Illustration by Marjainez

I’ve always been a crier.

Not like a crybaby, exactly, but…from the time I was a little kid to right now when I am supposed to be an adult doing adult things like going to work and being responsible and having my shit together…I don’t hold in my feelings—I still cry whenever I’m sad. I cry when I’m really really happy. Or when something is super beautiful and there’s nothing left to say.

I’m an easy crier. My god, the lion reunion video alone was an entire travel pack of tissues.

I cry when I’m angry and fighting with someone and can’t think of exactly what to say to make them see how wrong they are. And then I get furious at myself for crying, and then I cry harder.

And it’s OOOOOOOK I just have a lot of feelings. And it’s fine to cry! Let it out! There’s nothing wrong with crying.

But…sometimes you need it to be a secret that you were just bawling. Sometimes you need to make it look like you totally were not just crying. Um, RIGHT AWAY.

Guuurl lemme get you a Kleenex. Here we go.


Uh-oh. You’re getting teary? You think you’re gonna cry?

The most important thing at this point is to just let it happen.

Don’t fight crying—this makes it worse. When you try to hold it in you end up making weird gasping noises and your face turns red and everyone in the nearby vicinity is alerted to the fact that something’s up with you.

You’re going to cry.

Walk calmly (don’t run—it’ll give you away) to a bathroom. Immediately. I cannot stress this enough. Get thee to a lonely bathroom. Lock yourself in a stall.

While Crying

This part is easy. Just start sobbing! It’s OK! Let the tears flow! No one can see you! Put your feet up on the toilet seat if you’re concerned someone will come looking for you.

There’s only one thing to keep in mind while crying, though, and that’s:

REMEMBER TO BREATHE. This is the #1 key to your after-cry recovery. In order to prevent extreme facial redness and splotchiness later, breathe evenly through your mouth (your nose will be too stuffed up) as you cry. Holding your breath and letting it out in little shuddery gasps and hiccups is what makes your face that telltale I-was-crying red color.

Immediately After Crying

Take a few really deep breaths. Steady… steady…

Blow your nose lavishly. Do it again.

Check for other people if you’re in a public bathroom.

Once the coast is clear, c’mon out.

If you’re wearing eye makeup (or were wearing it), fold a piece of toilet paper in half and dab daintily (DON’T WIPE) underneath your eyes.

Now, in movies, this is where the main character splashes cold water on his or her face. That’s fine if you’re not wearing makeup, but hello? Those of us wearing makeup can’t be splashing water all over ourselves. Here’s what you do:

Run cold water, stick your fingers under the tap, and then gently pat cold water underneath your eyes, where it’s all puffy. This cools you down and constricts the blood vessels under your eyes that are causing tattletale swelling. Splash some cold water on your wrists, too. It helps, I don’t know why.

OK, your nose is red and shiny, I know. DON’T POWDER IT. I know you want to, but really don’t. It will look so much worse, you won’t even believe how much worse—like you’re trying to cover something up and it’s not working at all. If you powder it, you will have a red powdered cue-ball nose. Just leave it—it’ll go away in a minute.

A few more deep breaths, and now it’s time to leave the bathroom.

You still might look blotchy. Much, much better, but still a li’l…cry-y, right?

Here Are Your Two Final Weapons

1. Flip your hair over your head and rumple it up, like you’re trying to add volume. Then flip it back and fluff it out. I learned this trick from my expert stealth-crying friend Alison, who says: “This will make you look like you are only flushed because you are so windblown and carefreeeee.”

2. Juuuust as you’re about to walk back into a room with people in it, do like my sneaky friend Jen does and pretend to sneeze, loudly. That way no one will think, Oh, she’s crying—they’ll think, She just had a sneeze attack, that’s why her eyes are watering and her nose is so red.

And finally, if you’re me? Visine in the purse and waterproof mascara on the lashes. Every day.

You just never know. ♦