I spent 75 days prior to the release of my romantic comedy Driving in Neutral, a love story about fear, running a series on phobias. I learnt a lot. People are afraid of the usual things, spiders and clowns, as well as some unusual things. The unusual phobias are the most…interesting
There are phobias I like to call “False Friend Phobias.” What I mean by ‘false friends’ is that a word or phrase, or in this case a phobia, that may look and sound like one thing, but actually mean something completely different. For example, Dinophobia, may look like a totally irrational fear of long-dead dinosaurs, but really, dinophobia is a fear of dizziness.
Here are a few you think-it’s-one-thing-but-it’s-really-something-else-entirely phobias.
Dishabillophobia: Nope. Has nothing to do with washing dishes. There is not a plate or spoon or saucepan in sight. Dishabillophobics want you to cover their eyes because they have the fear of undressing in front of someone.
Eurotophobia: Sorry kids, this phobia does not contain the evil, suit-wearing European villains from Die Hard. Eurotophobia is the fear of female genitalia.
And Gymnophobia is not the fear of going to the gym or being in a gym full of sweating people. It’s merely the fear of seeing a naked body.
Melissophobia ain’t the fear of women named Melissa, it’s the fear of bears.
Nosophobia has nothing to do with your schnozz. This one’s the fear of illness.
Peniaphobia... Yeah, admit it. You went there. I bet you snickered too, just like I did. Well, get your Freudian mind off the penis and know that peniaphobia is the fear… of poverty.
Yes, we’re all afraid of something, kids, even if it’s something like Sitophobia, which is the fear of the sight of food, and Kathisophobia, which is the fear of sitting down, not the fear of a girl named Kathi.
While there are those fake friend phobias, I also discovered some phobias that caused me to wonder why or how, or WTF led some poor soul to be Geliophobic — that is, terrified to laugh?
Carnophobia: Fear of meat. I may get into trouble for this, but I have an Aunt who is terrified of raw chicken. She’ll eat chicken, but she won’t touch it to cook it.
Chromatophobia: the fear of colours, which means, I guess, rainbows are a reason to freak out. But does this mean one only ever wears black — or white?
Domatophobia: the fear of being in a house. OH, DEAR GOD! Does this mean domophobic people prefer…camping?
Decidophobia: the fear of making decisions. I don’t know, I can’t make up my mind, but I think this one might be a trait for some romance heroes.
Gamophobia: the fear of marriage. So? Am I right? Romance hero or character trait or not?
Kathisophobia: the fear of sitting down. I suspect this is an unknown fear to 98% of writers, but wouldn’t one get tired? Does rest become all about being flat on one’s back in bed?
Lachanophobia: the fear of vegetables. As a vegetarian, I do not understand the fear of celery or carrots, or peas, which you know I think are Nature’s candy.
Olfactophobia: the fear of smells. I suspect one’s memory might be at the root of this fear, seeing as how smells can evoke memories of good and bad things. Would food taste bland if one had olfactophobia? There’s another phobia, Geumaphobia, which is the fear of tastes. Do these two phobias ever combine?
Ouranophobia: the fear of heaven. This one makes me wonder if the ouranophobe has no fear of hell.
Philemaphobia: the fear of kissing. Another one for Romanceland?
Philophobia: the fear of love. And yet ONE MORE for the romance writer!
Photoaugiaphobia: the fear of bright, glaring lights. All righty. I totally get this one because when I am in the depth of a migraine any amount of light seems bright and glaring.
Politicophobia: the fear of politicians — well this one is totally understandable because, you know, xenophobic world leaders forcing their countries into war.