So what is the big deal about yawning? When did it become such a faux pas? I recognize that a loud yawn with outstretched arms might be somewhat unappealing in public, but there seems to be a lesser known social construct completely against an act that is perfectly natural.
Yawn: involuntarily opening one’s mouth wide and inhaling deeply due to tiredness or boredom. (Yup: I just “Googled” it!)
The key word here is “involuntarily”. Yes, if you know a yawn is imminent, you can stifle it somewhat. Perhaps you can attempt the closed mouth yawn or smile yawn, but that is not always possible.
I teach English online to students in China. As China is 12 hours ahead of my part of America, the instructors find ourselves teaching at some off hours. An occasional yawn is unavoidable. Recently, a colleague expressed concern as he was chastised in feedback for yawning during class.
When I worked in retail, I emitted a concealed yawn when I was on the sales floor. “Don’t yawn!” my boss stated with a curt attitude. What?
Babies yawn, and it is considered cute. When children yawn, it goes unnoticed. But yawn as an adult, and you’re suddenly being inappropriate. It’s natural. It happens. We do our best to conceal it, but even then our etiquette is called into question if that naturally occurring yawn is observed.
“Don’t yawn!” someone bellows.
Alright, I won’t yawn. By the way, I’ll do my best to avoid sneezing as well.
Copyright 2018 Susie Krivacic