How to Blow Your Nose in Public

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January 24, 2014 by Roe

It’s January, it’s cold – it’s cold and flu season. Coughs, sniffles, sore throat, runny nose, phlegm and mucus – Who’s hungry?

I don’t mean to unceremoniously sound the alarm (or honk my horn for that matter), but this is a issue I’ve been debating for a few weeks now as I unattractively stumble down the New York City streets with tears streaming down my face (which later transform into baby icicles) and my nose running like it has its own train to catch. Sometimes I ashamedly bury my face in my scarf trying to breathe some life into the numb, frostbitten lower half of my face while casually hiding the fact that I have Flubber coming through my nostrils. What’s worse I can’t even feel the swamp that resides over my upper lip because of these polar temperatures! My hand are two blocks of ice buried in two layers of gloves and as I blindly reach for an already used tissue in my jacket pocket, my headphones pop out of my phone and I being to juggle dabbing my rose, replugging in my headphones, and attempting to access my all-touchscreen phone to replay the music I was listening to. On occasion I’ll throw in a little balance challenge because I’m maneuvering through snowy and icy New York in sneakers. But I have to say when it all comes down to it, I end up trudging down 7th Ave doing the best I can, hoping no one is looking at me, praying I don’t run into anyone I know. How many more days ’til Spring?

Last week I was on the PATH heading down to Christopher St. and the time came – I had to blow my nose during a semi-rush hour on public trans. I couldn’t breathe right and I could feel that all too familiar trickle…Well out comes my tissue and the dirty looks I got, GWORL LET ME TELL YOU! If you ever needed to part a crowd, blowing your nose and maybe screaming, “Oh my God, I’m gonna throw up!” will probably get the job done. You feel everyone’s eyes squint at you in disgust as they minimally shuffle away and then avert their eyes to judge you as discreetly as possible. So that’s when I put my Ego aside, tuck my consciousness in the right-hand drawer in my head, and put a blindfold over my feelings. Listen, honey – I don’t blow my nose to look pretty. The noisy clearing of my sinus and nasal cavities is not the new mating call and never will be. I mean, would you rather I just let it slide down my face? But I know as soon as I sound I’m automatically labeled as a diseased, germ-carrying, terminally ill rat. But the best part is when roles are reversed, I’m disgustedly shuffling away from you too. I don’t want your disease. Ew, gross!

I’ve often wondered what the hell the proper nose-blowing etiquette is. It’s too loud and messy to be polite in any way, shape, or form. Ick! A 6-year-old Yahoo! article says it should be done quietly in private with your own tissues and with washing your hands afterwards. Oh yeah and don’t look at the tissue…Like that needs to be said. Well luckily I check out on all of these – when I’m comfortably settled in somewhere like at home, except at home I could be as loud as I want. But when I’m on the street in the blistering cold, what then?! Where shall we turn? Is there a savior among us commoners who could potentially save the human race from the future embarrassment from blowing their nose in public?

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