Sunday Tittle Tattle: Spit and Nipples

Two things happened last week that require some discussion. Actually, they don’t need to be discussed at all; if anything, they are the sort of thing that a normal person absolutely would not discuss, but both events troubled me and left an (admittedly tiny) scar upon my day.

Both things were borderline mortifying for very different reasons. The first thing was that someone managed to land their spittle inside my nostril. They spoke, they spat, and the resulting saliva fleck somehow projected itself from their mouth to the wall of my nasal passage. I don’t quite know how this happened as the person who spittled (spattled?) at me (completely accidentally I hasten to add) was standing and I was sitting, therefore they were positioned high above me. If anything, the spittle should have landed on the top of my head, or even – at a push – the tip of my nose, but no: it managed to fly downwards towards my mouth and then, at the last second, it did a complete u-turn and shot up my nostril.

The only feasible explanation for this phenomenon is that I must have breathed in sharply through my nose at the very moment the fleck of saliva passed by. I suppose that it is entirely possible that this would occur, especially if my subconscious had sensed that some spit was making its way towards my upper lip – the thought of such impending horror would have no doubt sent my body into emergency shut-down mode.

I have a thing about other people’s spit touching me. Don’t we all. But it’s not just a thing, it’s a problem. I can deal with kids’ poo under my fingernail or kids’ vom in my hair, I can wipe old wee-wee up from behind the toilet and even clean the plughole in the kitchen by plucking out all of those retch-making food morsels that are both unidentifiable and identical by the time you go to retrieve them. I can do all of these things, but I can’t cope with bits of spit on me. (Or bean juice – cold bean juice is almost on a par.) I just imagine it to be a fluid so germ-packed it’s writhing with viruses and disease – a broth so rich in unfamiliar bacteria that I am certain to get ill.

Also, spittle is just generally gross – I know we all have it and that it’s normal, I just want it to stay within the mouth. I don’t like it when it jumps out during conversation, I dislike it when it drools out when I fall asleep before the aeroplane has even taken off and I’m on the front row. I even hate it in films where they do tongues kissing and you can hear all the spit exchanging. No thanks – the ideal situation would be if you could French Kiss with one of those dentist’s suction tubes inserted into one or both (or more!) of the participating mouths.

So anyway, I mnaged to inhale someone’s spit but because I couldn’t move my hands (separate story) the droplet had to stay there for approximately thirty-three seconds. Thirty three long, excruciating seconds where the coldness of the spit seemed to bore into my skin as though it was corroding the lining of my nasal passage. Could I feel a sizzle? Was my epidermis disintegrating? Was that the smell of burning nasal hair? Honestly, that half minute passed as slowly as a camping weekend.

Eventually my hands were freed (this whole scenario sounds as though I was performing in a dodgy bondage film, I was, in fact having my hair and makeup done for a beauty ad shoot and my nails were being painted); my hands were freed and I was at liberty to remove the spittle, but by this time it had dried and I couldn’t make out the exact place it had landed. I toyed with the idea of swishing a bit of sanitiser about in there but after a mishap with a roller ball perfume (aged eight) and the subsequent culling of around 30% of my nasal hairs, I decided to let things be. If I get the flu, though, you know where it came from…

The other thing that happened was that my nipples decided to erect themselves, on set, and they wouldn’t go down. Many of you reading will have had this problem at one time or another – it’s not something that usually bothers me; they’re nipples, they get hard, whatever – but I can tell you that it’s quite the different kettle of fish if they go hard and you’re on camera. Especially if it’s a moving image. Those niplets, in all of their glory, are right there on screen forever and ever.

Why it’s even an issue, I have no idea – perhaps it’s not for other people, maybe it’s just my own paranoia,  but I think I have bad memories of my teenage years when older boys used to point at girls’ nipples if they were erect. It was mortifying to the point that a lot of us wore bras with huge amounts of padding in them. And not just for the uplift.

Anyway, once I had noticed that there was something afoot in the chest department (I was applying face cream into a mirror, cameraman on one side, producer on another, lighting man above me) I just couldn’t seem to will them back down into submission. (The nips, not the men!) The more I thought about them (nips) the more they stuck out. And the more they faffed around (men) the more time the nips had to draw in and hold onto what seemed to be all of the blood that had previously been circulating my torso, head and upper limbs.

I mean they must have been the size of a pair of salt and pepper mills by the end of it. The big restaurant ones. I have no idea what triggered it all off, either – true, there were many, many bearded Frenchmen wandering about in low-slung jeans, looking a bit moody, but I’ve been in that situation before and have managed not to look as though I’ve just been fluffed. In fairness, the breeze through the open window was on the stiff side and bra I was wearing was both unfamiliar and unusual in texture. Slightly rough. Tickly. Not the ideal combo for one’s decorum.

Good God, I hope my Mum’s not reading this – it’s all a bit sexual today. Wasn’t supposed to be – it’s spittle and a nipple erection issue – but things seem to have descended the slippery slope to depravity once more.

On a lighter note, I picked up two very good makeup tips whilst sat in the makeup chair – expect them in a video soon. I must say, French makeup artists do have an excellent way with foundation. A certain way of layering base products that just gives the most fresh, believable finish. I mean, there are makeup artists all over the world who also have this knack (really, any good makeup artist will be preoccupied with perfecting their base) but every time I go back to Paris and have my makeup done, I’m impressed by their attention to detail and finickity fastidiousness when it comes to creating beautiful skin. I’ll have a play and report back…

PostScript: the image I’ve used at the top of this post was taken last summer and has nothing at all to do with the words I’ve written, but I couldn’t find a (recent) picture of my erect nipples or, indeed, a photograph of some spittle landing up my nostril. So you’re stuck with this one, which has my boobs in it and also my nostrils. It’ll have to do.

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  1. Cathy
    December 18, 2018 / 12:44 am

    Oh Ruth, I genuinely had to stop reading this post between 4-6 times because I was laughing so so hard my eyes wouldn’t open, sounds weirder than I hoped, but it makes sense to me. Already forwarded the link to a few friends who would be 100% be Team “spittle free” – should such a team exist! Much love, and Merry Christmas ❤️

  2. Catherine
    December 17, 2018 / 7:27 pm

    I once heard someone describe erect nipples as being like “chapel hat pegs “ and I’ve never forgotten it!

  3. Laura
    December 17, 2018 / 1:57 pm

    Ah I am actually really glad you wrote this post as it has reassured me that, post breastfeeding, nipples do actually go back down! I’ve been breastfeeding for a year and my nipples are literally never flat. I was going to say “never not erect”, but erect isn’t even the word I would use – more just permanently sucked outwards! So now I can breathe a massive sigh of relief. Thank you!

  4. Tracy Patil
    December 17, 2018 / 10:18 am

    Yeah that is pretty disgusting, you have a fantastic way with words!! Hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas x

  5. Marjorie
    December 17, 2018 / 5:20 am

    So funny, Ruth !
    My uncle once admitted to accidentally spitting rice across the table at a dinner party … grains landed on his neighbor’s face, who seemed unfazed, so was clearly unaware of what had just happened. Uncle Billy was torn whether or not to tell the poor guy, but decided against it, even though it became increasingly difficult to actually look at him and converse. Bad decision, Billy and gross

  6. Mudra Mukherjee
    December 17, 2018 / 3:54 am

    Oh dear! This is perfect.

  7. Claire N
    December 17, 2018 / 3:22 am

    Most random post ever, haha! I have rather, erm, prominent nipples that stick out no matter what so I have to wear padded bras even when my boobs go up in size. I was forever crossing my arms until I discovered t-shirt bras, it’s just so awkward!

  8. Kim Clark
    December 17, 2018 / 1:18 am

    You just crack me up. I would have gone crazy and used my sleeve or something on that spit maybe even start to scream. But that’s just me!

  9. Lynda
    December 17, 2018 / 1:09 am

    Thanks for the best laugh i’ve had in awhile xx

  10. poorani
    December 16, 2018 / 11:07 pm

    I still silently blame my ever sneezing music teacher for passing on her condition to me when her sneeze particles landed in my nostril 15 years back. She stopped teaching to get a surgery done for it. This post was a hoot!

  11. Farah
    December 16, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    All so relatable and comforting! These are just the sorts of things that get to me as well. So horrifying! I must tell you I have recently discovered Spanx bras. Have you tried these? They have a style with no underwire (hurray!) just a sort of shelf that lifts and are thick enough to cover the perkiest of nipples. They might not be for everyone as they do have a slight football (American) padding vibe but I love them. They protect me from both wild children that tend to fling themselves upon me and nipple embarrassment.

  12. Alex
    December 16, 2018 / 8:57 pm

    This is as hilarious as it is horrifying.

    Isn’t it just the worst when someone accidentally spits at you, and you have to politely avoid drawing attention to it so as not to embarrass the spitter (who may or may not be aware) while immediately scrubbing any traces off with your sleeve. Never use your own hand. Good god, that’s be gross!

    On a different note, I’d really love you to do a post or video guide on how to create a flawless, glowy base, like the French MUAs do.

    A post on the best eye creams/products for dry, winter eyes would be brilliant too!


  13. Lana P
    December 16, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    A colleague that once sat opposite me had an awful cold, they were usually quite sickly and had some sort of cold anyway. They sneezed and ‘wet stuff’ went on my chest, face and hand. I had to wait a minute so it didn’t look obvious then go to the toilet to wash said areas with soap and water as vigorously as I possibly could without bleach!!! I disliked that person intensely from that day and luckily they don’t work with me anymore!! I share your pain of having someone else’s unwanted bodily fluids projected upon your person!!! Not had any issues with hard nips recently though I have to say!

    • December 16, 2018 / 7:20 pm

      I would hate them forever more.

  14. Henriëtte
    December 16, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    Dear Ruth, my stomage hurts from laughing, you are (as Always) so funny with words!! I can see this all happening whilst reading, briliant !! Love you for this, please keep on writing. xxx

  15. Nicky
    December 16, 2018 / 6:05 pm

    I work in a school and had this very issue (nipple variety) during the school photo. I knew that the photo would not only be sent out to all 900 parents but would also adorn the school walks for ever more. As a result I had to squat quite a bit so the head of the teacher in front covered the evidence. Needless to say in future years I will be known as the smallest member of staff ever!

  16. Jackie
    December 16, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    One of my ‘things’ is ear wax, so you can imagine my reaction when my little finger went into a stranger’s ear as I was getting off the tube once. No, I don’t know how it happened either. It was about 5 years ago, the thought of it still makes me shudder.

  17. Sevda
    December 16, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    Love Sunday tittle tattle.

    I got various focal yesterday and am finding them tricky for reading. Did you get yours yet5

  18. December 16, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    Oh, that spit story – I would have been mortified! I once had a partner that when suddenly relaxing after a period of tension (I don’t want to get more precise than that) started to drool and it was absolutely off-putting.

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

    • December 16, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      Hahahah, “period of tension”. I actually love you Anne. x

  19. Barb in Texas
    December 16, 2018 / 12:05 pm

    Oh Ruth, I love that you can ‘talk’ to us about spittal and nipples, and in such a way that I’m laughing out loud at 6am, in bed with a sleeping hubby by my side and trying not to awaken him. I can’t wait for the makeup tips that you will write about and maybe do a tutorial?? I love it when you go from a bare face ( that’s gorgeous without makeup btw) to full on makeup that’s still natural looking and something that we can actually achieve. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your fantastic and glamourous life, even it is does include a little spittal now and then. xxx

    • December 16, 2018 / 2:39 pm

      Cheers Barb, glad you liked it! x

  20. December 16, 2018 / 11:03 am

    I do love the tittle tattle – although the spit story did put me off my cup of tea! It is nuts that women are made to be ashamed of their bodies doing exactly what bodies do! I end up crossing my arms in that I’m-trying-to-look-casual-while-standing-very-uncomfortably-and-in-a-unnatural-way way when my nipples decide to do what nipples do. Do men have to worry about their nips? Not at all.

    And speaking of nipples (sorry Ruth’s mam), why do they give female mannequins nipples?

    • December 16, 2018 / 2:39 pm

      That’s a VERY good point. Point, lol. Why DO they?! x

  21. Lulu
    December 16, 2018 / 9:36 am

    Thanks Ruth, this story reminds me why I love reading your posts. It had been a fairly quiet summery evening here in Melbourne until I found myself rolling around laughing. You’re a joy to be sure.

    • December 16, 2018 / 2:40 pm

      Oh Lulu the weather is TERRIBLE here so I’m very jealous. x

  22. LA
    December 16, 2018 / 9:01 am

    That is indeed how diseases travel, including scary ones like bacterial meningitis — so right to be cautious Ruth! I know as I had that and the only way I can suspect was from hot yoga and breathing in all that germs hot air through my nose! Alas, I no longer do it…

    • December 16, 2018 / 2:41 pm

      Argh! Never been, now I probably never will! : )

  23. Sandie
    December 16, 2018 / 8:20 am

    Oh Ruth, it is gross, you’re not alone in thinking so! I’m a bit paranoid on the tube – I always wear glasses even if I’m not reading! Because somebody once told me that your eyes absorb viral particles so if someone sneezes in your face (and someone probably will do on the tube especially during rush hour!) you are definitely going to catch their cold or flu or nasty diseases… Now I’m sure this must be a myth but I become so concerned about all these millions of rogue droplets floating through the tube carriage, that I automatically reach for my glasses as soon as I get on the train!

    • December 16, 2018 / 2:41 pm

      REALLY?! Well that’s another good reason to wear my glasses more! x

  24. Beth P Sontag
    December 16, 2018 / 8:17 am

    I find this all disgusting young lady!
    Mostly cleaning out the food gunk in the kitchen sink. it makes me gag. I’ll take spittle and nipple erections any day.
    You have a way with words that I love. Thank you.
    Merry Christmas

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