Getting A Mouthful On Why Men Spit

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - May 26, 2010
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Well, I asked for it. I asked MidWeek readers to try to explain why men spit. Holy gala-galas! I got a lot of e-mails - a mouthful, you might say - mostly from guys. And I have to say that aside from the one or two who were a bit bent out of shape, most of you were funny. Some were thoughtful and a few even eloquent. Yes, spitting inspires all sorts of creative commentary from men.

Who knew?

The first e-mail I received was from Albert Fernandez, who was quite irritated with me.

“You are a fabulous, attractive lady and report the news very professionally with a smile; however, I thought your article in MidWeek was totally trivial and frivolous. Guys will spit ... I myself have worked at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for over 20 years. Most systems on ships and submarines are disabled to allow repair work to be done. The working atmosphere is loud, dusty and hazardous, among other things. It’s a spitters’ paradise there. Perhaps you should arrange for a tour there to really see what I mean.”

Fair enough, Albert. I may pass on the tour, though. And I agree, the column was frivolous. But, hey, it’s really hard to write a serious column about shooting spitwads. It’s like writing seriously about passing gas in public.


One of my favorites was from this guy: “I hope I can shed some light to my reasons as to why I do such tasteless, disgusting and thoughtless acts of once being an Opportunist Spitoonist ... Or an Egotistical male chauvinist pig, oink oink. But for my own simple word, An Ego Testicle Male ...”

Thank you, Mr. Spitoonist, for sharing your various methods of eliminating sputum on the sly.

Another writer, Mr. Robert Grayson, waxed eloquent and philosophical about expectorating in public. He sees it as a form of social protest. “The short answer is that it is a rude behavior, and a gentleman would carry around a small box of tissues and be discreet about the transfer from nose/lungs to paper. But being men, we are subject to feelings of subjugation by our bosses, our wives (who don’t understand how easily our sense of manhood can be assaulted) and even society at large, which places so many restrictions on individual behaviors (ostensibly to ‘protect the children.’ But we are no longer children, and the very nature of being forced to act as a role model may cause acting-out of itself). Such minor “nanny state” things as being forced to “buckle up” or to be jailed for ingesting certain substances makes us feel that our freedoms, our civil liberties are being chiseled away. As a result, certain acting-out behaviors, sublimations, if you will, take the place of our REAL desires. Instead of accepting what we perceive as being treated without respect, we will justify your disrespect by ‘earning’ it with a well-placed loogie.”

Wow. Interesting, but I still say public spitting, like public nudity, is never an answer.

Milton Miyasato offered up a solution: “The only way I can see an end to this behavior is if someone invents a fashionable spittoon for the car ...”

Great idea, but - who gets to empty it?

And Sky Petersen explained that it’s our fault and we can fix it. “You will also see more of these actions if he is being belittled especially by a woman. So the next time you see a guy spitting out of his car with such impressive distance ... start clapping and cheering and see how big a smile he gets on his ‘boy from the past’ face.”

Uh ... hmmm. Yes, thanks, but I don’t think so.

And finally, Kiyo Yamada called me out for the perceived sexism of my question. “First find out why gals don’t spit. When you find out why gals don’t spit, I’m sure you will have your answer.”

Point taken, Kiyo. I know there are women who can hawk a loogie with the best of ‘em. I just haven’t seen it yet.

Speaking of women, only a couple of them dared to slog into the discussion.

June Hart said it’s primal. “I liken it to male cats marking their territory. Whoever can spit the furthest obviously has the best genes, thus the right to reproduce. Of course this exists only in the psyche/instinct of males as we females find it disgusting.”

And Kamalani Lee holds out little hope for the state of civilization: “Unfortunately, it’s not going to change. That’s the way it is. The uncouth majority are sliming their way to power.”

I hope not, Kamalani. I have to believe there’s hope for a phlegm-free future. I have a dream that someday I will get to walk barefoot in paradise.

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