Okay, I hereby admit that some of the things that I'm about to say might sound just a little bit sexist. I try not to be, but the potential definitely exists with this post.
I am currently reading a book in which the MC (who, yes, does happen to be male) breaks down and cries on a regular interval. And by regular, I mean there was a point a while back when this occurred just about every single chapter.
Now, I can abide some crying on the part of a character. After all, humans experience a great deal of emotions, and sometimes it's hard to take it all without breaking down. However, after a few crying jags, it reached the point that if I saw anything resembling the words "and tears spilled down my face," I took a short break from reading to mentally curse out the MC. It got so bad I found myself wishing at least once a day that I could be transported into the book to Gibbs slap that guy once or twice. It seemed called for.
Here's my beef with the tears: Crying is not acting. As far as I'm concerned, to cry might be a verb, but it certainly isn't a goal oriented one. Every time the MC burst into tears at the realization that the love of his life was engaged to another man, he wasn't out winning her heart and solving the problem.
It looked to me like he was too chicken to do anything about his situation. Thus, whenever he wept when she smiled at someone else or fell worshipfully at her knees (I kid you not) when she smiled on him, I wanted to yell at him, as Shakespeare put it, "be of good heart and counterfeit to be a man." Yeah, I pretty much just wanted to go into the book and tell him to man up. (For the record, if the MC had been female, I'd have said the same thing, probably in the same terminology.)
Once, I read a article in which the writer said, "Put tears in the eyes of your character, and the audience will cry for them. If the tears fall from the eyes of the character, the reader will feel nothing." I don't know if I feel nothing when characters in books cry, but I know I feel a lot more for them when they brace up under their suffering and push through in an attempt to resolve the issue. That's when I cry for them. When they're crying, my tears would feel excessive.
But maybe that's just me. How do you feel about crying MCs? Or any crying character for that matter? Is there a tipping point for you between 'I get it' and 'I can't take it anymore'?