Betrayed by My Lacrimal Glands

Betrayed by My Lacrimal Glands

Adrienne BoettingerFriday,29 April 2016

Settle in, children, for you are about to hear the scariest of stories. This is a story that will strike fear into your hearts, particularly if you are one of the be-testicled among us. I am about to tell you the terrifying tale of the woman who cried in the workplace.


Few things are more frightening to contemplate dealing with than a woman at work who is getting verklempt and actively trying to not tear up and possibly even trying to pretend that everything is fine. It is difficult for such a woman to go on as if you don’t see the enraging fact that her lacrimal glands are betraying her. She can’t stop it. Oh, if she could she would! Much as if she could burn you where you stood with laser beam eyeballs of smiting-ness, oh, she would smite you!

But the fact that her hormones predispose her towards becoming misty-eyed means that when she gets frustrated she is more likely to tear up and because her damn tear ducts are shallower than those of the man-children around her, she will be unable to disguise her damn tears. Then she’ll also have eye makeup that will begin to run and highlight the fact for everyone around that YES SHE IS A GROWN-ASS WOMAN AND YES SHE IS CRYING BECAUSE A GROWN-ASS MAN IS YELLING AT HER WITH NO PREAMBLE OR CAUSE IN THIS CUBICLE-RIDDEN BLACKHOLE OF TERRIBLENESS.

(Breathing in and out. Slowly.)

As you can tell it has been a shitfest of a week. Capping off the fact that she can’t prevent herself from tearing up, she has also been trained — being in a field that is mostly masculine — to believe crying will make her seem weak, out of control and unstable. So then she’ll be thinking about that while she’s trying not to cry, which of course will make her want to cry all the more. Ah, the irony.

So what is the moral of this story, boys and girls? Are women and men who cry at work unstable? Are they trying to emotionally blackmail you? Are they less than their more stoic counterparts? You might be tempted to think that if you read what some of the 15 female leaders interviewed by the Huffington Post, which is “almost like a journalistic organization,” had to say about crying at work. Boiling it down, they say that though it’s okay sometimes, you pretty much need to avoid crying at work. They don’t tell you how to do so if you are eyeballs are physically overflowing with tears but the idea seems to be that you can just order your eyeballs to dry up and all will be good.

Thankfully The Atlantic also covered this issue and their response was a little more nuanced. In answer to the question, “What do you think of people who cry at work?” the deputy editor answered, “I think they’re people.”

If only he was hiring.

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