Entry 761: Crying 101

The University of Utah now has a cry closet.

It’s in the school’s library. And its sole purpose is to provide a shelter to cry on.

It’s been a long time since I was in college, but I don’t remember there being a cry closet on campus. On the other hand, I went to Queens College, which is a commuter school, so we could go home and cry in our own closets. Sometimes we just cried in our cars because we couldn’t find a parking space.

It’s possible that there was no need for such a thing before millennials came along. Millennials are just so emotional. But then again, they probably use the cry closet as a private space from which to call their parents so they can cry to them.

Of course, the University of Utah (UU?) cry closet has rules. You have to knock before entering, for instance, and you can’t be in there for longer than 10 minutes. There’s even a timer. Wouldn’t it be horrible if you were in there bawling your heart out and this timer started going off and now you have to leave the closet because your 10 minutes are up and someone’s knocking and you can’t stand this pressure and why won’t everyone just leave you alone and somebody make that friggin’ timer stop, okay (sob, sob) I’ll be right out, you bastard, can’t you hear how upset I am?

How much better do you feel now?

I have some other questions:

  1. Why is the cry closet in the library? Do college kids even use the library anymore? Isn’t everything online? Maybe it’s in the library to increase library usage. (“Tuesday night: Cry-a-thon in the library! FREE snacks!”)
  2. Has a study been done that indicates the library is where students are most likely to start blubbering? Maybe that’s where they break up with each other these days. I thought they just texted, but I could be wrong.
  3. Is there some reason why students don’t want to cry in their dorm rooms? Do they have to sneak out to the library, or can they be upfront with their roommates? (“I’m going down to the library to have a cry. Don’t eat my ramen.”)
  4. From the photo, it appears as though the cry closet is not much bigger than a regular linen closet. What if a member of the football team is sad? It doesn’t look like they’d fit. Maybe there’s a larger closet in the locker room.
  5. Shouldn’t there be a councilor in the closet? I mean, if the kid is depressed enough to lock themself in a small room just to cry, it seems to me there should be help nearby. Or maybe there’s a hotline phone inside.
  6. Maybe they should build another closet right next to this one. Then put a small window through both walls. Then put a priest in the second closet. You know, just in case you’re crying about some sin you committed. Obviously, this only works for Catholics. I know Jews wouldn’t need a cry closet in the first place; we’ll whine anywhere.
  7. Since the cry closet is in the library, do you have to sob quietly?
  8. Who keeps the closet stocked with tissues?
  9. What if someone needs to cry because they’re claustrophobic?
  10. Do you get credits for crying? Can you audit the closet and just watch somebody else crying?
  11. Does anyone ever mistake the cry closet for a Porta-potty? And, if so, does that make the person who uses it next cry even more?
  12. Will this change some of our vernacular? For instance, will “he came out of the closet” now mean he’s just feeling better?

To be fair, the cry closet at good old UU is actually an art installation by a current student, Nemo Miller (pictured), who is a ceramics major with a minor in sculpture, so it’s difficult to imagine which course the cry closet would have been a project for, unless it’s made out of clay. I guess she thought her fellow students would need such a thing, especially during finals week, which was when it was installed.

It’s unclear whether this is an idea that may spread to other schools. Certainly some colleges like Cornell, which is famous for its suicide gorges, might benefit from a less, um, fatal emotional release. I also don’t know if the cry closet will even be a permanent fixture at the University of Utah. But I do know this: given the reputation of the rear sections of college libraries, adding a small, private room may also require that someone keep it stocked with condoms.

See you soon.

P.S. Interestingly, the photo above of the couple kissing in a library is from a commercial for a Canadian university that was trying to increase enrollment. Imagine if they had a cry closet!

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