Everyone has one, not everyone will admit to having one, some will make it very well known and some will try to hide it the best they can. Some reactions can be extreme, some a bit more casual, and some are downright funny. What am I talking about?
Phobias. Whether we admit it or not, there is something that scares us all, something that brings fear. Your hairs might stand up on the back of your neck, sweat might appear on your top lip, your heart might start pounding harder and faster or butterflies will erupt in your tummy. Mind and logic goes out the window and a stronger power takes over your body. Once, in a previous job, I worked at a theatre. I loved it there. It was a very old building and behind it was a smaller theatre for small independent shows or lesser known comedians. I was sent up there one evening to empty the place of cups and glasses. I went through backstage, which was empty, through all the connecting and confusing rooms, which were empty, and then I got to the door of the theatre. It was pitch black, the light switch was at the other side of the room, I tried to walk in but my legs wouldn’t move. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I could feel my heart pounding in my neck. Something was stopping me walking in to the pitch black empty room, and that thing was fear. Now I know ghosts, if real, are harmless. The building was known for it’s haunting experiences. There was nothing in that room, however fear of the unknown would stop me entering that night (until I came back later on with the highly amused security guard for backup…)
My main fear is wasps. This is an understandable fear which needs little explanation. They are nasty little creatures with no purpose in life except to follow and taunt me with their buzzing stingy-ness. People say I am paranoid but they do seek me out.
Other fears might seem a bit extreme but are still very common so we do make allowances for them, be it fear of the dentist, needles, heights, spiders etc. I wouldn’t say I have a huge fear of spiders, but anything with that many legs shouldn’t be trusted. I think my ‘irrational’ fear would be butterflies. Yes, they are pretty. Yes, they flutter innocently in the sun. Yes, they are friendly and cannot harm anyone. Has anyone stopped to think about the fact that they are just moths with a nicer outfit? Moths are nasty, ugly and disgusting, but they lay their cards on the table and make it obvious. Butterflies try and trick us with their beauty. It would be like Freddy Kruger wearing an Armani suit and walking down Oxford Street. Butterflies cannot be trusted. I’m waiting for the Sci-fi channel to release one of their low budget movies called ‘Butterflynado’ or ‘Night of the Living Butterfly’. You have been warned…
I once dated a guy who had a fear of tomato sauce. (*pause for rereading that sentence). Yes, tomato sauce. He couldn’t be near the stuff. Ketchup, beans, anything. I didn’t date him long enough to delve further in to the history of this, maybe a bottle of ketchup crawled in to his cot when he was a baby and terrorised him? Now as much as I want to laugh at this fear of tomato sauce, it would be unfair of me to do so… but seriously? Ketchup? There is less logic in that than there is in my butterfly fear.
It does seem though that there is a name for any type of fear. Some make sense, for example, Bibliophobia for the fear of books. Well, the name of it makes sense, the fear itself is another matter entirely. Some of the names make no sense whatsoever; Sesquipedalphobia is the fear of long words. If you ever come across someone with this fear, never tell them the name of it, it kind of defeats the object. Some of the names are totally unpronounceable; hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, which is fear of the numbers 666. That one is just ridiculous, the name as well as the fear.
Try as we might to avoid them, we all have these fears. Some can be explained, some cannot. Some can be overcome, some will never be cured. Some might never even be faced (eg: a fear of sharks when you’re more likely to win the lottery than come face to face with one) yet it is still there in your mind. Dare you admit to what your biggest fear is, and can you explain why? I will leave you with a list of my favourite phobias and their names:
Anglophobia- Fear of England or English culture (because fish and chips are scary…)
Autodysomophobia- Fear of one that has a vile odour (try working in customer service)
Dutchphobia- Fear of the Dutch (a bit extreme)
Ephebiphobia- Fear of teenagers (understandable, they get scarier with every generation)
Geniophobia- Fear of chins (really?)
Geumaphobia or Geumophobia- Fear of taste (cucumber anyone?)
Gnosiophobia- Fear of knowledge (so they probably won’t know about this but best not tell them…)
Genuphobia – Fear of knees (just leave, just leave now)