Why Do We Like Gross Things?

Why do we like gross things?

I am not ashamed to say that I like gross things. I don’t like doing gross things. But I like looking at or reading about them. Medical oddities, and stuff like that.

And while I read them, I go, “wow, that’s really gross.”  then I keep on reading the gross thing.

I read the recent Vice story on Chuck Berry’s sick, perverse sex practices, of which he built a vast video library, containing the worst.

I won’t link to it, because I’ll leave it up to you to track it down. I don’t want that responsibility.

But I read the whole thing, said it was “gross” over and over out loud, and sent it to my friends. Who all did the same thing. “Wow this is disgusting,” was repeated throughout my office pod, but we all kept on reading.  I’m sure the Vice article got passed around more often than the bird flu.

I wonder why. And why do gross things enthrall men, but women not so much? I did not send the article to my wife.

Also, is it part of a biological, evolutionary design to be curious about the repulsive? Is it our way of instinctively needing to know what’s bad, in order to underline what’s good? If I am fascinated enough about a pigeon flattened by a truck to turn it over with a stick, is that because I yearn to appreciate a healthy pigeon?

No. I hate pigeons.

I don’t know why I like sick things. But I do know that I went back and read the Chuck Berry piece again – much like a dog returns to his vomit, or a person re-sniffs a carton of sour milk. 

Then I say to myself, “that’s gross.”  And I read it once again.

But I will never eat  fish with a head attached.

That’s gross.

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