How to Cry in Public

Everybody cries. And in our dog-eat-dog, overly connected world, everybody has probably cried in public. Whether it’s a rough day at work, a funeral, or something sneaking out of your memory and into your eyeholes at in inopportune time, it’s a simple fact of life. You don’t have to feel bad about it, but you do probably want to minimize the damage:

(1) Stop It Before It Starts

  • Yawn

It’s been proven … somewhere … that fake yawning can help prevent real crying.

  • Pinch The Bridge Of Your Nose

I have no support for this except that it occasionally works for me.

  • Breathe deeply and tap the tips of your fingers, rapidly and one at a time, to the tip of your thumb.

When I accidentally took a meditation class in law school (long story?) I learned that I cannot meditate – or think, really – while sitting still. My brain works best when I’m able to shut down part of it by focusing on physical movement. Walking is best, but if you’re stuck where you are, try rapidly drumming your fingers against your thumb. It keeps a tiny bit of your brain busy – if you’re lucky, the part that’s a newly-opening tear factory.

  • Try a crying mantra

Repeat a phrase over and over again to yourself, like “not now” or or “don’t think about it” – but don’t do it out loud. Better to be the person who is crying in public than the person reciting a crying mantra in public.

(2) Go To A Second Location

  • Make a quick exit to the bathroom.

People might think you’re crying, but they also might think you have diarrhea. That sounds like a lose-lose, but since they don’t see you cry, you can still remain a beautiful mystery.

  • Take a walk

If it’s a situation where it’s not weird for you to leave, get out of there and get moving.  People may see you cry as you walk by, but you’re gone in a flash. Plus, movement helps your brain do something other than cry.

  • Assess your workplace cry-zones

Like kindergarteners making maps of their household fire plans during Fire Prevention Week,  know your escape routes before an emergency arises.

Not every bathroom is a good crying bathroom. Some have too much traffic, or are single-stall deals that may leave you crying in the hallway while you wait for someone to finish their business. If so, excuse yourself to your work station (full disclosure: I have my own office, which basically means I am the person that the #blessed hashtag was created for. But it comes with its own crying perils: last month I had a street view of a police officer’s funeral. It was a 3-hanky day.).  Once there, busy yourself. If you work in an office setting, maybe there is an empty conference room that you could weep in. Make sure that it’s empty first, though, because folks will remember the snot-faced person who barged into their meeting.

  •  En route to your second location, carry your cell phone in full view.

Then instead of crying over something stupid, it becomes plausible that you just received bad news or have to make a rough phone call. People will be less likely to stop you.

(3) Create A Task

If you’re already in tear mode and haven’t been able to remove yourself from the situation, I want you to create something to do. This can busy your mind enough that the tears will go away. It can be a real task, like refilling snacks or cleaning up garbage at a party. It can also be an imaginary one, like counting mustaches at a funeral.

(4) Fix Your Face

  • Water yourself like the beautiful flower that you are

Cold water is your friend. Splash it on your face and into your eyeballs. This may wash off your makeup, but your makeup is already ruined unless you wore waterproof mascara (what, did you KNOW you were going to be crying today?).

Drink a lot of water, too: it’s good for your puffy skin and your tear-hangover.

  • Ice, Ice Baby

Get a cold soda can and press it against your face. You can also use an ice pack or frozen veggies if you have them. It will cool down and depuff your skin.

  • Your eyes are the windows to your soul and the whole world is full of peeping toms.

What I mean is, cover your eyes as you would a window you didn’t want people to look in. If you can’t wear sunglasses, try these:

  • Gently tap your undereye area and the corners of your eye with your fingertips.
  • Are you publicly crying in a place where you have access to milk? Soak a cotton ball or a balled-up tissue in it and leave it on your eyelids for a while.
  • If you have eye drops handy, use them.
  • Pop an anti-inflamatory. It might bring down your face-poof, but if not it will still help knock out your crying headache.

(5) Live To Cry Another Day

So, you cried in public. It’s fine. Anybody has a problem with that has a problem with the fact that you’re a human person with feelings and tear ducts. If anyone looked at you like you were crazy, it can be fun to craft crying revenge scenarios.  If you are crying because someone honked at you, just imagine how dumb he would feel if he knew that your dog just died. And that snippy lady at that bank would sure feel cruddy if she realized that you just got dumped.  Then, find something that always makes you happy, whether it’s a favorite funny movie or a friend who’s good at making you feel better. You may be a snot-faced tear factory, but so is almost everybody else.

Pretty Like It’s 1999: Late 90s Tween Fashions — And Their 2013 Adult Equivalents

Are you a lady in your mid- to late- twenties? If so, congratulations! You were also a tween or young teen in the late ‘90s and early 2000s! Half your life ago you were part of a tween cohort in its golden age. The society that produced the Lost Generation may have been the perfect environment for budding artists and poets, but the tween renaissance of 1997-ish was a cultural tempest, too. There were just more sparkles, is all, and instead of Ernest Hemingway, it produced Lalaine and Aaron Carter. Here are some of the greatest fashion staples of that magnificent era– and a modern adult equivalent that you could actually get away with wearing today.

glitter eyes

1999 tween style: Body glitter. Like so many wholesome children’s and teen’s fashions of the late ‘90s, this was borne of rave culture. But you don’t need to be on ecstasy to enjoy a little sparkle! Body glitter was popular with tweens because it was like makeup for people whose parents wouldn’t let them wear makeup yet. I used to roll glitter across my cheekbones and sweep it over my eyelids, I guess so that people would look at my face more. If you read YM  or Seventeen, you might have learned to apply glitter to your collarbone, to draw the eye to where you hoped your cleavage would eventually come in.

Gold Leaf Eye Makeup

2013 adult style: Metallic eyeshadow. Like roll-on body glitter, this is a fun and glitzy look. Unlike roll-on body glitter, if done properly it will not make you look like you store hallucinogenic drugs in your pacifier necklace. I like the heavy gold-leaf look, but let’s be serious, I cannot figure out how to do it myself. Best to take your advice from YouTube makeup gurus.

Maddy's jeans - front leg

1999 tween style: Embroidered jeans. When I bought these (from Limited Too, naturally), my aunt told me that I should save them because my kids would get a kick out of them someday. Even at 13 I took this as a not-so-subtle suggestion that I looked completely ridiculous.

green pants

2013 adult style: Colored jeans and cords. Listen, I love my colored jeans. I think they’re great. But I also acknowledge that while bright pants can add interest to an outfit, I’ll eventually feel like they looked really stupid. Luckily, I still have plenty of older relatives who will remind me to save my magenta skinny jeans for posterity.

Example of baggy "JNCOs"

1999 tween style: Enormous JNCOs. These were probably your pants of choice if you were really into Korn and Marilyn Manson, or at least were not terrified of them like I was. These were a unisex style: I had a huge crush on a boy in my tween acting/improv classes who wore JNCOs and had a mushroom cut, which is the hairstyle that all of the cute boys voted to adopt by secret ballot in 1995. I never would have worn JNCOs myself, but they probably were really useful because they had pockets, and also if a friend’s pants ripped or were lost, they could climb in one leg and you could climb in the other, and you could share.

j brand cargo pants+cargos

2013 adult style: Skinny cargo pants. With giant pockets and a slim fit, these pants are entirely useless (except in that they cover the fact that you’re naked under your clothes). Like JNCOs, I do not wear these — not because I’m afraid of Marilyn Manson this time, but because an enormous pocket bulging from the hip area is not awesome on me. If you don’t mind adding a couple inches to your legs, width-wise, these are actually pretty cute though.


1999 tween style: Butterfly clips. These were the best. You would twist back rows of hair from your face, creating a butterfly meadow on the top of your head – the effect was a little more special than a headband and just barely less special than a freakin’ tiara. Of course, you would coordinate your butterfly clips with your outfit, and they were usually a little bit glittery. Theoretically, you could use even more butterfly clips to secure a bun into a fancy updo, if you were into that sort of thing or if you had a mom who did your hair.

Woodland crown-boho headpiece

2013 adult style: Fun hair accessories that don’t look like insects. I wish that I could be more specific, but the fact is, there are a lot of great hair accessories on the market right now. If you were a butterfly clip afficianado because you found it to be a fun and feminine style, you might like a hair flower,[1] especially if your hair is long and wavy. If you admired butterfly clips for their sheer functionality in getting hair out of your face, headbands have been back in for several years and are, in my experience, less painful and less poofy than they used to be.  You can even find them in semi-fascinator styles, thanks I’m sure to Beatrice and Eugenie. If you were one of those girls who created over the top, eye catching styles with your butterfly clips, try a headwrap like this or, because you’re probably pretty good with accessories, a turban. You probably won’t screw it up the way those of us who could barely manage a butterfly-headband would.

1. But if you have a baby, or know some babies socially, please rethink the obligatory baby girl giant head-flower thing. I was a super-bald baby and my mom used to try to make me wear those baby head garters that they sold in the 80s, and I ripped it off every time. I like to think this is because I developed an early sense of when things look absolutely damn foolish.  BACK TO POST