I began to research some different tactile sensations and I tried to figure out which one of these different feelings best represents a tactile metaphor comparable to the ones Barthes describes. When I found greasy online, it really seemed to stick out for me. When I think of touching something greasy I think of a slick or even slimy feeling such as WD-40 on a door hinge or ball bearing, and I think of the black schmutz that accumulates around the greased area due to the accumulation of dirt that sticks to the greased door hinge. I also think of the adjective greasy when it is used to describe sleazy and sometimes shifty characters, the type of characters that don’t adhere to general rules of manners and are often characterized by their almost dirty personality.
I think there is a direct link between the two different usages of the adjective and tactile sensation, greasy. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that greasy is used to describe the gross oils that are present in the bottom of a bag of fries or a cheap burger and the lubricant for door hinges and fences as well as to describe a slimy character. Grease is the inescapable substance that doesn’t wash out of shirts and stains them forever making you appear a slob, grease is the slimy and oily substance that once you get on your hands is nearly impossible to wash off, grease is the gross aftermath of a bucket of cheap fried chicken from KFC that smells up your car for weeks. I believe that greasy is a metaphorical tactile sensation for the slimy and sleazy folks that are rather uncouth and are the stereotypical people who wear “wife beater” shirts with grease stains on them and make inappropriate comments.
It is important to understand the usage of this term to understand how it is so representative of multiple sensations that are so similar yet totally different. Describing a person as greasy and describing the feeling of greasy from a bag of fast food, or the dirtied hinges on a door are totally different, but the similarities between the tactile sensation and the adjective describing a sleazy person are uncanny. When you look at a greasy person the same sensation that you feel when touching a greasy material occurs and you draw an immediate connection between the two.