Five for Friday: Pet Peeves

A few months ago I shared five things I love (that many people find weird), which started quite an interesting discussion.  And yay, I discovered lots of other people who like sardines!  (mmmm…sardines…and cardboard crackers….)

This week I thought I’d share five of my pet peeves with you: completely random things that I find inordinately annoying/cringe worthy/disgusting:

1) Orange juice.

OK, not orange juice as a whole.  Orange juice is fine if A) it’s being served with breakfast, or B) you’re under 10 years old.   Even then, it’s not the best juice.  Orange juice, however, is NOT fine if you’re at a black tie event and everyone else is walking around with champagne and you ask for something non-alcoholic and they say “Oh, we have orange juice.”

Seriously?  Orange juice?

Is it before noon?  Am I five years old?


Then why are you offering me orange juice?

Orange juice is brightly coloured (thus making it super obvious you are not drinking, which has tons of drawbacks), has pulp, and is incredibly acidic, making it hard to drink more than one glass.  It is NOT a good drink alternative.

There are SO many better non-alcoholic options for drinks.  They make sparkling grape juice exactly for that purpose.  Mineral water is nice.  A really good cordial?  Or better yet, a good cordial in sparkling water (rhubarb and ginger cordial in sparkling water is just about the epitome of drink perfection).  Non alcoholic punch is awesome.  Gingerbeer is perfectly acceptable.  So is lemonade – real or NZ style (as in, Sprite).  Heck, I even drank a Coke at a US Embassy reception because I was so excited that it wasn’t orange juice.  And most of these options are even cheaper than orange juice!

Because orange juice is, for some demented reason (which was definitely not thought up by someone who has ever tried to subsist on orange juice for a 5 hour event where they didn’t even offer plain water!) the non-alcoholic drink of choice at NZ events.  I have been to SO MANY museum receptions, balls, university events, and corporate parties that offer four kinds of wine…and orange juice.

And water, if you are really lucky.

And in the afternoon or evening, when you are all dressed up and probably haven’t been able to have dinner yet, orange juice sucks.  I’ve got about as much respect for a caterer who would serve orange juice as their teetotaller option as I have for a seamstress who doesn’t iron.

2)  Centipedes.  

One of my ‘loves’ was spiders.  And it’s true.  I’m pretty much OK with all animals in a general sense – there are individual dogs and goats and horses I don’t like, but on a whole, I’m an animal lover.  Mice are cute and even feral rats, whole gross, don’t make me squeal.  Most creepy crawlies I find cute.

Except centipedes.  Those suckers need to die.

Or at least be banished to an uninhabited island that no human will ever visit*.

I’ve got a personal reason for hating centipedes.  They have them in Hawaii, and I was bit a number of times growing up, all while sleeping.

Do you know what a centipede bite feels like?  Like you’ve been stabbed and hammered and it burns.  For days.  Deep in your flesh.  And you swell, and swell.  And the flesh gets so hot that someone who isn’t expecting it who puts their hand on the area near the bite will pull their hand back as if they had touched a hot iron.  It’s bad.

I’ve got three  small, round, white, hard scars on my arms from centipede bites, and muscle and nerve damage above one eye where one bit me on my face.  Most of the time it’s OK, but when I’m really cold or tired or stressed the muscles can’t keep up.  I was pretty philosophical about the first few bites, but after the face incident centipedes and I were over.

* And while I don’t hate them, it would be nice if the centipedes would take all the mosquitos with them to the uninhabited island when they go.

3)  Perfume (and stores & airports that force you to smell it)

I don’t like perfume.  Most of it stinks to me, and most of it gives me migraines (and the chance of migraines is enough to discourage me from attempting to find the perfumes I don’t hate, and that don’t cause me migraines).

I know I’m far from the only one, because ‘Ugh, there was this person in the lift/airplane/meeting/bus who smelled like a chemical bomb’ is a pretty common story.  Teaching classes you hear a lot of small talk, and that one comes up a LOT.  As does “I cross the road so I don’t have to walk right in front of Lush” as the invariable follow-up story by another student (get any six random females in Wellington and ask them if they do this and I guarantee at least one of out of six will, every time!).

So it totally confuses me that not only is it socially acceptable to make your smell a public thing (Smells are personal.  They should be private.  Like underwear), but stores seem to think its a good thing.  Department stores put their perfume section right by the front door, so you have to walk through it to do any shopping.  And Wellington airport had this cunning idea to make you walk through the Duty Free perfume section every time you get off an international flight here.  I have to walk through with a scarf wrapped around my face and my inhaler clutched in my hand – just in case.


I’d rather walk through the laundry while all the airport staff washed their underwear.

4) First person bios

All conference/magazine bios should be written in third person.  I just cringe when I’m at a conference or reading a magazine and the bios are in first person.  It just seems so amateur & unprofessional.  First person is for interview answers, memoirs, and blogs (which are basically just incredibly recent memoirs).  Otherwise first person bios are dorky and amateur.

5) Ummm…well…I’m out!  

There are quite a few more things that I dislike, but none obvious enough to make the list.  You can fill one in for me 😉


  1. Lynley Povey says

    I am so with you on numbers 1,3 and 4. And now I’ve read about centipede bites I’m with you on nunber 2 as well. The orange juice thing annoys me A Lot at functions. It’s bad enough standing around while other people are getting merry and deciding they are getting more amusing than is actually the case, without having the option of orange juice indigestion or thirst. And what is it with fancy restaurants who have twenty page wine-and-beer list, then on the last page, they have Coke, Fanta and Sprite. And that’s it. I like Floriditas because they have yummy things like sparkling elderflower and non alcoholic drinks that aren’t just super sickly sweet and brightly coloured. But most places are a bit slow to catch on. Fortunately I don’t go to many Functions these days but I can vouch for your description. With you all the way, sister.

    • A kindred spirit! We need ribbons. Like the black ribboners. But in orange! As in ‘the only thing orange on me shall be this ribbon.’

      I don’t mind the restaurant menu thing because I’m pretty much a water with food person (unless it’s tea) but I like Floriditas because their cinnamon buns are awesome 😉 But the drink selection is pretty good too!

  2. I’m with you on the mosquitoes. But, over the years. I have become more grossed out by bugs. Sow bugs and wood ticks are at the top of my list. I’m not grossed out by mosquitoes-just hate them.

    For perfume-I don’t mind it. But it is a personal thing. If you wear it, the only people who should know are the ones you hug. If it is wafting down the street as you walk by then it is too much! And there are very few that I like…because most smell like industrial cleaners mixed with tequila to me. Sandalwood and the like are the only ones I care for. I don’t wear it often though. I work in a scent free environment.

    • OK, I’ll admit. Ticks gross me out. Part of why Australia scared me for so long!

      Yes! If you know someone is wearing perfume without hugging them, you are doing it wrong! Totally agreed!

    • Ticks. My father actually once caught one of the two illnesses they spread here. My sister’s been very careful with the repellent spray on our trips since then, which I’m grateful for, because it’s something I keep forgetting about myself (while I tend to remember to bring lots of water, so it’s a symbiotic relationship). They’re one of the few downsides to Czech Republic’s easy natural wanderings.

  3. Hari says

    OMG I live in Australia and a big YES to crossing the street so I don’t have to walk right in front of Lush!! I thought I was the only one! And it annoys me even more that they claim they’re so natural. Natural does not go straight up the sinuses and lodge into pain central in the brain! Phew I feel better unloading that. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Elise says

    I love perfume! When I was late-pregnant, and new-mom-fat-and-unshowered, I felt beautiful if I could at least smell good. I like perfume as I like wine: interesting and complex smells and flavors. Of course, a love of wine and perfume also means that you can respect the equally complex views of your friends: to provide non-alcoholic things for others and to tone down a perfume for a night at the theater, dinner, or home of a perfume-adverse person.

  5. I can’t do orange juice during events either, all of that sugar gets me tires and dries me out. It seems far below ideal for catering to offer it so frequently when someone asks for a non-alcoholic drink.

    Catering usually have orange juice because it’s a common enough item to be mixed into alcohol. I usually ask if they have cranberry juice for the same reason. (I love ginger beer but they almost never have it. Curse you catering, why don’t to you indulge the old man in me!) A fair amount have at least soda water and lime or lemon slices and I’ve seen a young DD get creative with them to make a homemade sprite. (No one was using the lime slices so the bar tender was very happy to be liberal about her request. )

    • Catering in NZ don’t have orange juice as a common mixer – they have it when they are serving a red and white wine, and it is the ONLY non-alcoholic option.

      At events where there is a mixer bar I have no problem – I get pineapple or cranberry, and there is almost always a soda to mix those with. And when even they are too acidic I get milk 😉

      But at least 80% of the kind of events I attend on a regular basis just have wines (red and white, sparkling, or champagne – depending on how fancy the event is) and orange juice (and I don’t know a lot about alcohol, but I’m pretty sure mixing wine and orange juice isn’t normal!).

      • Mixing orange juice and champagne is quite normal, Bucks Fizz. Or Mimosa apparently as I had to google it since I couldn’t remember what it was called.

        But I agree with you about it not being something I’d want to drink much of. With my arthritis I am supposed to avoid citrus anyway. Not even having plain tap water available would be totally unacceptable! Can you take your own at all? Like the teetotal version of a hip flask! 🙂

        Those centipedes sound horrendous. Fortunately in England ours are small and innocuous and don’t bite. Wasps, bees and midges are the worst bugs we get (unless something horrid comes in on imported bananas for example…)

        Also with you on the perfume. Luckily it doesn’t hurt me, but it does choke me and I can’t breathe if it’s too strong, especially some scents.

        For my number 5 today I feel like adding very loud blown air dryers in public toilets. With all the tiles, sinks and toilets with nothing softening the noise it is so loud that does hurt me. I would far rather have wet hands than use one myself, but in a busy one it is impossible to go in peace because of everyone else using them.

        I have far more than 5 pet peeves, that is just one I was reminded of last night when we visited a pub and I could hear it through the wall from outside!

  6. Caitlin says

    I get your pet peeve of centipedes. I still have nightmares about them (And I only spent elementary school in Hawaii!) my husband doesn’t understand why I run away from anything remotely looking like one here in TN. Lol.

  7. OMG, I love perfume, of most types. Recently my 17yo daughter and I were in the supermarket, she was at the other end of the isle to me. A guy walked past and I turned around because he smelled edible; seriously yum. My daughter had turned to watch my reaction as he walked past because she had the same reaction – she laughed and laughed.

    On the other hand the word ‘veggie/veggies’ completely gives me the irrits. Any early schooler will tell you that when you put 2 consonants together they say the short sound, like ‘g’ in ‘doggies’ or the ‘l’ in willies’. ‘Veges’ is short for vegetables, that was the derivation. Where the heck did this veggies come from and why have we adopted it? Its a killer I tell you, its insidious and all pervasive, wheedling its way into our lives. I blame those people who design packaged food. Not veggggggggies, its veges – CANNOT BELIEVE SPELLCHECK JUST CHANGED THAT! I’m better now, thanks for listening!

    • I have an aversion to the word “movie”. All my favourite films will be firmly referred to as films. I’ve eased up since my English beginnings, and especially flashy blockbusters will get referred to as movies these days, because it kind of fits there, but… I would never ever refer to Local Hero or Once Upon A Time In The West as movies.

      And an aversion to the word puzzle being pronounced the German way in Czech. The head-scratching part of that pet peeve is that I actually prefer the Czech pronunciation, which doesn’t have much in common with the original English, either!

  8. I use solid perfume from Pacific Perfumes – smells natural, rather than like a chemical plant, and while pleasant for the person wearing it, isn’t detectable to others unless they are right up close and personal, e.g. have their head on your shoulder.
    While I’m not a teetotaller myself, I agree with you on the orange juice situation. I don’t mind the odd glass of orange juice, but this isn’t even good orange juice!
    Now I want to try your suggestion of rhubarb and ginger cordial – sounds delicious! Any recommendations of where to find it?

  9. Hearthrose says

    I spent a year in China when I was a small child, and the non-alcoholic beverage of choice at state dinners and the like was chi-sue – which was this revoltingly sweet orange syrup “soda” – uh, it tasted as sweet as the syrup you make soda *out of*. When I finally coerced my parents to try some, they gave me a glass of beer instead. I was grateful, and very thirsty.

    (If you are wondering – as an adult I barely drink alcohol at all).


    (But I like perfume. Pity it makes my skin break out).

  10. I think you’ll find many Kiwis are a bit confused by the concept of non-alcoholic drinks for adults. 😉 I’d imagine the thought process goes something like: “non-alcoholic drinks? Is that, like, orange juice without the vodka?”

    I have never had a centipede bite, and I am grateful. It is obviously horrific.

    On the subject of free drinks at events, my pet hate is fizzy wine. A lot of people clearly enjoy it, but I think it tastes like a carbonated chemical spill. It doesn’t even matter what kind it is; I’ve had decent Moet, but I couldn’t taste any difference between that and a $10 supermarket brut.

    • I don’t like fizzy wine either. I quite like the taste of a sweet one like Asti Spumante, but I far prefer still drinks as fizz gives me terrible wind.

  11. Lauren says

    I totally hear you on the orange juice thing (I don’t even like it for breakfast though – or rather, it doesn’t like me). I have a similar feeling about orange and almond cake: it’s so often the only gluten free option for cake, which blows my mind because there are much cheaper gluten free cake recipes than one that uses heaps of almond flour. Blech.

  12. I totally agree with you on 1 — 3. And there are more people who cross the road to avoid Lush? Whew, good to know I’m not the only one.

  13. I avoid Lush, Body Shop and all perfume counters like the plague. They just stop my lungs working and frankly having a massive coughing fit til you turn lobster red in the middle of a shopping centre is a bit embarrassing! The really annoying thing is loads of apartment stores have them right by the entrance and to get to anywhere else in the store, ie the habadashery and fabric section you have to scuttle through holding your breath! It just smells so awful too by the time all the different things have mixed together- my nose is blocking up just thinking about it.

    Totally agree about orange juice as well, it’s never good orange juice but awful, pithy, made from concentrate battery acid!

    Very glad there are not evil centipedes in England they sound horrific!

  14. I feel vindicated, because your hatred of perfume is based on the same principles and much worse than mine. My predilection is that most perfume smells like perfume to me. My sister would get off on speeches about the various scents to be found in them, and I would think “It smells like perfume.” Since then, thanks to a serendipitious turn of events involving a Christmas gift card, I’ve found a scent that I like, bamboo eau de toilette (= not quite full-blown perfume, my sister tells me), which is very green and fresh and grassy; and, of course, my luck in these things being what it is, already discontinued. My sister got herself a green tea one, and they also made verbena, and I found all three nice and pleasant and fresh and green and not at all perfume-y. I’m throwing these out in case it may help you in finding a scent you could bear if you ever decide to brave it.

    Centipedes in my neck of the woods are a rare and harmless curiosity; I believe I’ve only seen one in my life, and that was a long time ago. (Wikipedia tells me Czech caterpillars don’t get bigger than 6 cm, so that’s about it.)
    Mosquitoes, though… yeah, they can go. Somewhere where they won’t keep waking up people who need to sleep with their constant yet only occasional whizzing. *eeeee*
    I have a thing for furry caterpillars. Especially brown ones. They’re like teddy bears of insects.

    I’m fine with orange juice, but you are quite correct about it not being a sustainable drink. Thankfully, water seems to be a fairly common and common-sense recourse here; flavoured mineral water in particular seems quite ubiquitous at any given gathering. And you can bet I notice that because it tends to be my drink of choice. I’ve never given it any thought, but I guess a rather long and proud tradition of local mineral waters does have its effects. Some people, like both my grandparents, would always have some mineral water at home to drink after their meals, rather than an alcoholic beverage; and this in the country (and even the city) famous for its beer!

  15. I used to cross the road to avoid Lush and avoided perfume counters and shops too. Then something REALLY weird happened. I changed the medication I had been on since I was 14. Among a whole bunch of other really odd changes…. my sense of smell changed too. No longer did those pongs make my head spin, my eyes weep blood (well, feel like it anyway), and inspire irrationally enraged thoughts to curdle my brains. I still don’t care much for them, but my reaction to the pong TOTALLY altered to the extent that I could tolerate it and actually walk near perfumed women or even through the counters with no more response than a “Oh, smellies. Ok then. Meh.”

    • That is fascinating! Irrational enraged thoughts is totally right! I’m so glad that they are easier for you to deal with.

      I’m not on any medications to change, so I’ll just keep sucking it up and avoiding half of Wellington’s shops 😉

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