This Changed My Life is an ode to the small, seemingly chill purchases bought by Autostraddle writers and editors this year that made our lives infinitely better. Did these items LITERALLY CHANGE OUR LIFE? No, we’re being gay and dramatic. But perhaps a pair of sunglasses really did change your life — who are we to judge?
I learned the hard way that I am The Person Mosquitos Are Obsessed With when I moved to Florida. You would think I’d always known this about myself, and I suppose thinking back on my life, I’ve always been one to get a mosquito bite here and there on a muggy summer evening. But the mosquito situation in the swamplands of central Florida is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. They. Are. Everywhere. And normally, as a Gemini, I love to be the object of obsession, but not when that obsession is coming from the vampires of the sky!!!!!!!! The best way to make sure you don’t get eaten alive by little flying bugs? Sit next to me, apparently!!!!!!
I will sometimes just be minding my business in my backyard and then find myself covered in giant welts — everything insect-related here in Florida tends to be bigger than anything I’ve encountered elsewhere, whether we’re talking the gargantuan palmetto bugs that shock me to my core with their fortitude every time or the sheer size of mosquito bites.
I’ve tried everything to curb these attacks. We have bite fighter-fueled tiki torches, including a tabletop version. We have giant five-wick citronella candles. I’ve worn the little coily bug-repellent bracelet things that I think are intended for children. We have bottles and bottles of bug spray, but I can’t seem to find a version that doesn’t feel awful on my skin. Any “natural” or “organic” brands don’t seem to work for me. My favorite spray I’ve found is the Off Smooth & Dry, and I’ll wear it on a particularly mosquito-filled night, but even with it on, they usually find the one tiny place I missed and get me there, so is it really worth the hit to my skin and making all my clothes smell like deet if they’re still gonna bite me anyway?!
Nay, I have come to accept that instead of merely fighting the mosquitos, I must instead accept their power and therefore my fate. And it has all come down to this stupid little piece of plastic called, literally, the Bug Bite Thing. It’s a $10 suction tool that, when used shortly after the bite occurs, provides instant relief by removing the root cause of the irritation. In the case of mosquito bites, this means removing the mosquito saliva, which is what’s actually making you itch. Yes, mosquitos are spitting on you when they suck your blood!!!!!! Kinky little bitches!!!!!
The Bug Bite Thing definitely works best if you catch the bite quickly. I keep mine in the junk drawer near the door to my backyard so I can grab it easily when I know I’m going to be outside for a while. I usually have my fiancé Kristen use it on me for the hard-to-reach spots — hot! (And yes, a product of frequently wearing skirts and dresses is getting bit ON MY ASS. Again, mosquitos are kinky.) I hear they also can work on wasp stings and other insect bites, but I thankfully haven’t had to put that to the test yet.
I’ve used other forms of bug bite relief in the past, like roll-ons and sprays, but they’re messy and can be really drying of skin much like bug spray, and the Bug Bite Thing doesn’t leave anything behind. Plus, I find the sensation satisfying tbh, which provides an even greater distraction from the nuisance of blood-thirsty bugs ruining my life.
I’ll continue to do my preventative things like torches and candles and all citronella everything, but I’ve accepted that I can’t win all my battles against mosquitos. I’ll leave that job to spiders, nature’s heroes for fighting the brave fight against Culicidae.