I was thinking about how, according to the canon, Vulcans and Romulans feel much more deeply and passionately than humans do. This is why the Vulcans believe it is imperative to prescribe emotional repression – they believe their turbulent and passionate impulses would lead them to ruin if they were allowed to express them.
But it isn’t really something we see explored at all with the Romulans. The narrative tells us Romulans feel deeply and passionately, and are free to express their feelings, and this is supposedly meant as a contrast to Vulcans. But we never really see them behave irrationally or irresponsibly due to their emotions. I’ve never seen a Romulan captain verbally abuse her lieutenant, for example. Or a Romulan commander slap or strike his engineer. I’ve never seen a Romulan cowering and shouting “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” while immobilized with fear. We see it hinted at in TOS that they are passionate lovers, but TOS’ depiction mostly just amounted to casual sex. We don’t see the depths of the love or devotion they feel. That doesn’t really get explored.
Honestly, Romulan capacity for professionalism and controlling their emotions when they would lead to horrible consequences seems about on par with humans. Which is to say, I think, not perfect but pretty good. And they don’t take it to absurd levels like Vulcans, where it goes so far in one direction that it comes out the other side causing bad consequences again.
We the audience never really see what this deep and turbulent passion might actually look like in a Romulan.
So I suddenly got a headcanon that it is not shameful – and indeed is even sometimes seen as a deep sign of respect and sincerity – to openly weep. I like to think Romulans believe weeping demonstrates how completely you have been moved – by art or poetry or bad fortune or even by injustice. If Romulans feel so passionately I think it makes sense that there’d be no social or public taboo on weeping, and that it would not be equated with weakness. Since they seem to have no defined gender roles, I think it would be the same for the men and the women.
I also think that, after the Sundering and the Vulcan-Romulan war, the Romulans and Vulcans probably go out of their way to differentiate their cultures. So weeping might even eventually become expected in cultural contexts where appropriate (funerals, for example) and therefore Romulans might actually become good at fake crying. Which is ironic given that the tradition is all about showing the deep sincerity of your grief. Such is culture! This of course has the interesting mirror implication that the existence of the Romulans, rather than making the Vulcans question the validity of their own belief system (like, obviously you’re not going to die if you don’t follow your faith’s prescriptions, as the Romulans are very much not dead and are in fact alive), their existence instead makes the Vulcans double down on their faith. The Vulcans dig in and become more zealous and repressed the longer the culture war with the Romulans rages on.