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Prompt: How do you feel about the word ‘moist’?
I love it.
I have never understood the hate that ‘moist’ gets, and frankly I think it’s just part of the subculture of outrage that so many people seem to subscribe to lately. It’s such an innocuous word. Is it that it could imply something sexual? Bodily fluids? Sweat and cum and spit and blood?
“Dr. Paul Thibodeau, a professor of psychology at Oberlin College, suggests that up to 20 per cent of American English speakers are averse to the word “moist.” … People who were averse to “moist” also responded similarly to words such as “phlegm,” and “vomit,” leading him to believe that the disgust is related in part to the association with bodily functions.“
It would seem that the aversion is more about illness than the messiness of sex, which makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. The negative reaction to it (often very strong) always feels a bit puritanical and sex negative to me, but apparently the disgust for ‘moist’ is not just a sexual association.
I happen to like ‘moist’; I find it mildly onomatopoeic. There’s something lush and damp about the hum of the M sound. The “oist” reminds me of the plink-bloop sound of a droplet of water, or that clever sound people make when they flick their cheek. Also, the T particularly; so sharp and hollow against the rest, a perfect punctuation at the end of such a small, but watery, word.
Where do you fall on the great moist debate? Pro? Against? Indifferent? Tell me how you feel in the comments below.
This post is part of January Jumpstart 2023, a community writing project designed to help you get a jumpstart on a new year of writing. Want to join in or get more info?