Monday, June 28, 2010

Quirks: "Seafood Aversion"

This blog entry marks the third in a series called "Quirks." I've often thought about how I have some strange and unique personality traits that I spent a lot of time and energy trying to hide while growing up. Now that I'm older, I'm realizing my quirks are just part of what make me, me. And who knows?...maybe others can relate to some of these. So, rather than hiding my quirks, as I've done in the past, I figured I'd go the complete opposite route and just bring them to light.

Today's quirk: "Seafood Aversion"

Some may say that an aversion falls more appropriately under personal taste, rather than a quirk -- and that may be true -- but let me explain just how deep my aversion to seafood runs.

When I tell people that I don't eat seafood, I am almost always met with the typical response of, "Yeah, I'm not much for seafood either; just fish, clams, and oysters." I then usually choose to re-emphasize my previous statement: "I don't eat ANY seafood." Often times, this is met with a retort of "Right, I hear you. But you like crab and shrimp, I'm sure?"

At this point, my brow is furrowed. "What part of 'I don't eat ANY seafood' are you failing to comprehend?!"




"Now you're getting it!"

I'm not sure why, but most people just can't handle the fact that someone who does in fact eat meat, like myself, doesn't also eat any kind of seafood. I don't choose to not eat seafood for any religious or ethical reasons. I just don't freaking like it.

So how did this come about? Truthfully, I'm not really sure. The weird reality is that I've eaten most kinds of seafood before, so contrary to popular belief, I do have a clear understanding of what seafood tastes like. I used to love fish, especially tuna, and I've tried lobster, and various other kinds of seafood. My parents also tell me that when I was a baby, I stuffed my face with shrimp.

So why the sudden repulsion?

I think somewhere along the lines, the smell of seafood just started to gross me out, and the taste followed right along with that sentiment. To this day, I still remember the last tuna fish sandwich that I ever ate. I think I was around 8 or 9. I stopped eating my sandwich half way through, put it down on the plate, and never wanted another one. Ever.

And as for the argument that I've "mentally decided" I don't like seafood and therefore my body won't let me, this has also been proven false. On more than one occasion, I have unintentionally put shrimp or a piece of fish in my mouth, only to spit it out in disgust upon tasting it.

So how deep does my seafood aversion run today? Let's see.
  • Well for starters, if seafood happens to be put on my plate, I usually cannot eat whatever else is on the plate, as the smell is just too much for me.

  • If seafood gets put on my plate and happens to touch what I was planning to eat, then forget it. That's right out! (Side note: to avoid being extremely rude at a friend's house last year, I mentally psyched myself up enough to pick through rice that had shrimp in it -- I somehow got through it while chugging massive amounts of iced tea in the process).

  • If my wife eats any kind of seafood, I ask her -- before she comes near me -- to wash her hands and the outside of her mouth with soap, gargle with mouthwash, and brush her teeth.

  • To me, the scariest part of the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway, was not the plane crash or the thought of being separated from loved ones, but being forced to eat practically nothing but fish and crab for four years.

So is this sounding a little more like a quirk now? I thought so. Overall, my seafood aversion hasn't posed too much of a life nuisance, as I simply just avoid eating it. And thankfully, I have company in this area, as my mother is exactly the same way. In fact, if she and I were ever stranded on a deserted island as the sole survivors of a plane crash, we'd have a tough time deciding who gets to eat Wilson.


  1. Haha, I still don't think this is a quirk. I don't like seafood and neither does Ruth, and plenty of others. Yes, they don't like any seafood. Not crabs, lobsters, etc. I've even been forced to eat some.
    Maybe it'd be a quirk to those who love seafood.
    BTW, I did the same thing (and at the same age) you did with tuna fish sandwiches, but with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I've never had tuna fish - it smells too nasty to want to taste. I ate some fish sticks as a kid, but I was forced to and they were always liberally doused with ketchup :)

  2. Haha... yes, and I always wanted to apply for Survivor, but I knew I wouldn't be able to survive if I couldn't eat fish :(

  3. Ha - This was a great read. . . Im the same way, and I'm usually asked "aren't you from New England?" Yes, Boston originally, and then about 15 minutes from the beaches of the North Shore.....I still don't eat, or should I say tolerate seafood. The poor spouses . . . Scott almost NEVER gets to order it because the sight of it is enough to make me not want to eat. I did psych myself up to try some tuna steak at the melting pot once. After I cooked it and saw that it 'flaked' I jumped in disgust, which sent the piece flying across the table and into Scott's lap. He didn't think it was too funny.

  4. yeah.. i dont like it either. i dont even like sitting next to someone who is eating it. those lobsters look like giant roaches to me. i'd rather starve or eat grass before eating seafood. in fact i'm so bad i won't even go into natural water because im afraid it will touch me. seaweed is a scary thought too.

  5. Finally! Someone who understands. i don't know how many people in my life have gaped at me in disbelief when I tell them I don't eat seafood. It's really annoying after a while. I can't stand looking at it, especially when the eyes are still visible, can't be next to someone who is eating it, or smelling it or the breathe of someone who just ate it, or touching it. My family tells me all the time that I used to love fish. Well, one day my sister was cleaning it, and the smell alone was overwhelming, not to mention the gigantic worn she pull from it's stomach. NEVER AGAIN after that. I did try shrimp though, but I could not swallow it. The texture and taste of it made me gag, and the toilet ate it instead. Bleck!

  6. I hate fish and seafood too (not that I hate fish themselves; I like to look at them while they're in a fish tank or no tv) but I think for me the problem started when I saw a fresh fish from the market being chosen alive--- it was a very traumatic experience for me