According to Gaudio, he was dozing off while watching the movie, ‘Tennessee’s Partner’ (1955), when he heard Payne's character slap Fleming in the face. After the slap, Fleming's character replied, "Big girls don't cry." Gaudio wrote the line on a scrap of paper, fell asleep, and wrote the song the next morning. However, the now-famous line does not appear in the mentioned film. According to Bob Crewe, (who tells a remarkably similar story), he himself was dozing off in his Manhattan home with the television on when he awoke to see John Payne manhandling Rhonda Fleming in the film ‘Slightly Scarlet’; a 1956 film noir based on a James M. Cain story. The line, ‘Big girls don’t cry’ is heard in that film. It has also appeared in the soundtrack to the 1987 film ‘Dirty Dancing’.
My twenty-six years working as a Probation Officer and stress management group worker involved me working with the hardest men imaginable, and women who had suffered horrible physical and sexual abuse as a child by a family member in the most unmentionable of circumstances. I tell you, that neither type of person, or indeed any person I ever knew, who, repressed their emotions and later found they couldn’t cry, were ever helped until they ‘did cry’, after emotionally expressing their intense anger and disgust at what they did or had done to them.
One person I will never forget was a young woman in her mid-twenties. She was a member of one of my twenty-six-week two-hour groups I ran for twenty years. The groups were highly successful in helping people who displayed entrenched problematic behaviour, caused by decades of unhealthily repressing intense emotions. During the group sessions, the young woman revealed that she had been sexually abused in her youth, and though she now wanted to express her anger and disgust to the abuser and had grown confident enough to do so, it was alas impossible, because the abuser had died some few years earlier. It later transpired that the other group members were so empathetic of her situation and supportive to her, that when she asked, “How can you be angry with a dead father who could no longer be able to hear you?’ another group member reminded her of a lesson that had been taught to them during their weekly sessions; ‘That it is more important within the resolution of any situation 'what we do' and not 'what someone else does’.
After having been reminded by a group member that it mattered not if her dead father couldn’t hear her and that what really mattered was that she said what she wanted and needed to say to him. The young woman was reminded that she needed to express all of those hurtful repressed emotions that had been trapped inside her body for almost twenty years if she was ever to move on with her life and get some sense of 'closure'. She agreed to follow their suggestion.
After we had discovered where her father was buried ( having had no contact with him for over ten years after she ran away from home at the age of 16), she visited the grave (with myself and four other group members in attendance as emotional support) and vented her anger and disgust at what he had done to her as a child over the dead man’s unattended grave. After her emotional outburst, she cried and cried and was eventually healed over the following years of the deep trauma which had been responsible for her display of problematic behaviour for many years after the event. She never forgot the cruel acts perpetrated against her as a child by a father who should have loved her and not abused her; neither did she forgive her dead father. However, after releasing the barriers that had dammed her tears for a decade or more, she was now back in control of her behaviour and was able to emotionally dump all baggage and move on with her life.
Take it from me folks that ‘Big girls do cry’ along with ‘Big boys’. If we are wise, we will never hold back our tears whenever weeping is the natural thing to do.
Love and peace. Bill xxx