Sneezing in Styleby Jody Martin, Neenah, WII was in seventh grade science class, just doodling, when I felt the tingle of a sneeze starting in my nose. I put my hand up to my face and shut my eyes in anticipation. Then, I let out a loud "ahh." It was then my sneeze failed me. The "choo" part just never came. Everyone turned to look at me be-cause they thought something was wrong. Quiet little Jody was wailing in class for no reason. Nobody knew I was about to sneeze. It had to be one of the most embarrassing things that ever happened. Since that day, I have become keenly aware of the way people sneeze. Everyone has their own style. As a sneeze expert, I have narrowed it down to four distinct types. There is the room-shaker, the nose-pincher, the cutesy "choo" and the repeat-sneezer.A classic example of a room-shaker is my father. When he sneezes, babies cry. When his face starts to scrunch up and his mouth hangs open, you know you need to brace yourself. A room-shaker sneeze is the kind that makes you say "ouch," even though it's not your sneeze.The nose-pincher has to be the worst kind. There's no relief. It usually plugs up your ears, which causes more problems. The nose-pincher person is usually a shy, quiet type who doesn't want to make noise. He or she can also be a self-conscious individual afraid of making a mess. To me, you look sillier pinching your nose than covering your face to avoid a mess. If you are a nose-pincher, use caution so you don't blow an eardrum.The third kind is the cutesy "choo" sneeze, also called the halfway sneeze. This is most common among girls. It's halfway between a normal sneeze and a nose-pincher. The sneezer holds back during the "Ahh" part of the sneeze so just a high-pitched little "choo" comes out. This kind of sneeze is characterized by a wrinkly nose and eyes squeezed tightly shut. It can also cause the sneezer to be made fun of because of the noise it produces. If you don't like to be mocked, just let it all out.The final type is the repeat-sneezer. This sneeze you really don't have any control over. It tends to be an unfortunate sneezing experience. A sneeze is supposed to offer relief to that temporary tingling sensation. In this case, the machine-gun sneeze pattern causes a stuffy nose and watery eyes. If you sneeze more than twice in a row, I definitely recommend carrying tissues at all times.From what I've noticed, the best kind of sneeze is one that you just let out. I know sneezing can be embarrassing, but it is something everyone does. For a while I avoided sneezing in public places. I'm comfortable with it now, and I know I will get through an embarrassing time if one occurs. Be proud, let it out, because that's what sneezing is for.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.