Admit why you truly hate the word “moist”

Photo: iStock (petesaloutos)

At this very moment, there is somebody reading this who clicked through the headline for the express purpose of writing “next time, trigger warning please!” in the comments. Those “somebodies” are the exactly the people I am writing this essay for. This entire thing was a trap! I’m so sneaky.

Before you can close your browser in a panic, I’m going to slap this factoid in your face: You only hate the word moist because it make you think about ladybits. There shall be no warnings for anybody, as you must all confront your prejudices.

No one ever complains when they need to hoist something large and heavy— shall we say, for example, a joist. That is because no one has any deep psychological biases levied against joists, which are universally respected for their ability to prevent building collapses. Joists can also be perceived as architectural phalluses—a network of perpendicular wangs that float o’er our heads, preventing us from being crushed by a four-piece master bedroom set that has succumbed to the laws of gravity and plummeted through a flimsy, non-joisted ceiling. Joists are accepted.

Moist, on the other hand, invokes pure revulsion. It is a loathsome word, one that its most vocal critics claim they associate with leaky basements or wet socks. It is never instantly associated with things that positively must be described as moist, like cakes. Then again cakes, like most baked goods, are considered inherently feminine. When moist is used in relation to something highly masculine, such as the moist towelettes that come with a plate of ribs, it doesn’t make the slightest ping on the cringe radar.

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I assure you all that I do not make this accusations flippantly. I have long contested that the hatred of the word moist is directly correlated to people’s general distaste for words like panties and vaginaa latent and perhaps subconscious form of misogyny which, ultimately, discriminates against perfectly lovely things, like banana bread. These arguments have continually been dismissed by those I argue with, who tell me things like “some of my best friends have vaginas.”

I decided to do some research on the topic, and it turns out the mystery of moist-aversion is considered such a pressing issue that it was the basis of a surprisingly legitimate scientific study. Though there were only 400 participants in the study, one of them is quoted as saying “it reminds people of sex and vaginas” which ipso facto means everything I have said in this essay is correct. From here on out I expect to be considered the foremost expert on moist-related topics, and am willing to go live on the nightly news to defend my position.

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I swear to you all, we need the word moist. How else are you going to describe a perfectly baked muffin, or a succulent roast goose? Wet? Damp? Clammy? Do you want to eat a clammy muffin? Few other words exist to convey the specific textural experience of a food that is not-dry in such a pleasing way.

Now go stand in front of a mirror, look yourself straight in the eye, and say it: moist. Keep going until you break yourself into a crying mess. Don’t break eye contact, even if you start vomiting—just plow through it. Moist...moist...moist. Exorcise those demons. Liberate your heart. Give in to the moistness. It will make describing cake so much easier.

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About the author

Allison Robicelli

Allison Robicelli is the staff writer for The Takeout, a former professional baker, the host of The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, and a nascent birding enthusiast.