Deep End | Sob Story: Why Utah has a leg up when it comes to the manly lachrymose arts. 

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Our office has been inundated by calls from ordinary citizens alarmed by the presence in downtown Salt Lake City last week of hordes of men walking around in various states of distress. Some had furrowed brows and trembling chins, some were biting their lips, others had eyes welling up with tears, and still others had tears streaming down their cheeks or mucus dripping from their noses. You saw men of all ages openly weeping on Main Street; you saw men of all shapes blubbering uncontrollably; you saw men of all sizes wracked with sobs. n

Was it the bad weather? Was it the economy? Had some dreaded catastrophe been unloosed in the wide streets of Zion? And why were there no weeping women, whose prolactin-producing pituitary glands make them, according to experts, three times more prone to tears?

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All those crying men, it turns out, were simply in town for the annual meeting of the Brotherhood of Beehive Blubberers, a Utah organization dedicated to the noble art of crying in public. According to G. Harrison Sniffler, the recently elected chief executive officer of the Brotherhood, “We Utah males are proud of our long Utah heritage of choking up on every and any public occasion. Some non-Utah men prefer to cry in private, but we believe in displaying our emotions not just during significant events, but also on the most trivial of occasions. It shows how sincere and good we are.”

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Mr. Sniffler teared up as he proudly thumbed through the brochure listing the speeches and seminars offered during the three-day convention at the Grand America Hotel. (Hotel management declined to comment on the convention or the emotional conventioneers, but a credible source in housekeeping revealed that the hotel ran out of tissues after just one day: “Then the guys stuffed their pockets with toilet paper, which really caused a problem. When they ran out of that, they were drying their tears with anything they could find—napkins, tablecloths, towels, you name it. You should see the stains on the drapes.”

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After a prolonged crying jag, Mr. Sniffler wiped his nose on the sleeve of his jacket and handed over the convention brochure, saying that he sincerely hoped it would help educate nonblubberers on the virtues of crying in public—whether during church, press conferences, commencement speeches, swearing-in ceremonies, kids’ talent competitions, graduations, soccer games, company luncheons or even when overcome with emotion at the produce section of your local supermarket.

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Tears of gratitude welled up in my eyes as I took possession of the brochure, and I am confident that all other male readers will find themselves stifling sobs of appreciation as they peruse the list of topics at last week’s convention of the Brotherhood of Beehive Blubberers.

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The Evolution of Public Crying. Contrary to common opinion, reptiles don’t cry. As for crocodile tears, or crying when you don’t really mean it, see Bill Clinton, below, as well as Advanced Crying.

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Levels of Emotional Display, or Suit the Cry to the Occasion. This is a practical seminar in the arts of crying, and attendees will be required to bring their own tissues or handkerchiefs (we recommend cotton with a high thread count, or, for prodigious weepers, durable canvas of duck grade 1 or 2 and not less than 4). You will be walked through elementary sniffing and rudimentary snuffling, taken by the arm to explore intermediate choking up (with a side trip into the subtle art of getting a catch in your voice), and finally led to the precipice of full-out weeping and convulsive sobbing.

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Famous Men of Tears. We will focus principally on well-known Utah weepers, but will also pick up tips from such masters of the craft as Bill “Crocodile Tears” Clinton (whose wife, a famous noncrier, had mixed success with crocodile tears), the two Bush presidents, and former newscaster Dan Rather.

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Cultural Advantages of Men Crying, at Least in Public. In a patriarchy, such as the one we have in the Beehive State, crying is a short cut to establishing your spiritual sincerity and fundamental goodness. Ordinary measures of accomplishment, excellence or worth become irrelevant when you demonstrate your sincerity by crying in front of a large group.

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Advanced Male Public Crying. This specialized art involves no crying at all, just the assertion at the beginning of a speech that you always cry, thus establishing your bona fides as a sincere, good person. Then you can go ahead and give your speech without crying at all.

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D.P. Sorensen writes satire for City Weekly.

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