Mosquitoes love me. I know a lot of people say that mosquitoes love them, but my case is extreme. If you are sitting next to me anywhere outside in a moderately wet climate in the summer, I will become covered in mosquito bites and you will avoid them entirely. I am the best mosquito repellent any person other than me could ever have.

I have, as a result, tried every form of mosquito repellent on the market, be it an ointment, a spray, a device, a candle, or a post-bite treatment or instrument. Here’s what works:

  • DEET

Here’s what doesn’t:

  • Every single form of mosquito repellent other than DEET

“Ah,” you say. “But have you tried…”

Yes! I have! I have tried it! It does not work!

“Oh, but,” you say. “It really does, though. It works better than I ever could have thought. Let me tell you a story of how well it worked for me.”

I believe that it worked for you, but it does not work for me. I promise. And the reason is that most remedies, potions, tools, and dietary changes work based on the placebo effect. This does not mean they are nonsense; they really do work! The placebo effect is incredibly effective! But you have to genuinely believe that something will work, and I am fundamentally incapable of being optimistic about anything, ever, so the placebo effect will always fail me.

Even so, I keep trying things that I know are not going to work for me, because I am so convinced by the effusive testimonials of others. My latest disappointment is Bug Bite Thing, which claims to “sucks the venom out” of your bug bites, thus making them itch less. It doesn’t, of course, because while that might theoretically work immediately after an insect has bitten you, you do not know you have a bite until much later, and you can’t suck venom out of intact skin that is not punctured in any way. It does feel pretty good, though, and it makes you feel like you’re doing something. People love it! It will probably work great for you! It does nothing whatsoever for me, except stimulate the bite area and thus bring on a session of especially intense itching.

I really hoped that Edith would not inherit my attractiveness to bugs, and when we are sitting in a park or on a restaurant patio, I hover over her, fearing for her lily white soft baby skin. It would be so awful to have a mosquito bite as an infant and not even be able to scratch it or to know if it would ever stop! But so far, she has gotten zero bites, whereas I am absolutely demolished, so fortunately, she seems to have escaped my fate.

I only resent her a tiny bit.


  1. Zandy says:

    I, too, am incredibly popular, nearly exclusively, to mosquitos. We went camping at the end of June and I still have a hive running from my waist to my mid-thigh which is where several silver-dollar-sized mosquito bite weals have now merged and torment me all day and all night. Conversely, if anything bites Bob, he says “on no” and then immediately is able to forget it and it never bothers him again. He is also immune to poison ivy, whereas I have eczema, which is like if your body deploys poison ivy inside your skin at unpredictable intervals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elizabeth says:

      When you visit, we will have to sit outside and determine which of us is more attractive to mosquitoes!! Doesn’t that sound like a fun activity?


      1. Zandy says:

        We are absolutely not doing that.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Can three people play this game because I single-handedly keep all of south Rome bite-free by attracting every single mosquito to my calves.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Elizabeth says:

          Absolutely! I can probably cover your ticket with my unused miles. Incidentally, you and Zandy should both know that last night in my “sleep” (scare quotes to indicate whatever sleeping adjacent to an infant actually is) I apparently scratched a silver dollar-sized patch of skin right off my ankle bone. It is now in the process of scabbing over. Hot girl summer, indeed.


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