The Spitting Image Of Angry Men
Wednesday - February 21, 2007
Seems I made a few men spitting mad. Take a look at this email I received not too long ago.
“Why do people spit? Because all our mucus has to come out somehow! So we spit!”
This was only one of several from indignant men. And it was relatively polite compared with the others.
“Of course, I wouldn’t spit everywhere. But I would spit in the sink, trashcan, and outside on the ground!”
And all I asked was, “why do guys spit?”
“And now that you posed a sexist question in your editorial, I’d ask: Why do many girls get easily grossed out by something so extremely minor as someone spitting on the ground? Is there anything that doesn’t gross out the stereotypical female?”
Well, we get grossed out because it is gross. Unsanitary. Unnecessary. But being called a sexist was one of the milder responses. Some were so bilious you’d think I was attacking the entire male population, when in reality I was merely curious.
OK, curious and grossed out. I really wanted to know why a civilized person would feel the need to eject spittle when swallowing would do.
In Singapore it’s even a crime. Check out this excerpt from an article I found in Budget Travel magazine:
“Singapore is beyond anal-retentive. Spitting is banned; first-time violators may be fined $611, while repeat offenders might find their picture published in the newspapers. Littering is also verboten ($611 or community service), as is smoking in public places ($611). The subway stations could pass for hospitals, and even restrooms are ranked by cleanliness; high marks go to Caltex gas stations. Remember to flush or, yes, you may get fined up to $92.”
Okay, I’m not so sure we want to go that far, but think about it: Wouldn’t it be nice if everything in our own community was spanking clean?
Luckily for me, at least one man tried his best to help me understand. He was downright eloquent on the subject of expectorating.
“My dad did it while driving, my baseball coach did it while coaching, my neighborhood friends did it all over the neighborhood when we were growing up (I even recall a spitting distance contest once), and even Jim Carrey did it to a tribal chief in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. So it’s definitely a male thing.”
Well, yes. My point exactly. “Unfortunately some men are less considerate than others when and where the launch is made. I usually try to do it when I’m alone and that includes no cars in my visible horizon while driving. A problem occurs, however, when the launch is delayed due to too many innocent/unsuspecting bystanders in close proximity to the launch zone.
“So sometimes we have to make a tough/quick decision between swallowing our own bullet or incurring the wrath of a female column writer who might be sitting in the car behind us at a stop light!”
Guess that would be me. Thanks for making your point with humor instead of nastiness.
Before I leave the topic, I have one more email to share.
“My mother would have brained me if I’d spit, so my first real exposure to spitting was when I went into the Air Force and noticed just about everyone spit.”
This man has a different theory on why guys spit.
“As I traveled around the world, I noticed in particular that men spit where they intended to urinate, and that it didn’t matter what culture or what class they held in that culture.”
I have to say all this feedback took me by surprise. Some of your e-mails made me cringe; others had me laughing out loud.
I now promise there will be no more discussion of spitting in this column.
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