Posted in Culture

United in Mutual Revulsion: Spit and Shoes

So true! Isn’t it just amazing how deeply ingrained some of these reactions are? Some things are “disgusting”, whereas others are “completely normal” (how about blowing your nose and then putting the tissue in your pocket?). So good to be confronted by someone else’s “normal” every once in a while!

Expat Lingo

Comic on spitting and shoes

It is amusing how horrified we can be about the behaviors of others, while turning a blind eye to our own horrifying habits.

Spitting is an entrenched habit of many in Mainland China. Entering the elevator in my Chinese high-rise apartment, I was often greeted by a slick of opaque spit in the corner. Fortunately, in my present home of Hong Kong, a SARS-related aversion to germ-spreading has wiped out most public spitting.

A spitter has explained the logic behind the habit to me: essentially, since the air is so polluted and your phlegm captures this pollution, why would you dream of swallowing it? Far more healthy to eject this filth. I can understand the logic. (The logic, however, would still work if a tissue were employed between a person’s mouth and the ground.)

While I have yet to established my own ‘cleansing-through-spitting’ practice, my time in Asia has completely…

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