Dear Young Sir,
Yes, you. The nicely dressed young man who repeatedly blew his nose loudly enough to stun sparrows out of the sky, setting off seismographs in nearby labs—as gently as I can, my dear man, I regret to inform you--when in public we don’t trumpet our noses at ear-spitting volume.
Far from claiming supreme knowledge of the finer points of etiquette, I admit I, too, have occasionally trumpeted in public. Through the wisdom of my years, I have learned to confine those satisfying, proud, and productive displays of vigorous nasal strength to the privacy of my own home, car, or perhaps, in an emergency, a stall in a public restroom, or deserted woodland area (only if visibly free of vulnerable small wildlife).
I am certain you never meant to cause offense, or indeed, amusement, as you vainly tried to clear your congested passages. For your benefit, I have taken an informal survey of other witnesses to your regrettable, although enthusiastically hearty, faux-pas. Results conclusively show that:
1. Discreet nose-blowing IS better than constant loud, wet sniffing, as noted by 94% surveyed
2. Public nose-blows should be limited in volume to prevent hearing loss; no more than 85 dB (equivalent to a freight train @ distance of 15 meters)*
3. Favored sinus discharge receptacles were as follows: Facial tissues (80% of respondents), toilet paper (10%), cloth handkerchiefs (5%), McDonald’s napkins (4%), other (1%). Judged not acceptable: hoodie-sleeves, shirt-tails, upholstered furniture, back of hand
4. Sympathetic that you have a cold or allergy, bystanders agree they will gladly contribute to a fund to purchase you a generic-grade, over-the-counter antihistamine product. One observer offered to personally transport you to the nearest Walgreens.
5. Survey participants noted although they refrained from laughter each time you trumpeted, they were sorely tested. They make no guarantee of further resistance to guffawing at any of your future nasal shout outs.
So, dear young sir, please accept this gentle lesson in the spirit of enlightenment in which it is intended. As the Russian proverb says, "There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out."
When snot is flowing, go gently with the blowing. Your tender nose, your friends, loved ones, neighbors, and any living creatures within earshot, will thank you.
The Sincerely Silly Saturday Etiquette Advisor
**With many thanks to Virginia, the Home Reared Chef, and her rousing “nose-picking post” at BlogHer.com. Her fearlessness gave me the courage to tackle this sincerely silly topic.