The “F” Word


I once dated a guy who was afraid of heights.

Because I am a compassionate person and also like others to credit me for their accomplishments, I was extremely supportive.

Rather than laugh at his debilitating fear, or giving him a blank stare and saying “Did I ask?”, I decided to help him overcome his phobia, so he could move on from it and not feel the need to bore me with his personal issues.

“Whenever you start to get panicky,” I told him, “just picture the sky in its underwear. Then it won’t seem so intimidating.”

Had he not gone AWOL (I thought maybe he’d died in a skydiving accident but turns out he’s on Facebook), he could have repaid the favor, when I recently found myself faced with my third biggest fear in the world.

My Biggest Fears In The World

1) Getting drunk at the bar,  then stumbling home and creating a Facebook album called “Random pics of my cankles.”

2) Having cankles.

3) Sticking my arm in a sink full of someone else’s dirty dishwater..

4) Watching back-to-back episodes of Two And a Half Men. (Season irrelevant.)


After returning from Mexico, I moved in with my friend, Labia Minora (not her real name). Technically she didn’t offer, but since my stuff was there anyway it seemed like the logical solution.

She was going to be on vacation, so she hid a house key under a rock.

When I arrived, everything seemed to be in order. But then I went to the kitchen and saw the half-filled sink and I remembered that nothing is ever what it seems.

Based on the evidence gathered at the crime scene, I came up with three possible reasons for this senseless tragedy:

1) Halfway through doing dishes, L suddenly remembered that she was supposed to be on vacation.

2) Some pervert with a dirty dishwater fetish was trying to send me a message.

3) Halfway through doing dishes, some pervert with a dirty dishwater fetish came by and reminded L that she was was supposed to be on vacation.

I left it, hoping this pervert would at least have the decency to come back and drain it.

The next morning, it was still there. Only now the water had an orangey hue and there was a slimy film on top. I briefly considered letting it congeal, then adding marshmallows and bringing it to my family reunion. (My Grandma loves that stuff.)

Using a wire hanger, I tried to unhook the plug. Nothing. I tried poking it. Still nothing. I started blindly stabbing  it. It made a weird gurgling sound. A cold water fish, perhaps, or maybe her old cat that she assumed had run away (probably because it couldn’t handle living in a house with a dirty sink).

I needed to clear my head. I went upstairs and started rifling through L’s underwear drawer.

Then I scanned her bookshelves.

3 Books About/Written by Horses = Loves Equines


I also checked her medicine cabinets, just to make sure she hadn’t developed any conditions I should be aware of.


Red- Questionable
Black- Even more questionable


Eye Drops- Possible cocaine addiction

Empty Bottle of Pepto-Bismol- Where she stashes all of her extra cocaine.

Inhaler- A decoy she carries to throw off the cops, since nobody would accuse an asthmatic of being addicted to cocaine.

Listerine- Severe drinking problem, which started when she ran out of cocaine.

Eno- Acid reflux, triggered by drinking problem.

Advil- For hangovers.

Rub A535- What she uses to entertain the creepy pervert with dirty dishwasher fetish.

Hair Gel- Don’t even want to know.

4 Condiment Packets (2 relish/1 mustard/1 Arby’s Sauce)- Perfectly normal.

Muscle Relaxants- Again, don’t want to know.

By the time I finished emailing her friends and family to organize an intervention, I was exhausted.

Day 5: The situation was dire. Florescent algae was growing over the side of the sink. A family of what looked to be sea monkeys were moving in their waterproof furniture.

I called my friend G for support.

Me: I’m afraid L isn’t going to be with us much longer.

G: What?

Me: Downward spiral leading to her inevitable drug overdose. We can divide her stuff later. Right now I need to figure out how to drain her sink without the water touching my skin and infesting me with so many parasites that I end up dying alone and a virgin because obviously any guy who would get with a chick who amputates her own arm I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.

G: Since when can parasites give you back your virginity?

Me: Since when did you become a parasite-ability expert?

G: Why don’t you just use gloves.

Me: Um, maybe because then the water will soak into the wool and weigh down my hand and I’ll end up being sucked down the drain with it?

G: No. I mean rubber gloves. You know, for doing dishes.

Because my fifth biggest fear in the world is manual labor, I didn’t know.

She told me to look under the sink. That’s when I saw two giant yellow rubber gloves, draped over a bottle of cleaning-type juice.

I don’t remember what happened after that, but I do know that two hours and a box of Franzia wine later I was lying face-down on the linoleum, celebrating the fact that I had successfully conquered my third biggest fear in the world.

To answer your question: Would I do it again? Obviously not.

Did it give me the strength to tackle fears 1, 2 and 4 on my list? No.

Will I make sure my next potential roommate owns a dishwasher before inviting myself to move in? Yes, yes.

…A million times yes.



  1. Becky, you are an incredibly brave soul. I do have to ask, what kind of “friend” leaves dirty dishes in the sink, but puts the Xanax up and away when you need it most? I think you need to rethink whether she’s really your friend, or just someone who is friends with a pervert with a dirty dish fetish. You probably shouldn’t associate with that kind of person anymore.

    • Thank you for noticing the courageousness of my soul, B. I can’t tell you how hard it is to brag about something that isn’t visible to the human eye. Don’t get me wrong, I still do on a regular basis. But I find that I get really tired after.

      You might be right. As much as I hate to admit it, I think maybe our friendship has run its course. Still, I should wait until after she agrees to cover next months’ rent before telling her (via email) that I think it’s best if we go our separate ways.

  2. Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd says:

    I think I would have had a contractor come in and build up a wall in front of the sink and then installed a new counter and sink. Dirty dishwater is also a huge fear of mine, it it doesn’t matter who made it – I could have created it and it would still upset me.

    • I know! I used to think that the movie Jaws was the reason for my debilitating fear when it comes to placing random limbs in murky water. But then I remembered that sharks can’t fit in the sink. Also, I’m pretty sure they only survive in salt water…

  3. All of your fears are reasonable and justified … as was your advice about picturing the sky in its underwear. Clowns, however, are even scarier when pictured in their underwear.

    • Thank-you, transparentguy. I agree with you that clowns are definitely scarier when pictured in their underwear. But to be fair, I think that might have more to do with the grossly disproportionate shoe-actual groin size ratio.

  4. An inspiration. As always. Please make sure to lock the door so the pervert won’t back in and refill the sink. Unless you need to be on vacation and you might forget.

    • Don’t worry, Nikki. Unless this disgusting pervert offers to foot the bill for my vacation (no strings attached), he won’t be getting in anytime soon…

  5. Next time, hit up craigslist. I’m sure you could easily find someone to do your bidding for you. In the barter section, you could have offered 3 Q-Tips and a Popsicle for this task and received HUNDREDS of interested emails…

  6. cornfedgirl says:

    I hope that you have recovered from this traumatic event. I’m a doctor and I would like to write a prescription for 3 margaritas, a charming man whore and a giant burrito (pun intended). That should erase any and all memory of OPSW. (Other peoples scummy water)

    • cornfedgirl says:

      P.S. Some beotch told me once that I have cankles. The funny thing is… she has WAY bigger ankles than I do. WAY.
      I really had to work hard not to punch her in thr throat.

      • Thank-you for the prescription. You’ll be happy to hear that I’m off the boxed wine and have now graduated on to the hard, less trashy-looking stuff. (Which is good, because I no longer have to wrap my mouth around that awkward spout.)

        Namaste, indeed! If, by namaste you mean “Cut a bitch”. I swear, some cankle-owners are just so oblivious to their own cankleness.

  7. Yeah, sorry about the dishwater, I meant to decant it into bottles to leave on supermarket shelves but I had to pose as a taxi driver to take L to the airport.

    • I knew it! That thumbnail has happy face/dirty dishwater residue written all over it…

      • My pet hate is the food that settles in the plug hole, you probably all have garbage disposals? We just have to drag out the gunky food residue with our hands

        • That’s the fundamental reason for my fear. Who knows where that food has been? Obviously not in anyone’s digestive tract! Kind of makes you wonder why I’m such an advocate for “Chewing your Kids’ Food Then Spitting It Into Their Mouth”, hey?

          I mean not me, personally. (I would never wonder why I’m like that.)

  8. Sounds like you may have a touch of PTSD. Have you recently, perchance, watched the first ten minutes of the classic film Withnail and I? There’s a an horrific scene in the kitchen, wherein the stars of the film almost do the washing up in a sink full of abomination.

    Anyway, this post was pretty darn funny despite your raging psychosis. Come to NH and ride bikes with me. My wife won’t mind. I don’t think.

    • OMG…I swear, take away blue shirt guy and add really shiny hair and you have the film version of my life. I was even wearing the same outfit!

      Granted, had I known I was being filmed, I would have worn my more camera-ready Stanfield’s….

      ps. I’m sharpening my bike wheels as we speak.

  9. Addiction is no laughing matter. I fear it will be a long, long time before Labia Minora returns to the fold.

    P.S. Tori Spelling’s book *probably* would have sold more copies had it been properly marketed as a book about an ugly horse.

    • elizabeth3hersh says:

      “I fear it will be a long, long time before Labia Minora returns to the fold.”

      LOL!!!!!!!!!!! No doubt cavorting around town with her harlot sister, Labia Majora.

      • “No doubt cavorting around town with her harlot sister, Labia Majora”….OMG.. I’ve got to whip out this line at just the perfect time in the future!! Hilarious! :-)

        • J- Thanks to you I now have Cheerios stuck in my keyboard. Not to mention a bunch of disturbing images in my mind of ways that might actually be possible. (It’s a visual-spatial learner thing.)

          Maybe it’s just me, but I see the potential for a “Vagina Monologues 2- Getting Lippy” hit on Broadway.

          I mean, let’s face it: Sex cells.

  10. What I find most disturbing is the “foonkles.” I was never aware of this phenomenon, and now it is at the top of my list of fears. Followed closely with the fear of one day having them and/or cankles. I would stick my hand in a thousand sinks full of dirty dish water to avoid that sad and tragic fate!

    • I agree, foonkles truly is a debilitating affliction.

      Personally, I think the only upside to the disorder is the money I might potentially earn every time someone uses the term “foonkles”. (fingers crossed!)

  11. I’m thinking you now have PTSD. I am not afraid of manual labor but would have been beside myself seeing that sink. As is apparent by your roommates book collection, she is a horse lover. Be very careful. It is a sickness, most likely genetic in origin, that will lead to the person making routinely poor decisions. This includes but is not limited to: washing horse hair covered articles in the washing machine, spending money that could be used for such things as rent or alcohol on horses and reading books about seemingly irrelevant things (like horses and Tori Spelling.) I know of what I speak. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    • Don’t worry, Jen, I’ve already taken the necessary precautions.

      First, I decided that I will be withholding rent for the next few months, just so she doesn’t have a disposable income to spend on horse-related paraphernalia. Second, I am placing a sign on the door of my room, saying “No Horses Pls. kthx”.

  12. C’mon B.. Everyone knows you need muscle relaxants when you’re coming down from coke.

    • I thought about that, but then I thought “Why would anyone want to come down from coke?”

      • Damn you are so right.. I mean what’s the point unless YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP EARLYY TO BUILD POWER LINES CONTAING 7200 volts and between 200- 600 amps. I dunno maybe someone I have been with might have to doo that. *whistling while walking away*

  13. Wow, L has an issue with cleanliness. Not the best issue to have when your name is labia minora.

    • HA! All I can say is thank God I didn’t nickname her “Labia Majora”.

      (Or would that make a difference? I’m a little rusty on my understanding of the female reproductive system…)

  14. Shouldn’t the fear of Tori Spelling “writing” another book be on your list?

    • Haha…actually Tori Spelling being relevant at all has always been a huge fear of mine. But since it hasn’t stopped her, I decided to focus my efforts on fears I can actually control.

  15. I have never seen a foonkle. And here I thought I had to go to Myra’s site for that kind of medical info.

  16. I can’t even fathom trying to stick my arm in someone else’s sink water. You deserve a federal holiday in your honor for your bravery.

  17. Me, I would have went and bought a HAZMAT suit and then bought tongs and then had the fire dept standing by as I took out the plug for the sink. This is after I took a pepto to settle my stomach from the congealed water. After that I would have thrown a party for the above mentioned people and clogged the sink again and the toilet while i was at it…….k i am back…so here i am….zman sends

    • Z!!! I’ve missed you! I’m glad you’re back…

      So, where can I find these HAZMAT suits, anyway? I’ve got the pepto and the tongs covered (I keep a pair in my purse for emergencies…these days you can never be too prepared). Also, I have a dozen or so fire men on speed dial (for reasons unrelated). But I could really use a good, body-flattering HAZMAT suit….probably even more once I figure out what that is.

      Always great to hear from you, Z!!!

  18. I came very close to doing an epic spit take with coffee while reading this post. Nice one!!

  19. omg. seriously.

    i’ve missed the internets.

    the internets = you.

    i have to say that although congealed dishwater with marshmallows does make a quick crowd pleasing dish to pass, i would rather cut my arm off as well rather than stick my hand in there
    AHHHHHH. you are a brave soul.

    probably the bravest.

    • B!! Oh, how I’ve missed your ravishing, WordPress-friendly avatar.

      I actually thought about cutting my arm off and THEN sticking it in the dirty dishwater, but I thought that might ruin my dreams of one day being ambidextrous.

      Great to see you, my Neil Diamond/mayonnaise despising heterosexual life partner…

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