Why I hate moths

Posted: July 1, 2012 in life
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hate is a strong word. I don’t use it often, and the reason for that is to ensure that it holds its power, so when I do use the word (and prime yourself, gentle reader, I’m about to) it really means something. Hate is a strong word, but capitalised it’s even stronger. Capitalised, in 22 point bold Helvetica font, underlined thrice, and projected on to the Houses of Parliament like Gail Porter‘s arse, is stronger still. The thing I HATE is moths.

I hate them. They’re the “racism” of the insect world. They are more virus than butterfly. More dust than flesh. And I know that because I’ve killed a moth. Many. I’ve smacked them into walls, where they bruise the magnolia paint, the back of the door a vertical cemetery. I caught one in my fist as it zoomed from a coat sleeve, and I’ve drowned one under a tap. And though I’m not proud of it, I will kill again.

They come at night. They come at night like the memories of saying stupid things at parties that fly around your head until dawn, but worse, because they’re hungry. How can something the size of dandruff have an appetite like that? What kind of god threatens pandas with extinction but leaves the clothes moth alive? And not just alive but thriving, multiplying in the armpits of my favourite jumpers. Their hunger knows no bounds. They’re like me at 1.15pm on a Monday. They chew through cashmere like it’s banoffee, through sleeves, through hems, through button holes and silk. I hang sticky pheromone-coated sheets in cupboards, and cedar wood blocks, and bags of lavender, and they take pleasure in avoiding being caught. They see them, I think, as a madcap obstacle course, their own Total Wipeout.

My friend took her granddad’s suit out of a wardrobe recently to find the entire crotch eaten away. Which made me realise that not only are they menaces, moths are also perverts. They are my nemeses. I can’t help but feel they are eating through my wardrobe out of spite, as if I was mean to them at primary school and they’re working through a grudge. Surely they can’t need all that sustenance. Vintage dresses can’t taste that good. They certainly don’t smell great.

I picture the moths sprawled like tiny Henry VIIIs in the collar of one of my favourite coats, holding threads in their wing-hands, gnawing them like drumsticks and calling for another topless wife. Every day is Christmas Day in the world of the clothes moth – a feast of fine knits and a little rest before pudding. I hate them.

There is something cathartic about venting this hate. I spend much of my life being nice – about 60-75% of it at the last count, up to 80% in warmer months – so there is some dark pleasure in both voicing my detestation and then following through with a short, sharp slap against a clean wall. Except, pleasing as it is to take action, my plight never ends. The dusty corpses gather, notches on a murderous bedpost, but so, too, do the moths, multiplying in their tens, flying slowly past my shoulder as if drunk on dresses.

They’re worse than other pests. They get you where it hurts – they bite the hearts out of your most prized possessions. They get intimate. While mice only take shelter in your kitchen, pigeons in your loft, moths come right into your bedroom. And not just your bedroom, your wardrobe – nobody who’s not you goes in there. They try on your clothes! Like one of Madonna’s stalkers who admitted to climbing into her Marylebone home and trying on Guy Ritchie‘s suits before attempting to set them on fire! It doesn’t get more personal than that. Than this.

So yes, they must die. I call for their extinction. I will march. I will picket. I will kill.


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