There’s a girl in my office who holds her sneezes in, and by “holds her sneezes in” I mean she literally, physically HOLDS THEM IN. She does the whole head-lifted-eyes-squinty-mouth-open thing when it starts, just like a normal person, but then she closes her eyes and holds her nostrils shut while her head does a little jerk, and she makes this teensy-tiny snorty sound and then releases it with a REALLY teensy-tiny, super-squeaky, high-pitched “cheeew!”

It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine why anyone would do this. Once I asked her and she gave me some lame answer like “That’s just how I’ve always sneezed,” but I’m pretty sure that’s bullshit because no way does that come naturally to ANYONE. My theory is it’s got something to do with being cute or ladylike or something, which I find both sad and disturbing, but mostly I am just FASCINATED.

Every time it happens I hold my breath and wait to see if her head will explode.

The last time I sneezed, I tried to hold it in like Tiny Sneeze Girl just to see what it was like, but my snorty sound was about a thousand times louder and grosser and more snorty than hers, and also I ended up with snot on my fingers, and also my ears popped and I was a *little* scared for a split second that some of my brains might blow out, and ALSO I bit my tongue (which hurt like a motherfucker) so I was too busy screaming and shouting vulgarities to make that cute little high pitched “cheeew!” sound at the end, which is really the best part.


Guess I’ll just return to my regular normal-person sneeze and keep my brains inside my head for now.

While I’m on the subject of sneezes, may I just ask when the hell the German word for “good health” became the standard response to a sneeze? How did that happen, exactly? Is there some huge underground German population that I’m not aware of controlling our sneeze-related vernacular?

Personally, I much prefer “Bless you.” Even though I’m one of those dunno-about-all-that-god-stuff-but-please-stop-calling-me-a-heathen people, I still think “Bless you” is nicer and makes more sense. Bridget Fonda made the same observation in Singles and I’ve never forgotten it.

I swear it’s like Bridget Fonda knows EVERYTHING.

Really, I’m not sure what the point is of saying anything after somebody sneezes. The tradition started way back when we thought little spirits could fly into our noses and possess us or some crazy shit like that, but really, at this point haven’t we progressed just a *little* in our thinking? At least to the point where we shouldn’t have to worry about being accused of rudeness if we fail to wish a person no harm from evil fairies in their nose when they perform the very natural function of sneezing? Anyone? No? Have I crossed a line here?

If you ask me (and yes, I am painfully aware that no one has), it’s the SNEEZER who should be required to say something, like “Excuse me” or “Pardon me” or “Sorry I snotted on you.” The SNEEZEE shouldn’t be obligated to say anything except maybe “Gross! You just snotted on me!” possibly followed by some retching sounds.

But as long as the antiquated ritual is still a politeness requirement, I think “Bless you” is the way to go. Fuck that “Gesundheit” nonsense. Somebody tell Heidi Klum to suck it.

And that concludes this portion of All You Need to Know About Sneezes from Bejewell.

You’re welcome.

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