Ali reflects on inappropriate times she's shed tears in the past, and makes a case for a few more inappropriate times in the future.
By Ali Gordon
Recently, I was sitting in the Actor's Equity building waiting to be seen for an audition, and I thought I should fill my waiting time by reading (read: tearing through) the recent comedy issue of Vanity Fair. I was thrilled, as many were, to discover a lengthy article dedicated to the one and only Martin Short, the only man in the world who seems funnier, kinder, and more sincere the more you know about him. As the topic turned, inevitably, to the passing of his wife Nancy, I found myself getting deeply emotional.
I don't just mean "sympathetic" emotional.
I mean tears emotional.
"The miracle of Nan and I is that it never stopped,” Short describes in the article, "There was never a time of ‘I’m packing my bag.’ The party and the laughs and the immediacy never stopped."
And then I had to go to the bathroom because I was 100%, fully crying in the waiting room of the Actor's Equity building, and I knew that I had to hide because if anyone asked what was upsetting me, "I'm just really emotional about Marty Short's wife passing away in 2010" wasn't an acceptable answer.
But in retrospect I'm thinking: what if we lived in a world where that were an acceptable response to the question "why are you crying?" What the hell is our problem with crying, anyway?
I cried because I was so excited to be sitting third row center of John Doyle's brilliant Sweeney Todd revival, because I could finally see what all those trinkets littering the shelves at the back of the stage were. (It was Symbolism City back there, folks. Well worth the excited tears.)
I cried when my friend called me to tell me he got the part he wanted in his school's production of Into the Woods not just because I was proud, but because I knew how badly he wanted it and how sparingly he discussed it for fear of hurting anyone else's feelings.
I cried (most embarrassingly and inappropriately of all) during my university's production of The Full Monty because the male leads were all close friends of mine, all fellow seniors about to graduate and take on the "real world", and here they were being fearless and funny as they stripped for a screaming crowd. I cleaned up Lead 1's vomit at a party once, I reminisced, getting teary. Lead 2 and I both almost failed piano! And as their underpants came off, I wept, dear readers. I wept.
Liz Lemon demonstrated best how people don't know how to deal with a weepy friend
Osho, a Buddhist philosopher and all around terrific person, is quoted saying:
"It is a great misfortune that tears have become associated with sadness, with sorrow; that is only one dimension of their being. But their more significant manifestation is in love, in gratitude, in prayer, in silence, in peace. When you are feeling so full, tears are just the overflow of your contentment, of your joy. Tears have to be given a new meaning, a new poetry and a totally new dimension." (This and more brilliant Osho quotes HERE - impress your friends, your family, your AP English teacher!)
But hey -- maybe if it weren't so taboo to cry in the first place, it wouldn't be such a stomach-churningly embarrassing situation to be walked in on in the Actor's Equity bathrooms (naturally the 'guys' and 'dolls' rooms), as you try to keep your mascara from running.
"Hey, rough audition?" they might ask.
"No," you'll respond, "but Marty Short sure did love his wife. He sure did love his wife."