Tuesday, November 29, 2005

do i have a complex?

Ever since my brother and sister discovered they could get a reaction out of me by swooshing jelly in their mouths, I have been aware of a certain middle-class squeamishness in my otherwise very earthy and centred personality when it comes to mouth noises and eating, or rather, failing to eat. I am not squeamish about vomit, particularly, though I can't say I'm a fan. I am not even that squeamish about spit, although I don't love that either. What freaks me out is (1) excessive slurpy eating noises and (2) food on the face, particularly when promoted as evidence of deliciousness. (1) came home to me yesterday when I was spending what looks like it's going to be a lo-o-o-o-o-ong time reading microfilm in the library; a woman who has also been there for the last two days really went to town on an apple (in the library, that is, if you please) and I wanted to scream and kill her. I could not imagine worse hell than sitting there having to listen to this apple being masticated and sucked down her horrible waste-disposal gullet. I guess this is a phobia. Even writing it down I can't really remember how bad it was, I just know it was. Of course spending a lot of time with microfilm does put you into a bit of a trance.

(2) comes up on tv a lot. The Dolmio grin, for instance, which is to say, this is a spaghetti sauce out of a jar that you will enjoy so much you will pour it in a trough and stick your head in. More recently there's been some milk flavouring that explores all the possibilities of how you might form shapes on your face with it. I want to die and be sick at the same time. Mia will attest, I have to leave the room when this ad comes on television. There's another one that's all about how frothy some stupid instant coffee is so you get it all over your face.

The true tragedy of my existence is that I can't really explain to you how repulsed I am by these things in the way that would best explain it - by coming up with some similarly disgusting hypotheticals which I know you would find disgusting and then saying 'that's how I feel about food-on-the-face advertising'. Because you would just think I was so foul for bringing up the comparison concepts. Damn it!

Been rereading Clinton Walker's book on Bon Scott. Probably my third time. I really like the book, though I was never that much of an AC/DC fan. I have a couple of their albums, and they're OK. I always liked the singles. This time around I noticed that Clinton seems to be hinting at a lot of things, he's being simultaneously diplomatic and veiled, I kind of admire it but I'll have to ask him sometime outright about these things. I'm not going to say what they are because (1) they might be common knowledge, in which case I'd seem dumb (2) they might not be true, in which case I'll seem dumb.

I've also been reading David Lodge, Peter Mathers, Renee Geyer and Germaine Greer. Yep, the big four.


boy said...

Granny Smiths are unseasonably crispy at the moment. A slight echo in every crunch.

Kat said...

I had an unpleasant weekend with in-laws in terms of food, so I typed "+repulsed +by +eating +noises" into Google this morning - your blog was first on the list. I'm too cheap to see a therapist, so thought I'd commisserate with someone similarly afflicted. Like you, I am not squeamish. And like you, I am intolerant of mouth noises and visible food on/in eaters' faces. It's more than that though - a viscous polymer coats my throat from the uvula on down, I lose my appetite completely and become enraged. It has taken me almost a year to be able to sit through a meal with my now 19 month old. I had to find other things to do around the kitchen while she ate. Don't even get me started on my niece and nephew (3 & 5 yrs. old) whose parents have made very little effort to "guide the experience" of eating. Their mother is afraid to induce an eating disorder by drawing attention to lousy manners (my personal favorite being the art of cramming a handful of food into the mouth with little reagrd with how much actually hits the target while the other hand is loaded and on deck). My child tries, she just lacks coordination and is improving. Due to my father-in-law's talent for continuing to breathe snuffily through his nose while chewing, swallowing and talking (with food in his mouth), I cannot eat if I am seated next to him at meals. I nearly always am, though. I have resorted to rearranging the name cards so I am seated next to my husband at the other end of the table. Lastly, I am disuaded form eating in a restaurant if I happen to catch a glimpse of someone with any of the above habits.


It is such an unanticipated visceral reaction. My husband and I were talking about it last night as he wanted a better understanding. He asked if I couldn't just be annoyed and then ignore it. I have tried, but it takes over and I can't fight it. My children are nearly past the phase of needing suggestions at the table. In our home, we all enjoy food and conversation at a liesurely pace. I'm wondering if, at some level, I am responding to what I perceive to be a lack of respect for the food that has been prepared and the guests in company ... a lack of grace.

Hmmm. Probably more than you cared to hear. I may keep looking for assistance because it is truly is becoming a distraction from my ability to enjoy food in the company of others.