For centuries, children were taught to sit down, stay silent and show no emotions. And this system worked. If a kid was out of line, an adult would give her a quick smack of a ruler, and that was that. Discipline at its finest. But recently our society has deemed corporal punishment and telling children that they should be seen and not heard antiquated and ludicrous. Overcompensating for past “errors,” parents and teachers tell children that showing emotion is not only okay but brave. Now any teenager with tear ducts and feelings has been given the unquestionable authority to cry whenever and wherever she pleases.
Put this paper down for a minute and listen to the sounds in the hallways. Somewhere, at this very moment, a Marlborough girl is crying. No, wailing. Lately, the sobbing seems to have reached epidemic proportions. Walking around School these days is like hopscotching your way through a minefield of grey-skirted bombs that explode into catastrophic tears when you least expect it.
And for whatever reason, we all feel some inexplicable obligation to go check on every weeping woman and ascertain that she hasn’t lost a limb or a relative before going about our day. But I will not be subjected to the role of perpetual sponge any longer; Crying Girl is really starting to dampen my mood. Pun intended. To all the therapists telling girls to get in touch with their feelings and to not be afraid to let it all out, I say, put a sock in it.
Now, I’m not a heartless beast. I respect that, at times, everyone needs a good cry. However, the time for that cry should never, ever be at School. I don’t really care if you’ve just discovered that the Mayan calendar was right, and yes, we’re all doomed. Hold it in. You are making it decidedly uncomfortable for those around you.
Crying Girl is like that Christmas gift that great-aunt Gertrude got you, which you simply cannot return. You have to take it, nod your head, smile, and wait until the key moment (like when Gertie takes a sizeable nip of the eggnog) to flee.
Whenever a girl starts to cry at School, innocent bystanders have a limited number of options, all of which are awkward at best.
1) Stand there, stare at Crying Girl and hope that her tears abate. You have a math test to get to, and you don’t have time to deal with this.
2) Cautiously ask what’s wrong and run the risk of having to hear about The Boyfriend (though more likely he’s The Boy Who Hasn’t Texted Back In, Like, Forever).
3) Hand her a tissue, give her a half-hearted pat on the back and leave the scene like the smooth criminal you are before she can even register that you were there.
But any way you look at this rather wet problem, Crying Girl’s emotional instability has now wrecked your perfectly innocent attempt to get to D period.
Beyond the fact that I dislike having to comfort students who are supposedly self-reliant and mature beyond their years, the biggest problem with Crying Girl is that we’re no longer able to tell the difference between a girl in serious distress and a girl who got cut in line at the Café and must now wait a whole two minutes to get her vital Sunrise Quesadilla. Ladies, when you cry over insignificant things, your peers will no longer know when there’s a real crisis, and frankly, when there is, they won’t care. You will be The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and must I remind you, that charming bedtime story ends with The Boy getting gobbled up by a wolf while his neighbors frolic less than a mile away.
You are trivializing what should be an emergency signal and in the process are making girls look weak and histrionic.
I don’t have the magic answer to make you stop sniffling and wheezing and honking. That, my friend, is your problem. So in the interest of everybody’s well-being, man up and make it home–or at least to the macaroon shop on Larchmont–before you open the floodgates.