Is writer Natalie Meehan an Internet weirdo, or simply on a higher sensory plane than mere mortals?
Everyone has their own quirks. I like to know exactly how old everyone is. If I’m watching a film and there is an actor I’ve not seen before on the screen, I immediately IMDB them to find out their age. Chris (my boyfriend) does the same, but with birthplaces. If one us is regaling the other with a story about this amazing new singer/actor/writer we’ve discovered, the other will immediately ask “Where are they from?” or “How old are they?” It’s just a thing we do.
Another thing I do is fall asleep every night with earphones in, listening to YouTube videos of nice ladies with strong accents pretending to give me a facial. NORMAL.
You may have read about ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) before. If you haven’t, here’s a thing I wrote about it previously, so you can get yourself up to speed. In short, it’s the nice, tingly feeling that some people experience when watching or listening to people (mainly women) do things carefully and slowly – brushing their hair, folding towels, making origami, brewing tea. I discovered this YouTube subculture a couple of years ago and machined my way through playlist after playlist of people unboxing things, or making swans out of napkins.
Now, I very much subscribe to the whole ‘treat yo’self’ philosophy of life. I like to treat myself to a piece of jewellery every now and again. I like to buy myself the nicest clothes I can afford. I’ll splash out on some new boots if I’m feeling really fancy. Hell, I even bought myself the poshest peanut butter on the shelf the other day – it’s organic and got no added sugar or salt or anything remotely fun in it. For some reason, though, I seem to think that getting a facial or a massage is something really over-indulgent. I only ever get one if it’s a really special occasion – a birthday, New Year’s Eve, as a present. I absolutely love them, though. I love every aspect – my face being touched, fingers sliding over my forehead and under my eyes, the application of a thick, creamy masque. I love feeling so clean and new and expensive afterwards, like I’ve been reborn as an Olsen twin.
When I was stuck down an ASMR rabbit-hole late one night, I soon discovered – to my frugal joy – that there’s a whole corner of the internet full of nice ladies (and some men) with really relaxing voices who eagerly pretend to be giving you facials. Life changed. Pretty much every night now, I fall asleep whilst listening to a soft-spoken Russian woman talking me through a make-believe facial.
The soporific sounds of having my face (virtually) steamed, having lotion applied and then wiped off with cotton balls, of being talked through the whole process in a gentle voice, is just so pleasant that I keep going back for more. I search out different versions of skincare routines, done by different ‘ASMRtists’, feeling slight elation when I see a new upload entitled ‘Dermatologist’s Roleplay’, or ‘Skincare Routine’ and know that I can fall asleep whilst pretending I’m just that little bit richer than I really am.
Do you know what, though? I might just indulge in a real one next month. It is my birthday, after all.