Cry Me A River

Oops, she did it again.

The first time was forgivable, of course, when her mom called with word that their beloved cocker spaniel “Poochie” had died. The second time almost doesn’t count since things just got a little misty during a tense staff meeting. But this week, my girl Sandy was truly something to see.

She cried at work.

Now I’m not talking about getting a little teary-eyed after a rough phone call, the evidence easily remedied by a quick run to the ladies’ room. And it wasn’t one of those hysterical laughs, either, when tears spill out the corners of your eyes just as easily as that little squirt of urine escapes your bladder (does that happen to guys too?…does that happen to other women?). No…my girl went straight Oscar nomination with it, not that she was acting (which is the sad part). Sandy was straight up quivering with hers, staining her desk with watery lipstick and mascara as she blubbered away unabashedly.

So of course, I figured the episode was over something major. An unexpected loss. Bankruptcy. Gaining weight after steadfastly following the South Beach diet for three weeks. An abscessed tooth. Learning about a leaky breast implant. Come to find out that these buckets of tears she shed was over a man. And not just any man, but one of our married colleagues with whom I learned she was having an affair.

At first, I was completely empathetic, doing my best to clean her up and repair the damage with cover-up, blush, and a fresh swish of eyeliner. But the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got. Less about her sleeping with that slimeball (because, if anything, his wife will now find out about the whole thing and leave him on the porch like a bag of old clothes for Goodwill). I’m mostly bothered that she had the nerve to cry over him. At work!

I mean, that’s deep. Not only have I never cried at work about anything (not even the time I stabbed myself with the envelope opener – shouldn’t those things be outlawed?), but I can’t recall crying over a dude in my adult life. Her sob-fest just feeds the whole negative perception of women in the workplace that leaves us two steps behind in salary, stature, and respect in many fields. Yes, the 9-to-5 life is certainly better for us tampon-fillers than it was a few decades ago, but things aren’t ever going to improve for us if we’re still seen as emotional and unpredictable.

And if you’re gonna go there (especially when it’s over a guy), do it with some dignity. Tiptoe down to the last stall in the restroom. Or say you’re making a coffee run and, instead, drive around the block for an explosion in the privacy of your own car. If I ever had to let it all out, I’d probably just suck it up until lunch, and then go home and cry in my bed, the only acceptable place (in my opinion) to mourn a wounded relationship. Okay, okay…so maybe I may have squeezed out a few tears over a man or two in recent years. But only a few.

Never at work, however. My co-workers are the last people I want consoling me. I mean, if she weren’t my friend and I wasn’t so annoyed at the circumstance, I’d eat this up – telling others in soft whispers to “walk past Sandy’s cubicle and check her out…homegirl’s tripping, huh?” The worst part about this whole interoffice affair thing is that this, likely, is not the worst of it. Next week, she may be cajoling me to slash the guy’s tires or make crank calls to his wife. And then will come the knock-down, drag out, gloves off confrontation in front of the whole staff when they reach that final straw. Mario (the slimeball) will no doubt walk away unscathed while Sandy will be relegated to office Kryptonite, all because she wept at work. It’s a slippery slope, y’all.

Take home message? When you’re having drama in the love/lust department, call out sick. That way, you can kick and scream as much as you want, and if the two of you happen to make reparations after going back and forth for hours, you’re already in place for the make-up sex.

See you next week with another update from the beach.

Diane is (quite) a character on the online soap opera Buena Beach (www.buenabeach.com). Her weekly insights on what’s happening at the Beach are featured exclusively on Urban Thought Collective.

<a href="http://urbanthoughtcollective.com/2008/06/27/diane-brown-