Richard Meltzer 5:01 p.m., Dec. 4
Why are there vomitoriums in theaters? They’re there so patrons can puke if a romantic comedy becomes too sappy.
Commonly called “the voms”, vomitoriums are nothing more than exits and have nothing to do with puking or romantic comedies.
The term comes from Ancient Rome and referred to the exits of The Coliseum. At the conclusion of an event, all fifty thousand spectators could exit The Coliseum in about fifteen minutes. The theory is that it appeared The Coliseum was vomiting people.
Furthermore, there were no vomitoriums used for vomit in Rome at all. The myth came from the writings of Cicero and a failed attempt to assassinate Julius Caesar. After dinner, instead of going to the bathroom, where the assassins were waiting, he went to his room and vomited.
The metaphor of the Coliseum vomitoriums along with a story of the most famous Roman vomiting after diner has led us to believe the Romans routinely ate until they vomited and installed vomitoriums to accommodate their habit.
Sorry, myth busted.
I did bump into something called emetophilia which is responding to vomit or vomiting with sexual arousal. Who knew.
More like this:
- Dusty Rhodes Puke — April 23, 2012
- Incurable Romantics — Feb. 9, 2011
- Rome (in a Day) — March 24, 2010
- Top 50 Historic San Diego Concerts Ever 1925 to 2009, more — Dec. 29, 2008
- Imagination Dominated by Spectacles of Violence and Hysteria — March 4, 1993