Reading Mary Roach’s book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, a curious question came up – would you drink your own spit? It seems like a no-brainer; after all, if you discard your own saliva into a clean glass, filling it, say, half way, why wouldn’t you put that bodily fluid back into where it just came from? It’s not like our saliva exited our colon or bladder – it arrived directly from our mouth. Interestingly enough, Roach discloses that the bulk majority of people, that is, hmm…, us, will find this idea appalling. Furthermore, if one is to spit into their own soup, that too, turns out, will be a deterring factor for skipping lunch. It seems like we do not like to spit on the cake and have it too…
Why? Why do we find our own saliva disgusting once it is no longer in its natural habitat? It seems like we apply a double standard; after all, quite a few mothers seem to be okay, if the need arises, to wipe their baby’s dripping nose with a bare hand; passionate lovers kissing, exchange saliva without giving it a second thought. Skipping a further discussion about taking back in other forms of digested food which originated involuntarily out of our open lips, let’s just say that we seem to follow a rule; that once something leaves our mouth, it is not allowed back in. In examining the root cause of this code, it seems much of derives from social conditioning. While this habituation changes slightly from one culture to another, I am more interested in how come I was not aware of this observation; that what seems fine to us in one environment, utterly disgusts us in another. Some food for thought?
Round and about, it makes me wonder if there is a connection here to the idiom, eating your own words. I am going to chew on that too for a little while.
Learned from: Mary Roach’s book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal