Nobody likes a weeper. If the collected works of The Cure, Frankie Valli and 2003 Eurovision disastermongers Jemini are anything to go by, crying is fully unacceptable in most social situations – even situations of heartbreak, which means my sobbing over a lonely-looking pigeon falls woefully short of criteria.
From the first cranium-curdling wails of a newborn baby, crying is a dick move because it demands the attention and action of someone else. And people don’t like to pay attention to things, or move. They’re generally too busy eating a sandwich or doing a lovely crossword to walk across the room and mop up your human rainfall.
Nobody welcomes the awkwardness of crying, either. We all know the feeling of panic that sets in when you realise too late that you’re trapped in the vicinity of a crying person you don’t know very well, leaving you with the Hobson’s Choice of ‘moist hug’ or ‘cold, distant arm pat followed by inappropriate whistling’. If emotions are weather, you’re the bank holiday-ruiner. To be honest, if emotions are emotions you’re capable of that too.
This all leads us on neatly (sorry, was that too longwinded for you? Are you going to cry about it?) to the fact that I’ve seen Les Miserables three times in the last two months. The clue has been very much in the name. Each time has been soggier than the last, building to a moment on the cinema last Wednesday when I gulped so ferociously during the encore of Do You Hear The People Sing that I choked on a pick’n’mix gummy snake and almost expired like a revolutionary.
The second of the three sittings was a Brighton sixth form production starring my baby brother, which made it more acceptable because I can remember him being born – and besides, there is nothing that gives a teenager more credibility among his mates than a copiously weeping relative.
The other two were a far more straightforward case of cinema crying; crying at the death bits, crying at the love bits, crying worrying if Anne Hathaway will reach the top note of that crescendo in I Dreamed A Dream. As the credits rolled I expected to turn and smile sheepishly at all my fellow weepers as we dried off and headed to the car park, cathartically unburdened. But I couldn’t because it turned out I was the only one.
It’s fine, though. I am comfortable with my perpetually quivering chin. I like to cry in front of my boyfriend every once in a while. Not delicate, maidenly tears rolling down my cheeks like crystal droplets, but proper, shuddering sobs with snot and bits of disintegrated tissue stuck to my face.
I feel it serves as a reminder of just how upset it is possible to make me; but also a sort of reward for never having done anything that produces nearly the same reaction in me as the Christmas finale of Downton Abbey. Which I’m welling up now, just thinking about.
You can carry on eating your sandwich though. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.