The Evolution Of Tea Bagging

By Nicholas Young on July 20, 2011, 7:39PM EDT

Tea bagging, otherwise known as corpse humping, is a renowned phenomenon which has been used by generations of gamers to portray either superiority over one's enemies or to just generally be a dick. The act itself comprises of a player killing an opponent, standing over their corpse and crouching repeatedly. In most cases, a KillCam captures the act and forces the victim to watch in embarrassment. Tea bagging in games were first given notice on a broad scale through popular games such as Halo and Counter-Strike, but the origins of tea bagging still remain a mystery to most.

So where did tea bagging come from? Why do people do it to each other? And more importantly, is it hygienic?

First off, let's dive into the origins of what makes the phrase 'Tea Bagging' possible, Tea Bags!! The history of the tea bag goes back as far as 1903 when the first patents were explored, in 1904, Thomas Sullivan successfully marketed the first tea bags to be shipped around the world. The original intention was for customers to remove the tea from each bag but instead it was found easier to prepare the tea whilst keeping the bag sealed. To cut a long story short, throughout the years, tea bags have since gone through many alterations but most notably, for this article anyway, a small length of string was designed to allow tea bags to be 'dunked' into a cup of tea without fear of being burnt when removing it. This process could very well be the origin of the term 'Tea-Bagging'.

Sadly, this simply innocent explanation may be completely off, according to Urban Dictionary, the term takes on a more sinister meaning and sexual nature. I'm not willing to fully disclose the act of tea bagging for readers who may find it inappropriate to read such a thing, but having said that, the 'art' of Tea Bagging is very similar to the video game example we have come to know today, but with less clothes. Most believe that this is the real meaning and origin of tea bagging, a meaning i happen to agree with personally. After all, I can't think of the last time I saw Master Chief dunking a tea bag in his cup of tea whilst standing over my freshly charred corpse.

What is interesting though, is the transition from a lucid, sexual act, to an in-game motion used to humiliate players. Did tea bagging simply come about because a player knew the former and used the latter to reenact the motion? Or was it simply a player trying to find a way to celebrate a kill without using a microphone to smack talk? Honestly, tea bagging is probably one of those mainstream ideals that took off in such a manner that its origin can never really be determined. It is even unclear as to which game first allowed tea bagging to be realized. However, it's probably safe to say that Halo was one of, if not, the main franchise to popularize the act amongst the mainstream and still continues to do so.

Many other games give players the opportunity to embarrass their opponents, not only through tea bagging, but other motions as well. Gears of War for example uses executions to finish off enemies when they have been 'downed', this of course replaces the need for players to create their own form of insult. Another example would be the 'Taunt' feature currently seen in the Uncharted 3 Beta, where instead of tea bagging being seen as a player generated insult, the game rewards it. Players gain bonuses based on fist bumping, high fiving and pumping over an enemy's dead body, just a little extra salt in the wound if you ask me (idea for a future taunt?).

In summary, tea Bagging has been around since gamers first decided to insult their fellow man in any way, shape or form. Whether an in game mechanic or player created action, tea bagging in all of its forms are used to insult other players who have been defeated until their next respawn. Developers may try to change the negative qualities of tea bagging, but ultimately no-one wants to see a random stranger pumping over their dead body. Uncharted 3 is taking a step in the right direction, as far as rewarding players goes, but as well as rewarding taunting players, killing these players mid-taunt should result in greater rewards.

Just like its origins, the future of Tea Bagging is uncertain, but as the need to insult fellow players exists, gamers will always find a way to do it. It's only a matter of how.

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