My girlfriend won’t stop biting me. She calls it “cute aggression”. To her credit, it’s a real thing. It’s when you want to crush, squeeze, punch, or eat excessively adorable things. Working against her: it doesn’t have much to do with biting a very full-grown, very hairy, very un-cute boyfriend.
In a piece in NPR, Katherine Stavropoulos, a psychologist at UC Riverside, explains that triggers for cute aggression are things like “big cheeks, big eyes, small noses – all these features we associate with cuteness.”
The thing is, I have flat cheeks, small eyes, and an awkwardly huge nose. So what’s my girlfriend’s problem? Once I’d ruled out cute aggression, I googled: “Why does my girlfriend bite me?” I found an article titled ‘Do you bite the people you love?’, which sounds like it should be question #7 on the Myers-Briggs ‘Are You A Fucking Cannibal?’ Personality Test (or the MBAYAFCPT). Now, let’s see here… “Raise your hands if you have ever wanted to gobble up a baby— ” Oh, hell, what weird rabbit hole is this?
It reminded me of a story my cousin told me about living in Missouri. He said sometimes he sits up late at night alone, holding his baby kitten. Then, when he gets stressed, he picks the kitten up and places its entire head in his mouth. Maybe that has nothing to do with cute aggression. Maybe it has more to do with my cousin. Or Missouri.
The article went on:
“So, in case you wanted to take a bite off your newborn nephew, [sic] rest assured you have not gone cuckoo. In fact, this desire to nibble on puppies and newborns (or anything you love) actually has a name – cute aggression.”
I would just like to point out – in case scientists haven’t gotten around to it – that just naming something doesn’t make it not cuckoo. Speaking of scientists, let’s pretend cute aggression is a thing, and take a more scientific approach to figuring out if my girlfriend has cute aggression, or is, as I suspect, a cleverly disguised Armie Hammer. First, I need to ask questions and log my observations.
Question 1: Am I doing something particularly cute when she bites me?
No. Mostly, I am sitting there, leg out, trying, per usual, to look sexy as fuck. We might be talking about something in the news, the state of the world, or the latest viral Reddit meme – nothing cute. Then, the conversation might hit a little lull, I’ll take a drink, smile dashingly, and she will lean over and take a huge zombie bite out of my inner thigh.
Question 2: Is she biting specifically cute parts of my body?
Again, not to my knowledge. She is an equal opportunity biter: inner thigh, outer thigh, shoulders, arms, hands, back, neck, even toes! None of these parts of me are cute. They are all hairy – not furry, not soft. Let me be clear, I am not covered in cute kitten fur , I am covered in the stuff you find in your kebab right before demanding a refund: coarse, black, curly, angry hair.
In light of these observations, I have developed some theories about her behavior in order of likelihood.
Theory 1: She is a cowardly cannibal.
This is my main theory. I am not cute. I am, as previously stated, sexy as fuck. So, what other motivation could a non-zombie human have for biting another human so much? Cannibalism, obviously. I’ve thought about broaching this subject before. Sometimes we’ll be eating chicken and I’ll see a piece that looks particularly finger-like. I’ll casually ask, “So, do you want that one?” And she’ll say, “No, you have it.” And I’ll say, “Are you sure? It looks like the tastiest one!” and she’ll smile, look at me lovingly, and then bite my face.
Theory 2: She is a noncontagious zombie.
Because of the pandemic, we don’t see a lot of other people so I can’t get a second opinion on this theory. The only time she bit me multiple times in public, our friends said, “Aw, you guys are so cute.” This has only reaffirmed my recent suspicion that no one has a goddamn clue what ‘cute’ means anymore. My zombie theory has been making headway because, in recent weeks, she’s started biting my head. Yes, hair and all. So, either, unbeknownst to me, there is a pair of cute button eyes beneath my flowing, unwashed locks… or she is developing a taste for brains.
Theory 3: I actually am (somehow) cute.
Look, I sometimes pick my nose. I want to get that out of the way because I know you were thinking, “He can’t be cute because sometimes he picks his nose.” Out of respect for my girlfriend, I give this theory the most thought. Sometimes, after she leaves, I’ll check all the bruised spots and try to identify what is cute about them. Hmmm, blindingly pale thigh meat, shoulders of a 16-year-old girl in her awkward phase, undercooked love handles, the butt of an underfed baboon, arms of a runner, legs of a computer programmer, rolled in super glue and peppered with pubes (bake for 31 years at 350°). God hadn’t been grocery shopping in a while when s/he made me.
Sexy? Absolutely. Cute? I’m not buying it. Honestly, I think my cutest feature is my nipples. Yet, those candied little nuggets are probably the only part of my body she hasn’t nibbled on. (This fact alone disproves the cute aggression theory.)
Having considered each theory carefully, I think we can all agree: my girlfriend is probably a cannibal. You might ask, “Why would you stay with a cannibal?” To which I’d say, “Because I am very happy and, in a flesh-frenzied emergency, she is small enough for me to throw very far without breaking my debutante wrists.”