ASMR is weird as sin. It’s this strange, eerie world of water droplets and tin cans, mannequin heads and fake ears. It’s got this mysterious aura, this misty mystique – and like I said, it is Weird. As. Sin. And, if you don’t know what ASMR is, let me explain it to you, as easily as I can.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (or ASMR) is this strange feeling that some people get when they hear certain sounds. And as much as I loathe this descriptor, the best way to describe the feeling that you get is ‘tingle-y’. Not much of a descriptor, but it’s the best I’ve got. But yeah, people get this feeling when they hear certain things, such as fingers tapping on an empty bottle, carbonated water being poured, whispers that you just can’t quite understand – quiet, gentle sounds and the like. And lemme state it one more time – it’s weird.
‘But Sam’, you ask, ‘if it’s so weird, why are you talking about it’? Well, I’ll get to that. I watch a particular YouTube duo known as the ‘Game Grumps’ – a popular pair who are known for doing dumb bits, making dumb jokes, and being dumb in general. Semi-recently, they started doing a podcast-like event, where they do a different activity every time – and on one of these events, they made fun of ASMR the whole time, and even went so far as to create their own little mock-ASMR skit. During this skit, they brought out a huge bowl of pop-rocks and some fizzy water, mixed them together, and then went dead silent. It was… odd. However, as I was watching it, I began to feel like someone was slowly stroking the base of my neck, and it was the creepiest thing I have ever felt in my life, period. So, I did the only obvious thing – I researched it, a ton.
This is where the trouble began. I, slowly but surely, began to fall in love with this strange sensation, this ‘tingle’. I hated watching the videos, watching people pour slime on top of fake heads, turning hourglasses upside down next to a mic – it felt truly, deeply, wrong. But my god did it sound so good. I would fall asleep to it, read books with it playing in the background, or just stare, fascinated, at what was happening on my screen. For those of you who just can’t really understand what I’m talking about, open this link, and listen for about 3 minutes. Yeah. It’s the strangest damn thing.
I’ve been listening to ASMR for about a year and a half now, and it never gets any less awkward to listen to. Opening up a link feels like a sin, and there are tons of ASMR-artists that have genuinely terrible content. But, while I did start this article off by talking about how weird this stuff is, I’m going to end it by genuinely suggesting it. A few excellent channels are Zeitgeist, PJ, and Marno – give them a look, and just try to listen for a while; you may find that it helps you relax, or helps you sleep – and in a stress-filled year like 2020, you may find that it’s just what you need. And if you listen to it and are just confused, don’t worry about it – I still am too.