Spitting in public and other annoyances

There are 19 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by serafina.

  • I absolutely hate it when people spit in public, but it seems to be acceptable behaviour here and I was reminded of this habit yesterday when I was filling up with petrol in San Martin.

    A couple of forecourt attendants were chatting in front of me and one of them gobbed quite accurately at the other's feet and moved away to fill up another car. The other came over to fill my tank without batting an eyelid.

    I've seen people hawking up a really substantial gob and simply spitting it in front of them, regardless of collateral damage.

    The so called security guard near our house was in the habit of doing this until I read him the riot act.

    And shouting at all hours, wtf?

    Last night as we had gone to bed at 1130 pm, we were just settling in when I could hear loud talking on the street, on and on and on. So I put my dressing gown on and found the fat guard and our neighbour standing in the middle of the road having a shouted conversation. I told them people were trying to sleep and to please shut the f** up (nicely), which they did.

    The social behaviour of Argentines sometimes astounds me.

    :scratchead:

  • Isn’t it a question of social class norms? You’d never see a professional person or someone attending Teatro Colon spitting. Now the loud conversations might be another thing altogether.

  • Spitting is like smoking - once was in fashion, now not anymore.

    I personally loathe spitting and get annoyed if I see someone spitting and plainly offended is someone spit next to my shoe. But I realize that in Argentina it is my problem.


    Older public transport had a spitter (?) to keep the floor clean.


    sputacchiera.jpg


    And it was also a fashionable (?) accessory for the living room


    sputacchiera1.jpg

  • No way! Isn’t that metal gizmo what the butler uses, to empty ashtrays and transport the ashes to the scullery?


    That’s how our butler uses it. If we caught him spitting in it, he’d be reduced to the rank of footman.

  • I actually wrote a paper on this for the psychology class in my degree. Spitting is something men (typically young men) do as a kind of posturing, or more accurately as placing a physical barrier between them and something else. This is the reason if you see one man walk past a group of other men, they may spit when getting close and when actually passing the group. Follow that man for five minutes after passing group and they may not spit again.


    Now whether this due to an actual physical release to remove the stress of a situation or simply a marker of false dominance. Either way for the most part it comes from men and comes from insecurity. If you see a man walking down the street under normal circumstances and spitting everywhere then it is likely they are extremely insecure. A "normal" man may only spit in scenarios like I mentioned above when facing a group of men. Those in control of their insecurities (none of us are ever really secure) will not spit in any circumstance.


    Interestingly, this is why spitting was so associated with lower classes and to a degree still is. Men in these social circumstances face situations where posturing is perhaps neccesary more often. These men would also be more likely to feel insecure in regular situations like walking down the street, which is why teenagers tend to spit a lot.


    By the way, I played football for years. I completely understand why footballers feel the need to spit on the field. There's something about that sport (and rugby) that creates a lot of saliva in the mouth. It would requre research to know if spitting was needed or if they are posturing. I also played tennis and never felt the need to spit despite the similar levels of activity.

  • Indeed, that's a very astute observation Semigoodlooking and I had never considered the posturing angle.

    As for spitting during sports, it's hard to avoid sometimes when you're really exerting yourself and one wonders if many sports stars are advised to keep it to a minimum, considering how they are closely scrutinised on TV today.

  • As for spitting during sports, it's hard to avoid sometimes when you're really exerting yourself and one wonders if many sports stars are advised to keep it to a minimum, considering how they are closely scrutinised on TV today.

    Baseball players have raised it to an art form

  • Semigoodlooking , would you say that spitting can be a form to discharge stress by emulating the suction a newborn does while sucking milk?

    I used to have a colleague who, under stress, did a a sort of of movement with his mouth, alike to a suction. He did it as a way to gather his thoughts before speaking, when he was in difficulties. I have always thought it recalled the suction of a baby to his mother's breast, so this sort of nervous tic had a distressing function, imho.

  • Semigoodlooking , would you say that spitting can be a form to discharge stress by emulating the suction a newborn does while sucking milk?

    I used to have a colleague who, under stress, did a a sort of of movement with his mouth, alike to a suction. He did it as a way to gather his thoughts before speaking, when he was in difficulties. I have always thought it recalled the suction of a baby to his mother's breast, so this sort of nervous tic had a distressing function, imho.

    It's an interesting observation and I would have to research it. However, it seems logical doesn't it? In fact, I could take a logical leap and say it links with the element of insecurity some men feel. What I mean is there is enough evidence to at least debate that some men are still attached to the mother in a child-like way throughout life. Perhaps spitting is not recalling or emulating a past action but instead seeking that action in that moment of insecurity.


    i.e. Men tend to spit out of insecurity and that insecurity makes them want their mother's breast (an inate memory links the suckling to the most secure they have ever been). If not for social convention, how many men would be racing to the tit at the slightest sign of insecurity?


    Whether I am rambling or theorizing I don't know, but I am going to research it more.

  • Certainly, I am not making a great discovery. I read some psychology books in my teens and somehow that observations about seeking reassuring actions stuck.

    Are you practicing, @semigoodllooking?

  • I need to agree with splinter...... absolutely horrible to watch people unloading their saliva!!!!


    In the places I live in Europe, very often the Muslim people do it to show their unhappiness or disrespect.....

    If you Google spitting, you will get a lot info about if it's considered a nice gesture or not.....it's not!!!! Mainly because back in time it could be a health hazard.

    Here in Buenos Aires I must say I have not been that often confronted with it.....except the times when people open the car door in traffic and unload a nice green jelly ...pfuiiii discusting to watch.

    I remember back in time when visiting China, it was very common and still is.....everybody do it!


    When you do sport its nearly impossible not to do it, but of course you try to do it in a civilized way and not in front of anyone.


    I think it's an educational problem and really have to do with bad manners and people never been told by their mommies how to behave. Same as leaving trash all around even that there is a trash can near by.... unbearable to watch!!! As is, not collecting your dogs poop, going for red light, not stopping for pedestrians and and and ....

    Back in time I would try to to tell people, but I never got any support from other people on the street, f.ex. to pick up their dog poop.....people would look at me like I would be the crazy one!

    You cannot teach an old dog new tricks, forget it!!!!

  • We used to spend a lot of time in Hong Kong, and were told that spitting was simply part of the culture, not just in China but in other Asian cultures. A British professor even studied the phenomenon.


    How or whether all of this relates to non-Asian cultures, I have no clue. Just thought I’d toss it into the mix.

  • The Chinese do indeed have a reputation for spitting. I've been to China several times during winter time....-15c during the day when I was in Beijing. In their defence from what I witnessed many Chinese seem to suffer from chest problems. I did hear an awful lot of coughing and clearing of throats although most used handkerchiefs to spit into rather than the pavement. Maybe the authorities have clamped down on spitting to stop spreading disease?

  • [quote='Splinter','https://www.argentinaexpats.org/forum/index.php?thread/1945-spitting-in-public-and-other-annoyances/&postID=12985#post12985']

    Spitting isn't sucking; quite the opposite in fact, and I don't see any connection to breast feeding whatsoever.

    It's a kind of alpha male habit often connected with those of a lower social standing who, as far as I can see, use it to mark their territory.

    [/quote]

    Spitting is not sucking but many lip/mouth stimulations have a calming/distressing effect.
    Like thumb sucking in babies, chewing on a pen cap, biting one own’s lip, protrude one or both lips, etc.



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  • The Chinese do indeed have a reputation for spitting. I've been to China several times during winter time....-15c during the day when I was in Beijing. In their defence from what I witnessed many Chinese seem to suffer from chest problems. I did hear an awful lot of coughing and clearing of throats although most used handkerchiefs to spit into rather than the pavement. Maybe the authorities have clamped down on spitting to stop spreading disease?

    Exactly! While subsequent studies have shown little if any connection between spitting on the street and the transmission of diseases, I think the Chinese govt’s campaign to promote that thought has yielded beneficial results.

  • Are you practicing, @semigoodllooking?

    No, I started a mechinical engineering degree straight out of school but left after six months. Returned to uni a year later and started a psychology degree but left after two years (my grandmother was a psycologist so I grew up with it). Didn't ultimately want to pursue it as a career so I ditched it, went travelling for a couple of years and then went back to university and completed a degree in creative and professional writing with philosophy, finally understanding that I could study what I really loved and leverage it into a career. I always believed I needed to study what would easily make me money, hence the ill-fated attempt at mechanical engineering.


    My wife is just about to complete here pschology degree in 2020.


    Because I never completed the degree or took it further, I am more of a psycology fan than an expert (not that everyone with a degree is neccesarily an expert).

  • That’s quite a switch, but I get where you come from. I studied engineering for that very reason. I am considering the idea of studying translation here, but a 4 year mandatory attendance make it too long a commitment for me (considering I’d be only studying one language, while elsewhere you study two in three years.



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