Back in the day, teenagers on the way to the sock-hop would pull over their cars at a scenic overlook to neck while listening to the smooth sounds of Perry Como. Now, they lick each other's eyeballs.
Like all probably-exaggerated teenage trends, this new practice has a catchy name: Worming. It's also called "oculolinctus" or "a great way to catch pink-eye."
A teacher in Japan noticed multiple students were coming into class wearing eyepatches. No, they weren't inspired by Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie; instead they were getting eye infections from having their eyeballs licked, according to Medical Daily.
Apparently the practice isn't limited to Japan.
"My boyfriend started licking my eyeballs years ago and I just loved it," Elektrika Energias, a 29-year-old environmental science student in the U.S. Virgin Islands, told The Huffington Post. "I'm not with him anymore, but I still like to ask guys to lick my eyeballs."
So what is wrong with laying some tongue on your partner's cornea? It's covered in bacteria, which could lead to conjunctivitis, a.k.a. pink eye, as well as eye-chlamydia — which, as Robyn Pennacchia notes in Death and Taxes, you should never, ever do a Google image search for.
It's not all bad news for eyeball fetishists. Yes, you could get a painful infection, but also you could just feel really good, Dr. Robert Noecker told Medical Daily:
The cornea is the most innervated part of the body. That's why it might feel good to have it licked. It's the same thing with sucking toes — they're so sensitive because the body needs to be able to detect minor particles and other disturbances. If you're so inclined, that's the plus.
Not to be a crotchety old guy, but... I frown upon it. [Medical Daily]
Where kids got the idea to start worming is anybody's guess, although Shanghaiist theorizes that it could stem from this Japanese music video, which combines eye-licking with terrible emo music. Worming also has a precedent in Japanese manga, or comic books, several disturbing examples of which can be found on Tumblr. You've been warned.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2014
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- How I lost all my money
Subscribe to the Week