In New York City, weeping and watching others do the same is a part of the everyday experience. Like veganism or joining a cult (a mild, friendly-looking one like the Hare Krishnas), sobbing in front of strangers on the subway is a lifestyle choice.
I had my own run-in with the phenomena recently. On the way home from a derailed Friday night, I broke down into hot tears on the train. Instead of looking away in embarrassment, a grandmother placed a gnarled hand on my shoulder to pray for me (hey, I'll take what I can get), and a frat boy with glazed-over eyes offered me a stack of thin take-out napkins as tissues.
Ah, the romance of it all.
The subject of melting down in the big city is so popular, it's even inspired “Crying New York,” a Tumblr dedicated to documenting all the best places to sob. Even the New York Times has a take on the subject. Plus, when was the last time you watched a romantic comedy that didn't involve a crying-in-the-rain scene? Clearly, our culture loves the idea of a good, sad cry.
And the best part? No one gives a shit.
According to a newly released American survey by YouGov, no one actually cares if you're breaking down in public. That's right, those stares are mostly in your imagination. Of the 1,000 adults polled, 72 percent thought it was acceptable for men to cry in public. Notably, 16 percent did not agree. The number of tear supporters leapt up to 82 percent for women.
For all of you who wondered if we're a country full of emotionless, robotic monsters, rest assured we're not there yet. That's probably due to the frequency with which we're crying, too: 50 percent of women report having cried in the last week, although just 20 percent of men had.
We're emotional, social creatures, so it's only natural we'd let go emotionally in a public setting. If you're crying on the subway, I'll be right there with a stack of fast-food napkins. No worries.