-chief of Cry Times magazine I will have a monthly column about my best cries. January will be about how I had to slide down to the sticky floor with my winter coat done all the way up to my Rudolph nose during the last scene of the black-teenage-lesbian movie Pariah. My face was so wet it probably reflected the movie screen, right?

February will be about the week after my dog Scout (King of Dogs) died. March will be about the time I sat in the front seat of my car while my boyfriend and dog Scout (King of Dogs) sat silently together in the back, waiting it out in a Norman Rockwell tableau vivant.

April will be about when I read a Time magazine cover story (so this one will go in Cry Times’ news aggregator sub-site) about Warren Buffett (The Omaha multi-billionaire, for those of you both too dumb to know that and too heartbreakingly uncurious to Google it) breaking down in tears (Warren! Buffett!) while talking about his first wife, who died after she left him for being boring. I was in a cell phone store getting the scroll button on my BlackBerry fixed and had designs on the dude fixing it, before I shame-shuffled out of there in my sad Topsiders and sweat-shorts.

I don’t know what I’ll write about in May.

Can’t find keys. When your salad comes and the lettuces are too gigantic to put in your mouf. When your salad comes and it has some bullshit scallions on it. Lateness. Sleepiness. Sobbing at your doctor/therapist/teacher/boss. Bike grease on white Converse. White guilt. Bleachy scalp. One million indignities, coalescing.


Smallening is an important process for girls, including/especially the muchy girls we just discussed, because all of the doing and thinking makes you tired! I’m serious! It’s a lot of work! And wanting to be lightly cupped inside a man-form with a few sad little tears or even half-tears is just about the warmest you’ll ever be.

I can’t date guys my own age most of the time because dudes who a) are more selfish than me or b) care about their hair just don’t appear anywhere on my sexual radar. Instead I usually date cute nerds or burly man-men, I guess, but this is getting weird. Onward: the implicit message from girls to guys, usually, is “be a man” even if we don’t say it because that would be threatening and bossy. But when we’re like “Sometimes be like thiiiiis and sometimes you should be like thiiiiis” it’s our corn maze of expectations and ideas about how you should be properly sensitive and also horrible to us, in the correct proportions. So, is there an equal and opposite response from men, to us, of “be a woman”? Is there? What does it mean?

Related: some girls cry all the time (I cry every day lately, and most days usually; this is normal and regular to me; I don’t happen to associate crying with vulnerability much at all, or weakness); some girls “don’t cry” and seem proud of themselves for it but my vote is, like, it’s only super-cool if you don’t end up in a girl-ball on the floor of your mom’s room for a week a few years down the pipe.


I cry a lot about millimeters of revelations. Like an exotic snack in novelty packaging. Like a hot sidewalk. Like that line “In the morning do karate in the water” in the Action Bronson x Riff Raff “Bird on a Wire” dealie. “In the morning do karate in the water.” And now I have a new five-year plan, you know?

It’s hard to say the right thing to a crying person. I have no tips. Sit quietly and listen through the sine waves of it. Much like a good blowjob, a good cry should have varying dynamics and a satisfying taper-off after the big part.

When you put a lobster in a pot of water it screams at you! It’s hilarious!

Crying is the new getting your period in terms of getting out of something you don’t want to do.

Follow @KateCarraway on Twitter

Previously - Girls and 'Girls'