Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Chocolate, Sperm and Sigmund Freud
There are some foods which you know are bad for you, but they are just so good, you can't give them up. When life starts to go to pot, when you're down on your luck, certain foodstuffs seem all the more desirable. Think of crying, remembering a lost love, with a massive bar of Galaxy. It's funny with these products; their 'naughtiness' is half the appeal.
Sigmund Freud developed the theory of the Psychosexual Stages of Development, and it is through these stages that a normative child must pass through in order to become a normative adult. If a child is unable to progress from a given stage, it sticks with them into their adult life and leads to symptoms. In this tihnking, if a child is unable to progress out of the Oral Stage, in which the mouth is the focal point for stimulation, they are more inclined to be smokers, to be nail-biters or to be a heavy drinker. What goes in the mouth is the most instant source of gratification.
There are other phases. The Anal Phase develops when a child is being toilet trained, and at this stage, the chief gratification for the infant comes from having a poo, or from stopping themselves from doing so - exerting their control over their own body. The Phallic Stage focuses on the genitals, and the child gets pleasure from touching themselves.
I'll focus on 3 main excessive 'naughty' foods - foods which are considered to be somewhat more than food. The sort of food that you consume whilst slouched on the sofa, relaxed and at peace. Or the sort of food that is respected as a delicacy. This isn't food just to satisfy the need to fill the stomach - they have a more special quality.
Chocolate. Champagne. Oysters.
The rich gloopy thickness of chocolate screams pleasure. Who doesn't want to get a healthy dollop on their finger as they lick the bowl of freshly baked cake? Lovers, if they are inclined to use food in their sexplay, are more likely to use chocolate than any other food.
There are no foods that more resemble poo than chocolate.
Champagne is one of the most culturally value-laden drinks available - it stands for luxury, for wealth, for celebration - for success. In Formula 1, after the victor crosses the finishing line, the first thing that happens is the drivers who come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd go to the podium, where the victor sprays champagne all over his vanquished rivals. When life gets hard, many turn to alcohol - it gives a quick lift, it is predictable, it sends a little shiver down the spine.
Champagne has the same colour and density as piss, and although Champagne is considerably more bubbly, there aren't really any other drinks that resemble piss quite as well.
Oysters. You can probably envisage where this one is going. Oysters are widely esteemed to be the archetypal gastronomical aphrodisiac. The eating of an oyster poses so many questions for etiquette. That strange yolk like consistency makes it difficult to consume - there are few other foods that, in polite company, you are expected to pour directly into your mouth from the shell and maybe even knock your head back. Men in dinner jackets, champagne in one hand, oyster in the other, will slurp down this uncommon food and smile as they wipe of its silvery snail trails from the side of their lips.
Oysters are, comparatively speaking, pretty cum-like. It takes some effort to even prize open the shell, the foreplay of consumption, making the slippery ambrosia that is the reward all the more special.
The naughtiest foods, the ones which for this very reason are everybody's favourites, correspond to our psychosexual hang-ups. The child who gets a little bit too much pleasure from forcing out a poo on the potty can be found 20 years later licking chocolate body paint from their partner's torso. The child who sat with their hand down their trousers too often, can be found 20 years later putting up the pretence of being dignified in polite, sexually inhibited company, as they drink the symbolic nectar of their old genital fixations - champagne and oysters.