I’ve been leading a double life. I’ve got a shameful, grubby secret that I have only divulged to some of my best friends and it’s fair to say their reactions have been fairly derisory. Which is rich, because some of them are weird as fuck.
The thing is, I’ve inadvertently become a part of an online community.
I’m not even talking about Twitter or Facebook, where people go to post flattering pictures of their face, tits, abs, legs, or kids, and act like they’re an authority on life. Neither is it warlock forums, irresolvable political sites, or a cyber group of sexual specialist enthusiasts.
I have this whooshing ear noise when I lie down, so I need to listen to music when I go to sleep. I started finding my impeccable taste in music was making me want to move instead of sleep at night so I had to find something different. As I said, my music taste is nothing short of spectacular, therefore I would never be comfortable listening to say – Enya. Even my Jazz and low-key Hip and Trip Hop tastes were likely to make me want to fuck, rather than kip.
I turned to YouTube. I thought of things that relaxed me – massages and facials – and watched videos of people doing this in a bid to drift off. There was a major stumbling block though. A lot of these videos were of people with shrill and commanding voices, slapping clients on the back with cupped hands and generally fucking up my chilled out chi.
However, while perusing these videos, I chanced upon a person massaging and whispering. You didn’t even have to look at the video! You just heard a person whispering about massaging – I appreciate this is sounding resolutely sexual – for twenty minutes or so and… kip.
At this point it was called the Whispering Community. Again, I’m not really doing myself any favours here in assuaging the oddbod title.
The Whispering Community consists of mostly female (the men do sound a bit Jeffrey Dahmer to me, but each to their own), young women whispering to camera.
This is where it gets even weirder. Although I started out listening to videos about massage, the range of video topics are wide. There are many role play videos, where the video maker pretends she is talking to you (the viewer) and you engage in a hushed conversation where she might pretend to give you a makeover (even going so far as to wipe cosmetic brushes across the front of your camera, making out that it is your face), or even dental appointments.
The Whispering Community coined the phrase: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR. Members of the ASMR Community claim they feel tingles from hearing people whisper, or from certain noises (such as paper bags being crinkled), or from watching someone doing something methodically (like carve and paint a wooden box), or gently (such as someone rubbing hand cream into their hands or brushing their hair slowly). These tingles have not been scientifically proven, the term ASMR has been established purely online by bloggers and video makers, and everybody experiences these tingles in different parts of their body (although usually head and scalp), most agreeing that the tingles are in no way sexual. I don’t get the tingles. Let me make that clear.
But I do listen/ watch these videos every night before sleeping and find it hard to sleep without them. Some of the most notorious ASMR videos have over a million hits, and now they have binaural microphones allowing the video makers to whisper in each ear individually.
So that’s my confession, but if it’s wrong to listen to a teenage girls whispering simulating cleaning my ears (honest) or giving me a fake haircut, until I go to sleep, then I don’t want to be right.