A guide to ‘pretty crying’ for the modern woman

As a woman, you probably cry on a fairly regular basis. Indeed, I imagine you just squeezed out a couple of salty ones between “probably” and “cry”. I’m right, aren’t I? Am I right? I’m right. It’s fine, it’s not your fault – evolution has made you that way.

Well, as a man, I am here to guide you in the ways of exhibiting your innate lachrymosity while not interfering with your ability to perform your other, more important duty: to look pretty.

It is all very well having a brain and a job and money to buy skinny lattes and lip balm, but as you climb your chosen career ladder you must never, ever lose sight of the fact that your primary function is to look pretty to my gender.

Let’s see how the professional pretty criers do it, and see if you can pick up some tips. In a somewhat reverse order, here are the five prettiest female criers from film & TV.

Jennifer Garner

With a beauty like Jennifer Garner’s it’s a perilous move to start blubbing. The potential for a high-contrast switcheroo from non-crying hotness to sudden, wailing gormlessness is high.

Thankfully Jennifer has done her homework and realizes that she needs to exhibit cuddle-inducing vulnerability without any of the nasty side effects that you, as a normal woman, doubtless find hard to avoid.

If you take nothing else from this footage of Jennifer weeping winsomely, remember this before your next duct discharge session:: SNOT IS NOT HOT.

Rachel Bilson

Rachel Bilson played Summer in The O.C. The teen drama, of course, is the perfect place for novice weepers to earn their tear-stripes. In this video her best friend has just died and she is sat in her bedroom remembering and weeping, weeping and remembering.

The important thing to note from this particular duct workout is that she never slips into ugliness. Remember: tears should cascade softly (and, where, possible in slow motion); they should *never* rain down angrily.

Personally I’m not sure Rachel has fulfilled her pretty crying potential, but she has plenty of time and painful life experience ahead of her.

Natalie Portman

An accomplished weeper from a young age, Natalie Portman has an elfin, salty-cheeked sexiness you will never be able to attain. Don’t feel bad about that. But don’t be afraid to study her for tips, either.

As apt to start sniveling as she is to blink, Natalie is one of the biggest bawlers in the game right now. She manages this without making us think of her as one of those women who always seems on the verge of tears. You know those ones? They’re the worst. And they’re not pretty.

Another trick Natalie performs is to avoid too many heaving sobs, which is wise because such moves should only be attempted if one has hefty bosoms to accentuate. That is not Natalie’s forte, and it’s to her credit that she realizes this.

Clare Danes

Chances are if I had compiled this list a year ago Danes would be occupying the number one spot, but recent developments have put paid to her reign (of which more later).

Since she entered the crying game with her breakout performance in My So-Called Life, Clare has consistently brought the goods when it comes to attractive weeping. She combines sudden nose wrinkles, sublime lip-trembles, unique chin scrunches and beseeching heavenwards glances to deliver powerhouse performances of comely crying.

The facial dexterity required to pull off all these different elements will almost certainly be beyond you, so maybe just pick one feature of Danes’s repertoire and practice in the mirror before you embark on your next argument with your boyfriend.

Cheryl Cole

The killingest cryer out. No contest. Cheryl made The X Factor compulsive viewing even for those not interested in the talent show shenanigans. The producers recognized in her an ability to bring the sexy tears week in, week out, but few outside the show suspected Cheryl’s talent for provoking severe cases of tear-induced arousal.

In one episode of 2008’s series she sported a cowboy hat, which was a masterstroke. She cannily subverted the associations of this traditionally macho accessory by weeping copiously and beautifully beneath it. Hubba blubba!

Other choice accessories Cheryl utilizes to their fullest are dimples. If you are fortunate enough to possess dimples, do not let them go to waste. A good dimple can bring a crucial hint of dignity to a mascara-besmirched face.

Note how Cheryl never approaches hyperventilation. This is key if you want to become a classy cryer.  No sane man will want to squire you to a dance if he fears there’s a chance you may embarrass him in public by emitting sounds that resemble animal mating calls.

You may recall that Cheryl’s husband, Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole, cheated on her a couple of years ago, prompting the bemused remainder of the male gender to howl “WHY??” Now, of course, we realize he did it just so he could watch her cry.