I know a lot of things about the Kardashians' food preferences that are weirdly specific—like the fact that Kim's favorite food are churros, and Kylie likes her ramen with butter, egg, and garlic powder, and Kourtney has a six-step process for eating Kit-Kats. But none of my trivial knowledge about America's most famous family is more bizarre than the recent revelation that Kendall Jenner is afraid of pancakes. Yes, pancakes. But, to be fair, Jenner isn't afraid of pancakes themselves. No, Kendall Jenner has trypophobia, a fear of tiny holes—so it's the texture of pancakes that freaks her out.
According to The Cut, Jenner broke the news of her phobia on her eponymous app, writing: "Trypophobics are afraid of tiny little holes that are in weird patterns. Things that could set me off are pancakes, honeycomb or lotus heads (the worst!)." And, as Jenner insists, it's a real thing, even though it sounds totally bizarre.
The condition was first described online in 2005, and the first mention of trypophobia in the scientific literature was in 2013, in an article called "Fear of Holes" published in the journal Psychological Science. In the study of 286 adults, 11% of men and 18% of women expressed some disgust or aversion to photos of these hole-y surfaces. The researchers argue that, "although sufferers are not conscious of the association, the phobia arises in part because the inducing stimuli share basic visual characteristics with dangerous organisms, characteristics that are low level and easily computed, and therefore facilitate a rapid nonconscious response." In other words, people freak out about these innocuous holes because they're subconsciously associating them with genuinely dangerous things with holes, like sores or scars.
This pattern of densely packed, tiny holes is surprisingly common, especially once you start noticing it. It's in everyday objects like the aforementioned honeycomb and lotus pod, but also in cantaloupe, crepes, and even ice cream containers. Self-diagnosed sufferers of trypophobia regularly complain about cooking pancakes, saying that cooking pancakes is a trigger for anxiety and discomfort. The air bubbles that form and subsequently burst on the top of uncooked pancakes create the pattern of tightly packed holes that makes those with trypophobia feel queasy.
Jenner ended her post, "I can't even look at little holes—it gives me the worst anxiety. Who knows what's in there???" And though I can't promise that nothing bad's lurking inside that lotus blossom, I'm fairly certain all you're going to find in the holes of your pancakes is syrup.