At the tender age of 14 my best friend Alison and I decided that the time had come to master the blow job. Yes, young, I know. But we didn’t want practical, hands-on (or mouth-on) experience, we just wanted to know what to do in case the occasion ever arose that we would have to lose our respective oral innocence and take the plunge. Walk the plank. Head (sorry) into uncharted territory. Technically, we wanted to improve our fellatio IQ. We were certain that, some day in the future, we would be, uh, tested, if you will.

One humid summer afternoon, slightly embarrassed and rather unsure of ourselves, we snuck into Alison’s kitchen and came out armed with produce. Bananas and carrots, we found, fit the bill for our purposes; they were the right shape (more or less), and we could tailor the length to our preferences. Plus, we were hungry and wanted a low-fat and enjoyable snack.

Convulsing in laughter, partly because of the hilarity of the situation and partly because of embarrassment, we kneeled at the side of Alison’s bed. We laid a very instructive Cosmopolitan magazine out in front of us, to, uh, direct traffic, and we sucked produce like it was our job. We criticized each other’s performance, rating one another on various categories that we had formulated beforehand — endurance, strength, originality and creative use of body parts. It was like the blow job Olympics, only it wasn’t televised, and we didn’t quite have a live audience yet. But we were certainly working up to that point — slowly and steadily.

Due to a short bout with bulimia, Alison could put almost a full banana down her throat. Perplexed by the magnitude of her accomplishment, I asked her to help me with my own technique. It was at this moment, surrounded by peels of various sorts, with bananas thrust down our throats, that Alison’s mother walked in. Needless to say, she was puzzled at WHY we were doing all this eating on Alison’s bedroom floor and asked who would lick a carrot before she ate it anyway? We had no answer. She quickly concluded half-heartedly that we probably wouldn’t be too hungry for dinner. We weren’t.

Years later, when I was no longer on Alison’s floor, I realized that although helpful, produce does not prepare one for the crucial blow job moment. Let’s be honest — when was the last time a carrot ejaculated on you at the salad bar?

Thus, as Hamlet does, I say, to spit or not to spit? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the sour tastes of a thousand sperm or to bring a cup, and take arms against a sea of troubles–

I am an avid swallow supporter. (Wow. My popularity rating just skyrocketed with the male demographic.) I figure that swallowing is like taking cough syrup. Sure it’s a little painful at first, but eventually the taste will go away, and it’s pure lovin’ from then on.

Surprisingly, I found that eight times out of 10, Yalies agree with me on this point. Especially males. When asked, most replied that this question should not even be addressed. It was a non-issue. Swallowing, they all said, is clearly where it’s at. Some even thought it was an honor to swallow (I swear).

“Our bodies have been working to produce that stuff all day long,” a pre-med student said. “You’re getting some really good nutrients; I mean, we’re giving you our best and our brightest.”

You’re right. You have superstar cum.

I asked one blow job aficionado about the calorie question. This has secretly always been a concern of mine. If I’m playing for team salad, I don’t want to lose points with my extracurricular activities. Soothing my worries, he vehemently asked me to dispel the myth about the extraordinary number of calories per serving. Cum is actually surprisingly low-calorie as well as chock full of vitamin E, which just happens to be great for your skin. What a relief!

Despite my personal opinion about the matter, spit is still a choice made by those who take the road less traveled. Thus, it certainly merits being addressed.

Spitting, I’ve found is quite an extravagant operation. It adds accessories to foreplay: a cup, a towel, and something to wipe your mouth with (perhaps a wet-nap?). These items comprise what we might call a “spit kit.” They may be easy to round up beforehand if you know that a little somethin’ somethin’ might be taking place. Yet, imagine a situation in which play pops up out of the blue. It is not always easy to procure these items at short notice. I highly doubt that a spit kit of any kind would fit into an evening bag during a night on the town (or at SAE — whatever). Regardless, a purse made expressly for the storage of lipstick, money, cell phone and keys is not about to accommodate a bath towel and dinnerware — it’s hard enough shoving a pack of gum in there.

Aside from arguments about convenience, taste and fat content, there were two rather interesting issues that were spurted into the spotlight by those who preferred to spit.

First, there was the question of sweet things like care and tenderness. “If he makes you swallow, he really doesn’t love or respect you.” This is all fine and good, but quite frankly, when was the last time you hooked up with someone who respected you, much less loved you? High school?

A close friend of mine stated, “I spit because whenever I swallow it goes up my nose. Can you talk about that? I bet I’m not the only one with that problem.”

Actually, I hate to break it to you honey, you are. We are all stupider for having heard that statement, I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

As this is the last column of the semester, I would just like to wish everyone luck on finals, and a very happy holiday season. Whether you choose to spit or swallow, this holiday season, may your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be — white.

Natalie Krinsky’s column appears every Friday in Scene.