I was rather surprised today when, searching for sustenance on an overly long and dull coach journey, I opened up what was tag-lined as a ‘moist organic blueberry and oat bar’. Delicious as it was my surprise came from the fact that ‘moist’ is such a controversial word. You only need say it and, in my experience, you will be met by a host of shudders and ‘god I just hate that word?’, ‘Don’t you just hate that word,’ and everyone will nod and a group shake will pass around. In fact the only situation where moist seems to be an even vaguely sociably acceptable adverb is when talking about cake – ‘The cakes lovely and moist isn’t it Gladys?’ – but still there will be at least one person who can’t quite handle it and dives down into a moist ridden pit of despair. ‘Moist’ they groan, ‘not moist, say its dry for all I care but please for the love of all that is holy do not use the m-word.’
But what is it about the word? The snake like hiss? The unfortunate connotations with second rate erotica? The very dampness it brings to mind? Who knows… For my part I quite like the word, in a weirdly cringey kind of way. I tend to like things that are a wee bit taboo, for no other reason than well they are such (yes, its a bad reason to like things but it probably won’t stop me). And it rolls off the tongue quite nicely. And of course, you get a little bit of satisfaction from being able to reduce a room to collective shudders quite nicely – awkward conversation, just drop the m-word and all will be well in the world.
Are you a moist-a-phobe (I’m sure there is a technical term, if you know it let me know)? Or are there any other words you particularly hate?