Monday, May 9, 2011


Ask a Spider

My only problem with anything posted on your site is the spiders! And I've only ever seen two (but both recently!) pictures on the front page, but seriously — mini heart attack both times! Is there any way there could maybe not be spiders on the main page? Like maybe instead there could be a picture of the word spiders warning us poor arachnaphobes of what's inside?

Oh jeez.

For the love of god, please stop with the spiders. I beg of you.

You know what? Honestly, I sense that what you're feeling isn't so much genuine dread as it is the relishing of an opportunity to be melodramatic about your own special fears. You're afraid of spiders. You are. More than anyone! It is a picture of a spider. It is a picture of a spider on a website.

And yeah, it occurred to me that arachnophobia might be truly problematic for some people, and I might be being insensitive. But then again we all have phobias, no? For instance, I live in fear of getting squished to death if I forget to get out of this woman's shoe in time. Literally a day doesn't pass. I also live in fear that she'll wake up while I'm eating the chapstick off her lips at night. I also live in fear that she'll shower so thoroughly my babies won't come to term in the [clickety clickety clickety] where I laid them. And so forth. But I don't let my fears govern me. That being said, I don't want to drive people away, so maybe we can arrange some kind of "after the jump" type thing. But also. You guys.

I'm insanely arachnophobic! Please stop posting scary spider pix! I can't shriek in horror at my desk!

Hmm. I've seen a lot of relationships blossom — admittedly, outside the workplace — when a woman flipped out over a bug and the person she was dating took care of it for her. Sort of an unexpected, sexually alluring dynamic shift. Maybe. Maybe I'm making that up, who knows.

And this is kind of a sad story, but whatever. I once had a friend named Jennifer who lived in a New York apartment with a female blogger. It was just the two of them, and they became exceptionally close. I mean, Jennifer became close to the blogger — for the longest time the blogger wasn't even aware that a spider was sharing the space with her. But it was cool, because Jennifer felt like her attachment to the blogger was strong enough to make up for ... well, if not everything than a lot. Who knows — that may have been her first mistake. Days, weeks, months passed. Jennifer became so familiar with the blogger's routines that she eventually felt confident she could reach out to her. To break the silence, I guess, and present herself in a way that let the blogger know she wasn't just some random spider but a kindred spirit. And she knew from all her many days of quiet observation that the blogger was particularly fond of white wine, so one day she snuck into the refrigerator.

What happened next is so much of a mystery to me that I still don't know what truly went down. But my friend Jennifer found the blogger's white wine, and then found a way to crawl underneath the wine bottle — Jennifer was about an inch and a half all spread out, with lots of thin legs, a stout body, and a little bit of fur — and lie down in that indentation at the bottle's bottom. And this was, like, a flat surface, not some wire rack. She honestly found a way to slip between a solid shelf and a glass bottle. I don't know how she did it, but she was amazing and truth is stranger than fiction. Anyway, minutes turned into hours, hours into maybe a day, and ... Jennifer passed away.

The blogger found her the next evening when she went to pour herself a glass of wine. She screamed for almost a minute, then took a paper towel, picked Jennifer up, and squished her. Even though she was already dead. She squished my friend just so she could hear her body crumple. And I would have thought she'd be too upset to drink, based on the things Jennifer had told me about her, but she was not.

92 Comments / Post A Comment


...and now my day has been made.

birah r.

*slowest clap*


Best Hairpin Post Ever


I still hate you, A Spider.


@juliannasays Me too.


So that story about Jennifer is one for the books.

constant reader

@applestoapples was anybody else wondering how our humble spider knew what happened to jennifer's body (ha, jennifer's body) after the female blogger found her? because jennifer didn't live to tell the story. maybe there were other spiders around who witnessed it and passed it on through the web (ha, web) or maybe our spider is lying, I don't know. I don't really trust spiders, to be completely honest, though this one seems pretty down to earth with a good sense of humor.


I die.


@cherrispryte i died @ this....wake up while I'm eating the chapstick off her lips at night.

noooooo!! how dare you, spider!! how fucking DARE YOU!!


Why isn't A Spider wearing sunglasses??


@DorothyMantooth The most important important question of all.


@DorothyMantooth: I believe A Pigeon was similarly not adorned. Difficult to find Frogskins in those sizes.

Zombie Cucumber

@DorothyMantooth @DorothyMantooth You try finding a pair with eight lenses!


@DorothyMantooth Or smoking a cigarette? A Spider on the homepage smoking a cigarette would almost make up for there being A Spider on the homepage.

miss marie

I think this has to be my favorite post ever. let's all have some white wine in memory of Jennifer!


@miss marie Already on it! Spiders are nice they eat the bad animals.

tea tray in the sky.

Urg, what did I say last spider post about my rampant anthropomorphism?! This can't be healthy!


@Twinkle Little Bat How should I know I didn't read it!

tea tray in the sky.

@shenannies Then I guess you're outta luck.


People are so scared they can't see an image of a spider on a computer screen? Really?

The other thing is the spiders on here have been AWESOME -- dancing? Self-inflating peacock displays? I love them, and whoever has curated this small spider selection deserves a gold star.

Hot mayonnaise

@itmakesmewonder: You sound like your are a spider. I squoosh in your general direction.


@Hot mayonnaise It's true. I am a spider.


@itmakesmewonder Yes. I get a bolt of nauseated terror. An actual physical sensation.


@itmakesmewonder Yeah there's a difference between what the Nyeh-agh-spider-that's-so-gross-bleh feeling most people get when looking at spiders and the holy-shit-that-is-evil-and-terrifying-I-can't-fucking-breathe feeling that people with legitimate arachnophobia get.

Everybody says "Oh I'm so arachnophobic!" No, you're afraid of spiders, just like 7 billion other people. Some people actually have a phobia, and it can give them panic attacks and it's serious.



Dear A Spider,

Should I be putting eyeliner on all eight of my eyes, or should I just pick, like, two of them and really go to town?


@MollyculeTheory How To Be A Spider

A Spider

@MollyculeTheory You want to emphasize the eyes on the ends, so use the heaviest hand on those, with decreasing amounts as you approach the center eyes.


@thatsrealbutter Ask a Spider Dude. "Sometimes when I'm hooking up with a guy my spinnerets kind of shoot out a little bit of silk. Is this normal or a dealbreaker?"


@MollyculeTheory What I really want is Spider Doll News


@MollyculeTheory I laughed so hard at this a little bit of silk shot out...


@MollyculeTheory: You're a female spider: everything you do shy of eating me (um, not the good kind of eating me) is fine. But, yes, that is gross. But not so gross that you should, um, have me for dinner.

Lily Rowan

Best comment thread ever? Possibly.


@Lily Rowan I assume you mean best comment SILK ever? Right? RIGHT????

Lily Rowan

@Olivia2.0 HAHAHAHA!! <3

Setec Astrology

The Best Time I Snuck Under a Bottle of White Wine in the Refrigerator.

Internet Girl

@Setec Astrology

The Best Time Someone Wrote a Letter To The Editor About Blogging Photos Of Arachnids.


Dear Spider, Compared to the other things I have had to deal with in the last 4 years of renting in a city (roommates included) you are a non-issue.

Last night I saw one of you scurry across the floor and screamed until I realized you weren't a roach, and laughed.

Note to eds: spider photos yay, but bedbug photos haunt my days AND nights. Please no.

constant reader

I'm not gonna lie, I hate these spider posts. I can't look directly at the pictures, I just look to the side of the screen and scroll down until they're gone. but this was the best thing ever. only the hairpin, man.


@constant reader Same. Same. Same. Which is why The Hairpin Rules. Nowhere else could I find actual pleasure in a post about spiders.




I was in a long-distance relationship through most of college. One evening while talking with my ladyfriend and wandering around my apartment, playing with a pen, I absentmindedly dipped the pen into a unused bolt hole in the bedframe. A small but burly spider bolted out and ran up the pen toward my hand. I do not exactly remember what happened in the next fifteen seconds, but it definitely involved dropping the phone.

When I picked it up again, there was a contemplative silence on the other end, and then... "I never thought I'd say this, but you have figured out how to shriek like a man."


@Multiphasic i was reading to fast and read "unused butt hole" and thought WHOOAA!!....but then i re-read, as one is wont to do and the issue corrected itself..bravo on the man shriek!

Hero of the Beach

A Spider, you can sit beside my tuffet any day.


Down in Florida my dad smacked a big spider on the wall, turns out she was pregnant and with the swat a million little baby spiders came out! Also once I put a wine bottle over a cockroach, three days later I moved it and the little bastard was still kicking! They are impossible to kill.


@shenannies You can kill them . . . By standing on them abruptly . . . With your shoes.


@shenannies ARGGGGGGGHHHHHHH that is the most horrible thing bleh bleh bleh *gnaws at wrists*


please please please! more more more!


Best Ask a Spider ever (so far).


A spider!

How depressing is it when people destroy your webs? I always figured it would be pretty depressing after you've put all that work in, but maybe you appreciate the chance to redecorate without the partially-digested fly bits that you couldn't quite scrub off?


also, daddy-long-legses: super creepy, am i right?


@cee Ask a Clean Spider


Dear A Spider: I love seeing you outside doing your thing. One of my favorite insect memories ever was watching a deer fly get trapped in your friend Bob's web, and Bob zipping down and wrapping it up in the space of 10 seconds. Awesome.

However, spiders in my house are well advised to get out. Quickly.

Love ya,


thank you, A Spider. buncha adult babies on the internet, eh?


I'm more than willing to never return to my favorite website so long as spider photos keep appearing before the jump. So... you win, spider?


Well, you're certainly not the winner in that scenario.


HA! Just don't put up a picture of a house centipede, okay? Then I'm going to turn into one of those adult babies I was just laughing about.


So one time, my mom and dad were at my sister's place when this fucking huge spider comes running out of the bathroom, and my mom shrieks "Get some toilet paper!!!" and my Dad says "What, you want me to wipe its arse?!" My Dad's the best.


Dear A Spider,

Please thank whichever one of your relatives saved my mother's life that one time.

Love all day,

Hero of the Beach

@cherrispryte Is your mother Wilbur the Pig?


@cherrispryte No, but she did play Charlotte in a community theatre production of Charlotte's Web several decades ago? The spider life-saving incident is completely unrelated.


@cherrispryte What happened??


@cherrispryte: Yes, Cherri, don't leave us hanging!


Dear A Spider,

I've always really liked your kind. When you would infest my old apartment sending my roommates into fits of sheer terror, I would always scoot ya'll into a little cup and gently place you on the window sill, because I don't have anything against you. But a few years ago, one of your friends bit me while I was sitting in a lecture, and I fainted because I was mildly allergic to them. Do you know who it was? Do you know how I wronged them? Couldn't they have written me a letter, the way you have instead of just getting in my face about it?


Also, sorry for that other time when I peed on one of your other buddies. It was really late at night and I wasn't paying attention, but in my defense, he was kind of being a sick fuck hanging out in my toilet.


This is why I <3 the hairpin.

A Serious Arachnaphobe

Leo Smoot

Your friendly neighborhood spider blogger.


I think the problem with the tragic refrigerator story was that the "blogger" went too long without finishing off the wine bottle. moderation kills...

Queen of Pickles

I like this better than chocolate. Maybe better even than old books with interesting smells. I just - there isn't stuff like this anywhere else but here.

happy go lucky scamp

i'm australian, so spiders i can handle.

it was the pigeon that scared me.
(yes i am afraid of birds, yes i am aware that makes me hilarious)

Jolie Kerr

@sparkles There's a name for people like us: Peristerophobics.


Is it their scratchy clutchy little claws?

Jolie Kerr

@spiralbetty Ugh that and also the flapping and the filth. God. I hate them so so so so so much.


@Jolie Kerr If you let a bird sit on your finger, their little claws are warm.

/laughs evilly

Jolie Kerr

@spiralbetty Fuck you, Betty.


@Jolie Kerr :>


@Jolie Kerr: Is there a name for those of us who love birdwatching but feel faintly nauseous at the idea of getting close to one or (heaven forbid) owning one? Urgh. Time for a Tums.

Jolie Kerr

I'm actually glad I missed this yesterday because it was such a delight to read while enjoying my morning coffee. Amazing. (Also: TEAM SPIDERS)


@Twinkle Little Bat How should I know I didn't read it!


The folks with arachnophobia are the nut allergy people of the internet.


I had a "pet"--well, more of a "companion" spider who lived behind the mirror in my bathroom. When I ran the water in the sink, I would be sure to splash some up near the mirror. My companion would emerge to drink from a droplet. We would hang out there in the bathroom, me brushing my teeth, the spider drinking, and then part for the day.

I had to sell my house (a little 50s hill-country abode with lots of casement windows) last summer, and the people who bought it tore it down so they could build a McMansion on the lot. I'm pretty sure the spider got out okay.


@Lauri I have a companion spider, too! She lives under the lip of the bathtub, so I make sure to take very wide steps when I get in and out. At first I tried to get my boyfriend to kill her, but he had formed a bond by throwing ants in the web and watching her eat them. Now I have a grudging respect for our spider, and I always try to sweep and mop around her little area. There is a little triangle of filth at the corner of the tub because of this.
How crazy does this make me sound? I hope not too much.


@BigSteve Oh. My. Goddddd.


@BigSteve Oddly enough, my companion window sill spider's name is Steve. All my companion spiders are named Steve.


@BigSteve Not at all crazy! But consider--this is me you're talking to. I salute your enlightenment. I hope your spider leads a long and fulfilling life. You and the bf, too.

Laura K.

I am keeling over with that slient, shaky, at-work style laughter. Oh wow. Nice job, Spider.

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

You know, I had arachnophobia when I was younger. It was a light enough case, but I still qualified for a study being done at my university's psych department. And you know what gets you over arachnophobia? LOOKING AT PICTURES OF SPIDERS. Please, no "after the jump." Let's make this a place of growth.

(Oh, and then you look at rubber spiders, and then you hold your hand over a tank containing a picture of a spider, and then a rubber spider, and then a real spider, until by the end you're using a tarantula like a loofah, in case you're looking for a little DIY treatment.)


@Autumn Whitefield-Madrano Oh, my god. The idea of doing ALL OF THESE THINGS is painful. I don't want to get over my fear of spiders THAT MUCH.

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

@martinipie I also had to recite all these statements about spiders while they measured my vitals. "I often dream about spiders." "If I saw a spider in the shower, I would know exactly what to do." But hey, now I can see them and not scream, so!

Josh Mittleman

As amusing as it may sound to many people, Arachnophobia–the fear of spiders, is a traumatizing reality for millions of Americans and people worldwide.If you or someone you know personally has this phobia, then it should be brewing in your mind to find the answers that bring freedom from this evil web of fear.Even though to the phobic it may seem impossible at first, the fear of spiders, like most fears, can most certainly be overcome.
To read more, go on to the following link:


Arachnophobia is likely the most common phobia in this country. I used to keep tarantulas and had a shed molt about 8" across, sitting on my dresser. A phobic person sharing the same house as me refused to even enter the room, just because of the molt.

Ironically, if all the humans dropped dead tomorrow, the world's ecology would benefit greatly, whereas if all the spiders dropped dead tomorrow, herbivorous insects would promptly eat most of the plants, resulting in immediate ecological collapse. Oh, and those insects that spread diseases? Spiders keep them in line, too.

What fools ye mortals be...

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