Meg was listening to another one of her fake boyfriends the other day (NPR’s Tom Ashbrook) and his topic was disgust. Naturally, because she can’t help herself, Meg perked up and tuned in to see what things truly brought shivers down the spines of average citizens. She knows she cannot be alone in some of her top revulsions, so she her interest was piqued by everyone else’s Fear Factor.
By definition, these are the three components of disgust:
1) Core disgust: the “core” of the emotion, which is about defending the mouth from contamination by dirty or inappropriate things like body excretions, certain animals like rats and cockroaches, and certain foods, like ice cream with ketchup.
2) Animal-reminder disgust: things involving death, corpses, and violations of the external boundaries of the body, such as amputations. These things remind us that we, like animals, are mortal.
3) Contamination disgust: this kind of disgust is a defense of the whole body, not just the mouth, from contact with dirty or sleazy people
Ok, all this stuff is a no-brainer, so let’s get to all the weird stuff. So we hate rotting garbage and people that hoard, but did you ever hear of someone that hates buttons? Meg is trying to picture how someone could live without the benefits of a crisp button-down shirt with their navy blue blazer? That concept simply escapes her. She has a pink shirt with soft white stripes and pearl buttons, and LOVES wearing it.
The only thing that could make Meg hate wearing that shirt is if she has to eat lunch with someone that is a condiment fiend. Have you met one? My sister in law and her clan insist on piling everything Meg has in her fridge on the delightful burgers she grills. I think great meat, yummy cheese and a brioche bun is the cat’s pajamas and just add some red onion and tomato, thankyouverymuch.
But no, they ask for mustard, ketchup, and MAYO. All three. The most egregious being MAYO:
So God help Meg, she has to leave the room when they eat. If she sits there, she starts to gag and heave and find herself running for a bathroom. No matter how she steels herself, she cannot sit at the same table. And no, averting her gaze doesn’t work. She knows all the condiments sitting there.
According to “That’s Disgusting” author Rachel Herz, if your disgust phobia starts young in life and continues, you most likely will never conquer the yuck factor. One young lady talked about her fear of things with holes, likes sponges and swiss cheese. That made me feel kind of good as I thought about my next phobia, the fried egg:
Young Meg remembers fleeing the breakfast table crying because someone was trying to make her eat a fried egg. Ever since the early sixties, she has remained steadfast that this is the most disgusting meal ever.
Oh and don’t get her started when summer comes, because she’ll go all crazy when she sees one of these:
Right, I know it’s just a grasshopper, but if some little boy throws one at you when you are in grade school, you’re done for life. From time to time Meg occasionally has seen one on her deck, and do you know what she does? She gets a snow shovel out of her garage and slams the grasshopper into oblivion.
She would also love to slam frogs into submission:
Did you ever have to CATCH YOUR OWN FROG for a high school dissection experiment? Raise your hand? I actually conned someone into catching the atrocious amphibian, but I still had to cut it open. I rest my case on that one.
Meg went on to take a disgust test and here were the results:
Meg’s scores are in green, so it would appear she scores higher than average on the contamination portion of the survey, no surprise there. Feel free to take your own disgust tolerance survey at the University of Virginia website, and see how you stack up.
And Meg would love to know, what disgusts you?