Okay, so I totally made up the name, because even though scientists (or whoever) can come up with a name for the 3 people in this world who are afraid of opinions (Allodoxaphobia) and that one person who read too many Twilight novels (I blame YOU, Stephanie Meyer, for all these goddamn vampires) who is afraid of garlic (Alliumphobia), but they haven't bothered to take the time to name the very valid phobia of Fear of Mayonnaise.
(As it turns out, I've been spelling the word "mayonnaise" incorrectly for, like, 48 years. Who knew? Spell check, that's who.)
I hate mayonnaise. I hate how it looks, how it smells, how it tastes. My mother used to try to hide it in our food (I have no idea why it was such a big deal to her to make me eat it... it's not like I was lacking something in my diet that a combination of oil and egg could fix) but I could always tell. (And since the second the mayo-containing foods hit my tongue I gagged, so could she.) When my mother would ask me to help her make her World Famous Potato Salad (why did she always ask me? Why? Because she's a sadist, that's why), I would stand in the kitchen holding the spoon as far away from my body as possible, head turned away so as not to look at it, the "I'm Gonna Barf" look etched nakedly on my face, until my mother would get seriously pissed ("Get that disgusting look off your face and give me that spoon! I hope your face freezes like that!") and kick me out of the kitchen.
Eventually, she figured out it was a losing battle, though a day did come when she got some slight revenge. (Revenge for what, I frequently ask myself. Revenge for having the common sense to find a glutenous white mess disgusting? Seriously.)
It was the whirl-wind of the late 70s when I discovered my personal Bible: Cosmopolitan Magazine, and my personal Savior, Helen Gurley Brown. Everything I needed to know about absolutely anything could be found in Cosmo every single month. Helen Gurley Brown was a prophet and I was Her faithful disciple. If she said bangs were passe, mine were GONE. Blue eyeshadow is tacky? You know it, sistah! *Raise the roof and sing Halleluiah!* She taught me the correct way to pluck my eyebrows, the best way to enhance my eyes with sixteen different shades of brown eyeshadow, how to blend my blusher and give myself that "I'm running a fever of 107" look that was so vivid and popular in the Age of Disco, and how to feather my hair so perfectly that if the wind was right, I could have taken flight.
I worshiped at the altar of Helen Gurley Brown.
|My senior picture, circa 1981. Perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect hickey on my neck... HGB never covered "hiding a hickey prior to your senior picture being taken", which obviously, she should have,.|
One memorable month she printed an article about using common household ingredients to cleanse, condition, and primp on a budget. Lemon juice for blondes, red vinegar for brunettes... I smelled like a tossed salad for weeks. Then I read the article about how conditioning your hair with mayonnaise and covering it with a plastic grocery bag and letting it ferment for half an hour was the best thing you could ever do for your hair.
If HGB said it, it must be true.
(My girl Helen could have had me selling flowers at airports while wearing flowing coral robes and chanting "Hari Krishna, Hari Rhama..." Seriously.)
Without one single thought in my head other than the gorgeous, luxurious, shiny locks that would be blowing in the wind after my mayonnaise treatment, I grabbed the jar from the fridge, a plastic grocery bag from the bin, and headed down to the bathroom. I opened the jar and slopped a spoonful of mayonnaise onto the top of my head and started blending it in with my hands.
And then it hit me.
Oh my GOD, THE SMELL!
I gagged. I retched.
I cried for my mommy like any big girl should.
When she came into the bathroom and saw what I was doing, she doubled over with laughter. (Thanks for nothing, MOM.)
Which put her at the perfect angle, because I was doubled over the bathtub, vomiting.
What followed was kind of a blur... I was puking and crying. My mother was laughing and trying to rinse mayonnaise out of my hair (wayyyyyy easier said than done). After multiple shampooings and dumping a bottle of red vinegar over my head, my hair was finally squeaky clean and mayo-free.
It was touch and go for a while, but I survived. (I couldn't walk into my bathroom for about a week without holding my breath because I swore I could still smell it.)
Years later, when people insist that you "can't taste the mayo" in some vile concoction they've thrown together, I assure them that I can. And if you force me to prove you wrong? I'll puke. It's that simple.
(Remember Fear Factor? It wasn't fear of eating kangaroo penis or cockroaches that kept me from applying to be the show... it was the fear that they would blend up the penii and insects with mayonnaise. Well, that and heights. And the fact that I'm not the least bit athletic and wouldn't have made it past the first round. Or probably have even received a phone call to show up and audition. But mostly? It was the fear of mayonnaise.)