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Campus culture

Michael Sun journeys across USyd to brave his fear of eating yoghurt in public. Art: Kimberly Strudwick, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Print)

Yoghurt, for me, has always had a certain kind of intimacy.

Maybe it’s the number of times I’ve dribbled strawberry Yoplait down my chin onto bedsheets while crying to Sophie Ellis-Bextor and reading VICE articles with titles like “Couples Share Their First Love Letters” or “I Drank A Bottle Of Weed Lube And Got High”.

Maybe it’s the accepted relationship between fridge and YEZ (Yoghurt Eating Zone): the edibility of yoghurt diminishes exponentially as distance and time from fridge increases. Its lifespan is too short for it to exist anywhere outside the private sphere.

Maybe it’s the odd neither-here-nor-there texture that’s not quite a solid, not quite a fluid, rendering my taste receptors horrendously confused, caught in a dilemma too perplexing to be resolved under the watchful gaze of others.

But, as the old adage goes: no pain, no gain. There comes a time in life (or any B-grade coming of age film) where one must successfully over- come adversity in order to achieve a higher state of being. To climb a rung higher on the ladder to Nirvana, if you will. Despite being neither a Buddhist nor a Kurt Cobain truther, my time came when I decided to embark on a yoghurt odyssey across campus, traversing planes of fermented dairy and mango chunks in an attempt to reach probiotic enlightenment.

In other words, I ate yoghurt in public and lived to tell the tale.

This was no easy feat: a quick poll of my group chats deemed me “crazy”, “irresponsible”, and “brave, also my favourite is Chobani, can you write about that?” Here were my observations (sans Chobani).

Courtyard: Shuffling up to the counter I dreaded becoming That Person Who Buys Yoghurt For $4.25 but as I brought my tub of white with mango topping back to my table I realised I had become That Person Who Buys Yoghurt For $4.25 Then Eats It In A Display Of Wealth. Everyone knows that spending $4.25 on yoghurt is a slippery slope to purchasing a time-share in a Southern High- lands castle, so I was instantly self-conscious, but managed to relish every spoonful.

Laneway: Better than Courtyard. I was able to slink away into a corner seat and consume my cultures relatively unnoticed, save the barista who frowned at me as I attempted to shovel 200mL of yoghurt into my mouth in under 30 seconds. I bought a berry one here which somehow felt less conspicuous than mango but still tasted more like siwn.

Abercrombie Terrace: One would think that venturing outside of my usual territories would make me less embarrassed about my gastronomic choices. Not so. Having thoroughly depleted my bank balance, I brought a Yoplait tub from home that was not only warm by the time I settled into a chair on the outside balcony, but was also the subject of condescending, Business School stares.