Love Gum?

This evening in the Old Bar at Leeds University Union I couldn’t help staring with partial disgust at this guy leaning against the bar who was chewing gum so ferociously for about twenty minutes, as if giving everyone a very animated yet mute monologue, leaving me wondering whether he had a mechanical oral disability that I had never come across before.

Chewing gum is quite an interesting issue really. It can play a miniscule role in our identities, perhaps you never buy it, perhaps you are faithful to a specific brand, some people support blue or green Extra like a dedicated football fan – bursting into mock offence and patriotism if they witness somebody buying their opposed colour.

Chewing gum is glamorised as slightly rebellious since we are brought up being told off and cussed by teachers for having it. My mum’s boyfriend once told me that if I swallowed a piece of chewing gum it would wrap around my heart and I would die! I once offered a piece of gum to a girl who instantly quipped “oh, haven’t you grown out of it yet?”, because back then aged 15 she had made the image-conscious decision that gum was ‘like so lame’. Once my friend Rob told someone with great vigour that only tw*ts take two bits of gum at once, deliberately just after that person had put two pieces into their mouth.

It is certainly incredible to glance across a pedestrianised shopping street and just take in how much gum is stuck to the ground. I know from experience when I worked in a bar at The Savoy in Nottingham that gum is a PAIN to scrape off.

The US military gives gum to troops since it relieves their stress and help soldiers to think. Jolt Gum is a brand which contains caffeine and is sold to more than 35,000 military tuck shops worldwide. Gum probably makes homosexual kissing easier for soldiers to adapt to when these liberal and confused gender-blind scenarios inevitably arise out in the desolute jungles and desert camps.

I once bought gum quite religiously as a school boy. Although I often still find myself helping myself to my friends’ packets of gum, I only buy it myself now if I need to make myself eligible for cash-back in a shop. It comes in handy after an all-night party or plane flight if your toothbrush isn’t to hand. However, visibly chewing it makes one look a bit primitive and stupid, like that guy in Old Bar.


Words: Jack Cullen

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