It was clear by the 17th hole that, barring an unthinkable collapse, Bubba Watson was going to win the 2014 Masters. And yet I stuck it out, not necessarily to watch the conclusive putt but because I wanted to see if Bubba would once again weep like an emotionally fragile bridesmaid. He did not disappoint.
This wasn’t pure gawkerism on my part. It was science. Science, I tell you! About a week earlier, I had decided to document the things that make me weepy. I also wanted to monitor how I react when the going gets mush. Do I let it flow? Or do I fight back tears as though lives were hanging in the balance? And what does it mean to do either? And is this science or psychology? Is psychology a science? Shouldn’t I know that? So many questions!
As enlightened as we pretend to be, society is just not comfortable with men weeping, especially in public. When women weep in public, everybody goes, “Awwwww…!” But when a man weeps, everyone freezes and avoids eye contact, and in our heads we all turn into British military officers: “Good God, man, pull yourself together!”
So back to Sunday’s golf: here was a master weeper if ever there was one, a blubbering Bubba who simply lets the tears spew – doesn’t jam a tee into his thigh to toughen up or anything. Golf makes me want to cry sometimes too, but I can assure you they are not happy tears.
And why shouldn’t Bubba weep? If I had just won $1.6 million playing a game, I might burst into tears as well. Heck, I get pretty excited when my grocery store’s freebie-of-the-week is something practical for once, like toilet paper, so I imagine I would be a wreck if I won that much money, because that would buy a whole lot of toilet paper.
Singer Pharrell Williams teared up in an interview this week with Oprah, but that’s because Oprah punched him square in the nose. Of course she didn’t! Oprah would never do that! Oprah is a saint who could buy $1.6 million worth of gold-stitched toilet paper just like that! What made Williams so emotional was watching a video of fans around the world dancing to his song “Happy,” a song I really like for the first minute-and-a-half and then am pretty much ready for it to be over.
“Why am I crying on ‘Oprah’?” Williams asked. Alas, Oprah would not say because clearly it was a rhetorical question and Oprah does not waste time with rhetorical questions.
The reason for crying likely has to do with evolution (science!), something I could determine for sure if only I researched it, but clearly I’m evolved to be lazy. Crying might originally have been a way to ward off attackers by making them feel pity. Certainly this worked for me in junior high.
Perhaps this is why men hate to cry, because it conveys weakness, even when they are happy tears, or in Pharrell Williams’ case, happy “Happy” tears. Or is it “Happy” happy tears? But this isn’t a punctuation lesson, so let’s get back to sciencology.
Unlike sad tears, happy tears may simply be the manifestation of overwhelming emotional sensations, which are big words. If you’re Bubba Watson, and you’re overcome with joy and relief, your tears would be understandable, certainly more understandable than that hideous Ping golf visor you’re wearing. What doesn’t make sense is why Bubba crying would make some miserable shlub watching at home weepy as well.
And this is specifically what I wanted to document in myself. Why would watching Pharrell Williams go all runny make me feel a tiny twinge in the tear ducts? When I watch a video of two elderly Dutch ladies flying for the first time, it’s not my joy. I’m not the waitress receiving the cash, car and job offer in that “Prank It Forward” video. So why do I well up? Empathy, perhaps, a beautifully human and hopeful quality, and it’s always good to know that I am both beautiful and human.
So I know why I get a lump in my throat, but do I let those emotions flow freely, Bubba-like? Hell, no. What am I, a wimp? (Rhetorical; do not answer.)
So let it all out: What makes you weepy?