Here I was, about to walk into a cafe with my boyfriend when I stopped.
I have to find a bin before we eat, I told him. He was puzzled, but indulged me. Sure, let’s find a bin, he said.
Upon throwing my unappetising and well-chewed piece of gum into the bin, he looked at me, his brows a little furrowed, and asked me why I didn’t just swallow the gum before eating lunch. Why did I feel the need to go out of my way to find a bin?
This face was about the only thing I had the strength to muster:
Did he just say…swallow? And risk the gum getting stuck in my lungs and staying in my system for the next seven years?
You can’t just swallow gum. That’s like the first thing you’re told when you come out of the womb: Welcome to the world, this is your dad, your mum, look before you cross the road and don’t swallow chewing gum.
… Isn’t it? Or had I just internalised a myth I’d been fed as a four-year-old and proceeded to live my life by it?
Perhaps. So I enlisted the help of Dr Dasha Fielder of Sapphire Family Medical Practice in Bondi Junction to settle my wackiest chewing gum questions.
First up, am I justified for wanting to find a bin to spit chewing gum out, or should I save everyone time and just swallow the thing?
“Swallowing gum is certainly not recommended,” she told me. (Ha!)
“It’s a really difficult substance for your body to digest and I wouldn’t say it’s a good thing for you to do. However, there are are a lot of misconceptions about what swallowing gum actually does to your body.”
I have no doubt she was referencing my strident and perhaps miscalculated belief that the gum really would get stuck in my lungs and live there for seven years. (In hindsight, yes, it does make very little scientific sense, but I blame my mum for that.)