Acquired Taste: Psychology 101

Its all about acquired taste. What is an “acquired taste”? It means getting habituated with an unknown thing. Here things could stand for a type of food, like an Indian eating “Durian” or an European eating “lychee or jackfruit”, a Bengali having “idly” or Kannadigas having “chholar dal”, a British having “postor bora” or an Indian having “liver pate” or “cow tongue”. Or a Bengali having Nagaland “dog n cat” and a Nagaland having “Tel koi”.

If it is a smell it will be like getting used to heady Gardenia, dry fish curry, long time partner’s socks or horny hubba hubba scent of his armpits, or a fallen family start to live in a slum and get used to the open drain with its blue black glossy sludge and a dead puppy in it. Or in a govt. hospital sharing a room with a fellow patient with a gangrene foot – the soon to be amputee.

Acquired taste in the matter of tactile arena is a boss or a colleague who is the kindest gentlest soul on earth never forgets to put his hand on your back, just over the bra strap the hand lingers a few seconds more, but as he is the kindest gentlest soul on earth you acquire taste in his touch. A man calls you a saggy breasted ugly bald smelly woman, but you have no option but still to be honored with his touch on your ugly face, saggy breast. But your baldy head goes on crying during a fever for a motherly touch.

Getting used to hearing and liking it is also very simple. If one has his house on a busy road, initial irritation will soon convert into a “not even noticing anymore” acceptance and banality. Give him a quiet home in the meadow, he will now complain about absence of familiar honking cars.

Acquired taste in seeing is quite similar to smell. One feels comfortable with the sight of his or her baby’s poop in the diaper, or a baby on a dirty cloth lying on a pavement with boiling rice on a open fire just 2 feet away from her, or the overflowing bin at the cross of the road, or dendrite sniffing toddlers and teenagers at the railway station.

Yes, everybody acquires taste. But here i’m not trying to make it a propaganda, agenda, pamphlet to raise awareness. No, man, no. Who the hell am I to do that? My point is this particular phrase, “acquired taste” is an yardstick for intellectuality. And also the moment you say its an acquired taste, it makes you a superior being, people also secretly thinks you are a snob, but the slight elitist patronizing tone if the phrase makes people want to join the group. If I tell somebody “I don’t think you are gonna like it, its an acquired taste”, without a fail, I know they are gonna tell me after few weeks “its awesome, I’m liking it”. It is because if you do not have an acquired taste, you are not intellectual enough. For example, I use Moroccan oil, i first saw its ad on Vogue, there was something about the photo, i just fell in love with it. And i promised to myself Moroccan oil. There is something about the smell, the dark brown bottle, the very name Morocco make me feel very happy. When after a sad day i take a shower, i wash my hair and then i sit in front of my dressing table and i pump this thick heady very unusually scented Moroccan oil on my palm and apply it to my hair, instantly my mood gets uplifted, i feel like a princess in her boudoir, very luxuriant. I told somebody about the oil, and she smelled it, i distinctly remember her nose crinkled. I knew people will generally not gonna like the smell. I was embarrassed, and said i guess its sort of like an acquired taste, it takes times to like it. Few months later i came to know she is loving it, this the best thing in the world, and oh the smell!

So if you need to make somebody like anything that you know they are going to dislike it, just say “I guess its an acquired taste”. This phrase has an appeal that make people like it. Psychology 101.


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