Originally created 07/06/97

Crying Time



Ben Lynch, 18, cried at the end of Godzilla. He loved Godzilla. They killed Godzilla. That was so sad, says the Evans High School grad.

That's not the only movie that's made him tear up. He cried during Ben Hur. "It was sad," he says. "Really sad." Braveheart was a tearjerker too, he says.

"I wasn't the only one. Some woman totally lost control - me - I just got a little misty eyed," he says.

Women aren't the only ones wadding up wet Kleenex as the lights come up.

"I've had tears in my eyes a lot of times watching a movie," says Richmond County Sheriff Charles Webster. "Anything that's got a touchy situation in it - I'm not ashamed to cry. A person's got a heart when they cry. If a person's got tears in his eyes, he's got a heart, and if he's got a heart, there's a lot of good to him."

If that's the case, Dan Battle must have a heart of gold.

"I cry at just about anything that's got a lot of feeling in it," says Mr. Battle, a 34-year-old construction worker. "There's something wrong with people who don't cry at movies. It's unnatural to hold it back. It'll hurt you."

He cried at Old Yeller, The Secret Garden and A Walk in the Clouds.

"Most women I've gone out with - they love it," he says.

Tommy Holtzner, 19, and his girlfriend cried together through Jerry McGuire and Phenomenon. But he'd never cry in front of another guy. "It's just not a guy thing," he says.

Mariano De Mora has seen a couple of his guy friends cry at movies, he says. That was a more pathetic sight than the sad movie, he says.

"I made fun of them," says Mr. De Mora, 26. He hasn't cried at a movie since he was a baby watching Bambi. "Men don't cry. Especially not at movies. You cry at home when you're by yourself."

Exactly, says Tony Southall. The 15-year-old's just fine with tearing during Where the Red Fern Grows on the couch at home, but he wouldn't ever let go at the theater.

There are a billion different reasons why men cry at movies, says James Maish, an Augusta psychologist. Movies can evoke a major emotion, anything that touches any string inside a man can make him cry, Dr. Maish says. It can be a sad hospital scene that reminds him of his grandpa, or it could be a triumph of good over evil - like the end of Independence Day, Dr. Maish says.

"It has nothing to do with manliness," Dr. Maish says. "Many men cry."

But most won't tell you about it.

"I think a lot of people secretly cry at movies," Mr. Battle says.

Other men are less bashful.

"My husband's cried at quite a few movies," says Donna Wells, 50. "He even cried at The Sound of Music."

Mike Dover, 46, a Little Debbie salesman in Augusta, cried during Driving Miss Daisy. Carl Chelsey, 37, cried watching Casablanca. And Jack Posey, of Augusta, cried during My Girl and Steel Magnolias.

Mr. Posey says he'll cry in front of guys. Or he'll cry in front of girls. He'll cry at the theater. Or he'll cry at home.

"You got a guy that's gonna hold all that back, I think there's a little insecurity there," says Mr. Posey, 24. "I'm just gonna go with what I feel."