Flic is editor of Candis Magazine. In this week’s column she admits to weeping easily and wonders whether we get more tearful as we get older…
When I was young, I was hard as Tungsten nails hammered into sheet metal. Nothing made me cry apart from the bitter unfairness of my parents not letting me go to a party containing older boys and cider on a school night, or the loss of a beloved childhood pet. But that changed when I had a baby, and suddenly everything began to seem more fragile, and ultimately weep inducing.
Sad news stories, moving dramas, poetry, lonely old people, ill-treated young people, all had me cranking up the waterworks. Scruffy abandoned dogs, a pair of spectacles in a charity shop (because, perhaps, an old lady’s husband had died, and she couldn’t bear to look at them neatly folded on the Radio Times, never to be worn again… oops, there I go…) pictures of starving babies, acts of nobility and courage, and the fear of losing my loved ones… it all made me cry. I also well up at It’s a Wonderful Life (the last scene where Jimmy Stewart is saved by the generosity of the townsfolk who love him. I watch it every Christmas and I am always awash), Brief Encounter (all of it), and every Coronation Street funeral scene from Stan Ogden to Deirdre Barlow.
I come from a tearful family, though. Years ago, we were all sitting round the jolly Christmas table, playing party games, and a question popped up – “what makes you cry?” My Mum recited half of a poem about losing one’s partner before she welled up and had to stop, my dad muttered “Gallipoli. Great film,” before swallowing violently and staring hard at a robin-shaped napkin ring, and I confessed to The Railway Children, where Jenny Agutter flies down the platform, crying “Daddy…my daddy!” at the end, and then I couldn’t see my Christmas pudding for tears. Our Christmas descended into an orgy of weeping and we weren’t quite OK again till Only Fools and Horses came on. (Though I did cry at the final, when they became millionaires…)
But it seems I’m not the only emotional wreck in the village. A quick straw poll of friends roughly my age revealed other triggers to be Extreme Makeover: Home Edition “the bit when they shout ‘move that bus.’”) “Flowers of The Forest” played on the pipes, “every episode of Supervet,” “Long Lost Family” (that programme should come with a hanky rating) and suddenly hearing a Rogers and Hammerstein love song. Several of my respondents were male.
It seems that getting older makes us softer – or is it simply that we no longer feel we have to be so British? In August Candis, our report looks at whether we’ve finally loosened the stiff upper lip, and embraced weeping as a national pastime. I don’t know about the rest of Britain – but my friends and I certainly have.
August Candis is out now!
Tell us what makes you cry @candismagazine #weepy