Is Persistent Swigging of Bottled Water in Public a New Oral Fixation?

This morning, as I was catching up on the latest news, I saw a very short clip of Howard Dean repeatedly swigging on a bottle of water as he was surrounded by a group of people talking to him. This immediately brought to mind the many clips of Barack Obama swigging on bottled water as he stood before various crowds of supporters.

Now anyone not aware of the current political incorrectness of smoking has to have been caught in a time warp of galactic proportions. Even so, it never really was politically correct to smoke in public or at public functions where you were the center of attention. FDR did have his cigarettes on his long cigarette holder and John Kennedy had his cigars which he probably enjoyed in private while also enjoying the comfort of his rocking chair.

Now we have a new breed of politicians who apparently think it’s appropriate or cool to have a bottle stuck in their mouth as they face the public.

I don’t know ( an expression of disdain).

Is that really cool?

I understand that drinking water is a process of re-hydrating the body, but, do we really need to be exposed that that function so frequently ( or at all ) any more than we need to be exposed to them relieving themselves of excess water?

Sure. I know that it’s a time honored tradition for a glass and a pitcher of water to be present at the podium or on a table for a speaker, but I always thought that was for the purpose of relieving a dry mouth from speaking or caused by a certain degree of anxiety created by appearing in public and not intended as a constant accoutrement like a pacifier. Maybe I’m wrong.

It’s not like they just finished running twelve miles and are dripping sweat … excuse me, perspiring, … while decked out in their sweats ( as in sweat suit … or perspiration suit … whatever).

In the era of the Internet and Google, asking questions like this is always an educational experience. I had no idea that a popular singer named Shakira had done an “Oral Fixation Tour” which is now on DVD … like all you Shakira fans don’t already know that since the DVD is sold out. Duhhh!!!

Getting back to what I was thinking about … (I wonder why she called it the “Oral Fixation Tour”.)

Okay. That didn’t work. Let’s try … “thumb sucking oral fixation”. Google that!!

Wow!! That did it!

Thumb sucking turned out to be … too pediatric … I think. I got a whole page of “How to stop your child from sucking his/her thumb”. Well, maybe that wasn’t too far off.

Paydirt … nail biting, pencil (or pen) chewing, chewing gum, etc.

The English have a great sense of humor. I thought this post was hilarious.
Just don’t tell me I’ve got an oral fixation.

Freud put sexual connotations to everything and referred to the earliest stage of life (0 to one year) as the “oral phase”(1) where the mouth is the principal focus of pleasure involving feeding, etc. in the early, passive phase followed by a more aggressive late phase which might involve biting.

Thumb sucking (2) is a continuation of the oral phase beyond the first year of life which usually (and hopefully) diminishes and ends by the fifth or sixth year of life. It is described as the result of and is stated to usually occur when the child is “tired, upset, or emotionally insecure”. When manifested with increasing frequency, into the school years, (or beyond), it is considered pathologic and a sign of continuing oral dependent traits and “insecurity”.

Interesting. Maybe I was too quick to dismiss thumbsucking.

As previously mentioned, nail biting, pen or pencil chewing and chewing gum are additional manifestations of an oral fixation along with thumbsucking which have their basis in possibly pathologic and abherent extentions of the oral dependent period of infancy.

The question posed is, “Is persistent swigging on bottled water a manifestation of an oral fixation?”

Therefore, do Barack Obama and Howard Dean have manifestations of emotional insecurity exhibited by their occasional but frequently noted public swigging on bottled water?

What do you think?


1. Solomon P, Patch VD et al. “Child Psychiatry, Childhood Development”. Handbook of Psychiatry (3rd Ed.), 1974: p.523.
2. Ibid. “Thumbsucking”: p. 530


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