Monday, December 07, 2009


Sometimes I wonder if I suffer from a form of OCD because I do have certain habits that I wish I could break and find myself unable to do so. I suppose I shouldn't really do posts about the less desirable parts of me but say, in about 40 years time when I can no longer remember what I was like, this might be a useful aide-memoire to remind me of my younger self.

My first ever memory of an obsession was having to be kissed eight times (four on each cheek) by both my parents before I went to bed - they must have been very loving and understanding. Even now I still love the shape that the 8 makes - who knows why kids develop these things?

As a young adult I used to crack my knuckles a lot and, even though it makes Mr FF wince, I still do it occasionally, admittedly usually during a row to (perhaps) emphasise how stressed I am becoming. I'm sure it can't be good for the finger joints but, for a nano-second, there is a very satisfying feeling in making one's bod make such a noise.

At night, when lying in bed, I also crack my left arm. I sort of flick it out and it makes this noise and I feel things slightly move around.I don't know how I first got the idea of doing this and I always tell myself it can't be doing me any good but yet I still carry on.

I get quite obsessional about my shoes, slippers or boots matching the top I am wearing. My mum drummed it into me when I was still very malleable that you should never wear more than three colours. The thing is that I can extend this ism to people around me and really really have to bite my tongue* when confronted with someone wearing lots of different hues, especially if the tones don't match.

Don't I sound ghastly.

Do you have any bloody annoying funny little tics like these?

*I once went to a wedding where the best man had a navy suit with brown shoes - I do not know to this day how I resisted saying something


Steve said...

I think most of us have some sort of "security ritual" that either relieves stress or makes us feel better. I did go through a true OCD cleaning phases for a while in my twenties which was horrible. I washed my hands so much the skin became brittle. It wasn't enjoyable. A job and lifestyle change sorted it out though. All that remains now is a need to double check that all is secure in the house when I leave for work each day but (hopefully) that is normal!

Lady Fi said...

Oh gosh - I'm probably an OCD's nightmare! I do need to know where my keys are though, and often check that they are in their usual place before I go up to bed...

I'm one of those people who just throw on colours and clothes in the morning without much thought, I'm afraid...

the fly in the web said...

I am now worried that I might not have any Lady Macbeth habits...I shall have to ask Mr. Fly, but will probably regret that. He is likely to tell me in detail.
An award for you over on mine, by the way.

Anonymous said...

My body makes all sorts of strange noises these days but none that I have any control over.

I tend towards one or two colours when dressing but that is partly because I am a lawyer and have stuck with the school uniform approach to office wear. You'd have had trouble biting your tongue if you had met Attila a few years ago! She's a red head with a penchant for bright colours and, ever since she was old enough to choose her own clothes, she has always dressed rather eccentrically. You wouldn't tnink that red, orange, purple and green went well together would you - but on a little stunner with appealing freckles it actually looked amazing. She has toned it down a bit these days but her dress sense still makes Lenin wince, though I just salute her effrontery.

Lulu LaBonne said...

Whenever I realise that I've got a habit I make an effort to change it only to realise that's it's popped out in another form somewhere else.

I used to work with a very style-concious gay man who always said that you musn't have more than two things happening on your head, i.e big earrings and a hat is ok but not if you wear glasses, I really notice people with over-busy heads now.

French Fancy said...

Steve - I once went out with a dentist who had to go back and check all was in order in his flat 5 times before he could drive off anywhere.

Fi - I bet you manage to look chick without effort then.

tfitw - I bet you've got at least one compulsion...or maybe not. Come back and tell me if you think of one

CA - on young people under 22 anything goes - even I rebelled against the three colour thing back then

Lu - well I wear specs but my earrings are usually the same day in day out - small platinum hoops or diamond studs. I think your gay friend might say my head fashion was under-stated.

French Fancy said...

Fi - hark at me with the *chick* - I blame speaking in French

Kathy said...

Hi there FF, thank you so much for your sweet comments, I was amazed how that grape photo came out considering the amount of wine that was consumed.
It sounds like there is a lot of clicking going on at your place haha, we all have certain 'things' we do, my friend Lynn (in the UK)at work used to be so obsessed about the guys shoes and socks being mismatched that we honestly must have spent more time discussing that, than actually working at that time, she would have told that best man off for sure :-). Hope you have a wonderful week. Can you believe it's snow in the bay area, Whoo Hoo. hugs, Kathy.

the fly in the web said...

Reply from Mr. Fly. I knew I shouldn't have asked him.
I have to do the washing up before I leave the house...even when he is rushing me off on some last minute escapade.

A Super Dilettante said...

You are not the only one in that OCD category, my dear. I think I'm also Obessed. I have to check my oven if it's switched off or not a million times before I leave the house. I think I'm turning into my mother. That's what she used to do (even in the middle of her sleep at night, she would walk into her kitchen with her rollers in her hair to check if the gas is turned off). It's fascinating you mention about figure 8. In my country, genteel people used to write 8 in a cup when they stir their sugar before the drink tea so that it doesn't make a vulgar tinkling sound. I've been taught to do that since I was young. So when I'm stirring my soup, I always write number 8 with my spoon. Of course, all my friends think I am cracking up!

bindu said...

I've had lots of habits over the years like these - OCD ones, and each time I realized how obsessive they were, I worked hard to get rid of them. Unfortunately, when one went out the door, another took its place. :)

Angie Muresan said...

I don't touch doorknobs without a tissue or gloves on, hate shaking hands, an repeatedly check to make sure I've locked the door and haven't left the oven on before going to bed. My husband is very annoyed about all of them, but oh well. Makes me feel tons better.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh I have all sorts of weird tics. Mostly surrounding cleaning -- not the regular old tidying up but methods of disinfecting counters after cutting raw meat. I get those from my mother.

Actually, what's funny is my sisters and I are all that way to a degree. When I was butchering the turkey for Thanksgiving, one of my sisters started to say something out of her own concern but then stopped herself and said, "Oh, never mind. You're Mom's child."

Ken Devine said...

Nope! I'm perfect...hang on, no I will not touch toilet door handles or push plates and will use my little finger to pull the door open when finished.

I'm even getting very uneasy about toilet seats and HATE people who don't wash their hands.

Oh no, there's more!

Mark said...

As a child we used to play this game we called 'evens'

The game as, whatever you did with one hand/ foot you had to do with other - so open a door with right hand, next door with left; step off pavement with left foot, next pavement with right foot. It also applied to eating (side of mouth) looking (one eye then the other) - as mad as you could make it.

It used to get more an more complicated and bizarre. Once a day you could start afresh.

Strange how I think about that now

Owen said...

Guess we're all just nervous wrecks most of the time... I've been getting a bit compulsive about blogging for the past year or so, just can't seem to stay away for long... but it's soooo much fun !

And I wish I was a little more compulsive about cleaning my glasses, as usually I can barely see through them by the time I get around to cleaning them...

Do you think it's serious, docteur ?

Phil Lowe said...

Are you sitting comfortably? Well, I'll begin.

I'll check the front door at least twice when I go out and am often convinced I've left it unlocked further in the day.

I injured my right wrist years back doing doing heavy clay soil gardening and it clicks now. I often find myself rotating the wrist (painfully) and shaking out the discomfort. My knees also 'crack' as I bend down and my kneck cricks as I rotate my head.

I also have the capacity to carry mini dramas around in my head which take a fair while to go away. They are usually me having it out with someone who has pissed me off.

Other than that...

Laura Jane Williams said...

I make my mama kiss me four times- twice on each cheek- in a French stylee every time I see her- just because I think it's funny. I once bore witness to a French family of five enter a house having to greet another French Famiy of five, all distributing the necessary four kisses. By the time they'd all finished, it was time for them to go again.

Four kisses to my mama when I see her is my ode to them. Fortuitously, it makes her laugh, not cringe.


French Fancy said...

Kathy - it's funny the things that bug us or take hold off us in some way. You see quite a lot of Frenchmen with white socks and I just don't know how they can go there

tfiwb - that's not such a bad habit really because at least you return to a tidy kitchen. Glad you came back to reveal:)

ASD - isn't that funny about the figure 8. I actually squiggle 8's all over the place. I must say to stir your tea without making a noise is a sign of breeding - I think I've read about it in those olde worlde books about etiquette. I think certain things from another age are charming

bindu - I tried hard last night not to make my left arm crack and I did in fact resist. You have proved that habits can be broken and I'm going to try hard - before my arm gets broken

Angie - we all do what works for us. I can see the logic in not wanting to touch knobs and handles that others have touched. I once met someone who put all her small change in the microwave every day to try and neutralise the germs.

ContemTroub - that sort of thing is hygenic sense. I've got all my colour coded chopping boards but the thing is that Mr FF forgets what each colour means and muddles the system. Good on your mum for brainwashing you all - it's far more useful to be programmed for that than for not wearing more than three colours

Ken - it all makes perfect hygenic sense. As for the germ-laden French toilets, we won't even go there - literally and figuratively

Mark - yes it is funny how the memories come to the fore sometimes when a trigger - such as this post - is applied. It happens to me regularly these days, ever since beginning this freewrite lark.

Owen - Oh blogging is a good habit, it's therapy, brain dumping

Hello Laura - it's been a while and I love the thought of you doing cheek kisses with your mum. Yes, our neighbours and friends here do that when arriving and sometimes (but not always) when leaving. It does take ages

Elise said...

Found for thought, certainly ! thank you

LadyFi said...

LOL! I probably do look more chick than chic... ;-)

Don't worry about your comment - everyone tells me I have frightful colour + clothes sense.. I like to think of it as my unique style!

Suburbia said...


cheshire wife said...

I am with you on the brown shoes. I was brought up to carry a handbag that was the same colour as my shoes. I soon stopped that when I changed bags and forgot to move my credit card. I had not heard the thing about not wearing more than three colours together, but it does make sense.

These days I seem to be too busy to have any funny little habits.

Angie Muresan said...

Hahaha! I just read your response to my comment and I am cracking up over the person microwaving her change. You're right, whatever it takes, we'll do.
Thank you for the lovely compliment on my family. And regarding the question of where the torture took place, it was in Romania. My grandparents, Austrian Jews, left Vienna in 1940, hearing that the situation was much better for Jews in Romania, and for a while it was good, but the communist government turned it's back on them in the 1950's. But in all fairness, it wasn't just the Jews that were targeted, it was the entire educated population that dared question the regime.

French Fancy said...

Elise - maybe it's best not thinking too much about some of these habits on here though - wouldn't want to set you off :)

Ladyfi - I'd never say to someone I thought they had frightful dress sense. After all what I wear is not to everyone's taste :)

Phil - so sorry to have missed you squashed up at the top there. Isn't it satisfying making bits of one's body click? Although, having said that, I've gone three nights in a row now without clicking my left arm.

Suburbia - we're all sorted now

cheshire wife - yes, when younger and more elegant I also used to match bags, shoes, gloves and sometimes hats. I sound a bit pretentious but I just went through a lot of phases and trying to dress 'top drawer' was part of it and is the reason I was unable to save money - ever

Angie - this is a subject close to my heart (not microwaving small change) and I'm coming over to discuss it further. Get the kettle on

Brother Tobias said...

I don't know if I'm OCD or my family extraordinarily laid back. If they drop a biscuit or something they invoke 'the five second rule' - if it's been on the ground less than that it's still edible. They seem to thrive.

Dumdad said...

I was wrong about the lentils! The Frog Queen explains in a comment on my post if you're interested.

French Fancy said...

BroTob - I can tell it's not a doggy household - drop something here and you've got two doggy mouths racing for it

dumdad - on my way dumdaddy dum dum

Susie Vereker said...

I'm a little obsessive about not wasting (some) things. I get annoyed if the jam isn't used up to the last half teaspoon or if people (i.e. men) toast the fresh bread rather than the old. Silly things like that.
Three colours? That's interesting. Must check myself out on that one. But since I left France I'm not half so fussy. I was in a constant agony of worry about my appearance when I lived in Paris.

Anonymous said...

I always have an overwhelming urge to tidy the magazines at the doctors and dentists.


Elizabeth said...

Well, you were admirable
when you did not comment on the suit/shoes
what a hideous faux pas
did he do it on purpose like
chalk on a blackboard?
How clever to crack your arm

Does anyone else out there like taking lint out of the clothes dryer filter

oh well, we all need our little pleasures in life
season's greetings

Anonymous said...

FF - re your comment on my last post - Justme's new blog address is

Rob-bear said...

Doesn't sound like OCD to me. Sounds more like terminal humanity.

Have fun in the process.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

FF, I try to avoid my OCD tendencies... As a child my dad used to carry me up to bed and I used to have to touch the top of the landing with my right hand and then, when he tucked me in, I had to say a ritual saying about the temperature, to make sure I would get a good night's sleep... Odd, n'est-ce-pas?

So, I keep a very untidy desk at work, I'm not obsessive about cleaning, although always adhere to hygienic practices otherwise!

As for colours that I wear, probably best not to ask!

And clicks? Neck and knees, wrist when I rotate it and I think my shoulder sort of dislocates and rotates oddly when I stretch out my right arm... We're all doomed!

Great, thought-provoking post, FF! Fab, as always... xox

Lane said...

So interesting. And yes, interesting to look back on when we're too busy being OCD to remember:-)

I have a thing about my handbag, having to know exactly where it is at all times. I can't leave the house without checking gas, windows and double checking I've got keys. But - I think these are sort of 'staying in control things' because I know the pandemonium a slip up would cause.

One of my daughters can't bear wonky curtains so I leave them skew whiff just to annoy her.

Anonymous said...

Brown shoes and navy blue suit is unforgiveable. When I was a kid I had physical tics and rituals galore, but they seem to have passed with adulthood.

However, I am obsessive about language usage and errors and I have to gird my loins to keep from pointing out gaffes. My wife, highly educated, has a habit of using the word 'crises' when referring to a singular crisis. It drives me mad, though I have never pointed it out to her, just to maintain the peace.

French Fancy said...

Susie - I go through phases with using up the ends of things but also am guilty of sometimes opening things before the old one has been finished. Not very consistent, that's me.

NWBD - I hate crooked things as well and have been known to straighten pictures on people's walls. I just *have* to do it.

Elizabeth - why would anyone wear brown shoes with a navy suit? This question stayed with me for quite a long time after, especially as he stood on a stage to make his speech. I looked around (subtly) and nobody else even seemed to notice.

CA - my thanks for that

Nora Johnson said...

Dear FF!
Just briefly stopping by with my very best wishes for Xmas and the New Year! Can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you & your terrific posts since my last visit - but hope to see you very soon back at my place where I’ve just posted my latest Christmas Lola Lifeline! All the best & see you again soon!


日月神教-向左使 said...