Eliza Hurwitz
January 22, 2012 4:07 am

It’s difficult enough for me to have a normal conversation with someone, so adding spit to the mix really makes things difficult – especially as a person who is grossed out by her own spit. Sometimes someone spits on me by accident in the middle of a conversation, and it takes every bit of self-control to not look disgusted, scream or get violent. Luckily, my desire to not appear rude overpowers these sudden onset unkind and abusive impulses. Instead, I’ve turned these urges into positive actions that enable one to wipe the spit off one’s face without detection. So here are some ways to get out of this messy dilemma, while leaving yourself and the offender unscathed.

Pucker Up:

This is for when you feel disgusted and are on the verge of vomiting or making an extremely unflattering expression. Instead, make your face look kind and inviting as you pucker up your lips, as if you are about to kiss someone. Open your eyes wide and make them look like they are smiling. This expression is close to disgust, so it should come naturally to you. Your duck-like look will hopefully prompt the spitter to ask why you’re making that strange face. To which you can reply, “I ate a lemon earlier and a piece is stuck in my tooth. It’s sour. I’m in pain. Get me a water.” Smiling eyes are a must here since you are asking for something and don’t want to seem too needy. Then, when the spitter runs off to get you water, you can wipe down your face. Feel free to also ask for a soda, or a novelty beverage like Diet Sunkist. Novelty beverages, since they aren’t sold in every grocery store or pharmacy, are a good choice when you feel like you need more time to wash off your face. This performance not only hides your disgust, it also allots you ample alone time to get the spit off of you. Bonus: it also gets you a free beverage.

However, please be prepared to hold that pucker for a while; sometimes people get so wrapped up in a story that they may not notice the face you’re making. So, if you don’t have strong facial muscles, I suggest working them out at home.

Open Wide:

When you feel as if you want to scream in disgust, I’ve discovered a good thing to do is to turn that outrage into surprise and open your mouth as wide as humanly possible, as if you are nearly in shock. Actually, you may very well be shocked at this person’s apparent inability to talk without spitting. But you need to make your surprised look even more extreme, so that it will grab the attention of the spitter. You’ll want your mouth to be wide-open, eyes slightly narrowed, as if you are confused, and flare your nostrils slightly. In order for this expression to look believable, think of a life-altering, earth-shattering moment, such as the moment you found out that Jon Bon Jovi died and then later found out that he didn’t die. Now, you may look funny, but this will compel your friend to ask you what’s wrong, and you can then say something along the lines of, “I completely forgot about something really exciting and important. I don’t remember what it is. I’m losing my mind and now I’m sweating profusely. I’ll just wipe my face down.”

Again, if you feel like you need more time to rid yourself of the spit and your disgust, then feel free to ask for a novelty beverage.

Let it Out:

If you are an angry person, or if you’re just having an emotionally tiring day and are suffering from an irresistible impulse to hit or punch the spitter I suggest turning your anger into affection. You could do this in a couple of different ways. You could describe how this spitter is becoming your closest friend and ally. Then hug them and coyly wipe their spit onto their shirt. If calling the spitter one of your closest friends is too much of a stretch, say that you are falling in love with someone, it could be another friend, an animal, or a nearby inanimate object, just make sure you get emotional enough as you describe it. This way you can say you need a hug, then wipe the spit on their shirt. Feigning love and affection not only allows you to rid yourself of spit, but it also allows you to appear warm and sensitive.

If you have trouble letting go of your anger, I suggest taking it out on something else entirely. Suggestions include ubiquitous and unpopular animals like pigeons or squirrels, or a crying baby you met one time. You can even select objects with a negative association, like a stop sign, a rock or pebble that caused you to trip, or an extremely uncomfortable chair that you hate. Whatever you choose, just yell about it for a good five minutes. When you are done with your mini-tantrum, tell your spitting friend that you think you just need a hug. Last but not least, it goes without saying that you should wipe the spit on their shirt.

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