Look, it might be unusual but I don’t like aprons. They give me the heebie-jeebies. A symbol of domestic drudgery, and really bad trip barbeques where you get embarrassed by the booming voiced, hairy armed host with an uncooked sausage held at an obscene angle, a sauce bottle flashed suggestively, or long handled tongs put to unsavoury use at the risk of innocent body parts.
Sound familiar? I’m working on a theory Vestiphobia (the fear of clothing and aprons are clothing) is more common than most people appreciate. In my case it’s a full-blown complex phobia, not at all like a simple allergy. I know what an allergy feels like. It flippin’ well burns. I have one legitimate allergy. The sticky stuff off the back of band-aids.
Stop laughing. It happens.
After the long-term need to strap my hip, to stop my leg falling off I developed an allergy to the sticky stuff in the strapping tape. I blister, burn and scab. Now even a common household variety band-aid can give me the third degree. I also never grew wisdom teeth, but that’s a whole other story and it isn’t funny either, and to make the point, neither is Vestiphobia.
When I see an apron, I don’t break out in spots, or itch, I don’t run for the hills or stand on a chair, or otherwise melt down on contact in typical phobia fashion, because I am brave in the way of these hideously threatening inanimate, made of fabric, domestically redundant objects, but I do get twitchy. And it’s really just the leaf of the celery. I’m mildly phobic about a lot of domestic things. I’ve never used my oven, for example. Not counting that once where I used it for storage.
Leave me alone. It was Christmas, I needed to hide a few things.
I have a very casual friends with benefits type relationship with my cook top, and let’s just say not a lot of gourmet happens, unless it’s delivered, by other people. The whole requirement to eat thing is kind of a drag. I have never followed a recipe, or opened a cookbook, or plugged in a blender. Which is a relief really since I’ve never owned one. I always thought space food pills would be a real thing by now. I’m deadly serious about the space food pills. Why do we have Siri and not nutritionally perfect space food pills?
The whole problem started with aprons. I think there might be a suppressed memory stashed in the nether regions of my top knot. A young impressionable girl, a lazy Sunday afternoon barbeque, in a typical suburban backyard, an apron with boobs, the sudden snap of wandering tongs. Is it any wonder the mere sight of an apron can make me ring for a pizza delivery.
So give me narrow ledges on vertiginous skyscrapers, poisonous spiders and hairy rodents. I can do vomit and pus and other ick. I can do enclosed box-like spaces, public speaking without imaging nudity, and clowns—not my favourite things, but they’re still better than aprons.
And don’t give me your thoughts on aversion therapy. That’s far too simplistic, and in fact discriminates against people who suffer from Vestiphobia. Vestiphobians should not be forced to feel shame just because they drop foodstuff on their clothing. That’s what washing machines are for, people.
And let me tell you, you don’t get over apron inspired trauma simply by tying one on. In fact I’d argue in the digital age aprons are irrelevant. I have to argue that, because I put it in the title of this learned discourse because it sounded so damn swank.
Now next time you go don an apron, make a bow at neck and waist, spare a thought for the shy, Vestiphobians amongst us. We deserve your compassion. And many, many invitations to a home–cooked meal.
Warning: The following Ainslie Paton characters have phobias:
- Dan in Grease Monkey Jive is scared of becoming his father.
- Aiden in White Balance is scared of one room of his house.
- Jake in Getting Real is scared of heights.
- Will in Detained is scared of having his picture taken.
- Fetch in Floored is scared of pizza. But that’s a vicious rumour.
- Steve in Hooked on a Feeling is scared of fireworks and Hazel.
Ainslie Paton: Unrepentant Vestiphobian
Vestiphobians Unite at: www.ainsliepaton.com.au or on twitter @AinsliePaton.