Why is Everyone Online Asking Their Boyfriends to Peel Oranges?
Words: Shamim de Brún
So, according to TikTok, the ultimate litmus test for love is getting your squeeze to awkwardly strip an orange for you. Over 46 million users are jumping on the bandwagon of this viral “orange peel theory.” Realistically, it’s not really about the citrus struggle. The concept here is that doing a small, sweet gesture, like tackling an orange peel, is supposed to reveal your partner’s commitment skills in a relationship.
The theory gained traction on TikTok in November 2023; but this week, Twitter has been going mad satirising it because two days ago, a woman posted a video to TikTok asking her boyfriend to peel an orange for her, and it went horrendously viral. Then someone shared it on Twitter, and it went nuclear to the tune of 13.4 million views on TikTok and a further 7 million views on Twitter/X, in fact.
In the almost two-minute-long clip, Shelby suggests to her boyfriend that she’d like an orange, but he doesn’t fail off the bat. He throws her an orange and suggests that she should peel it herself. “Dude, ok, as if I don’t do enough. I’m being for real,” he says, much to her very public dismay.
“Figure your life out, dude. It’s not all about what your man can do for you; it’s about what you can do for yourself, right?” he added, disgruntled, leading to a further argument. Shelby’s boyfriend goes on to suggest he is, in fact, a “great” boyfriend for encouraging her to peel the orange herself instead of helping because that’s what would happen in the real world.
He doesn’t get it so hardcore that many suggest this may have been staged or satire, especially since this has been on the go since November.
Many who believed it to be true, though, were surprised by her boyfriend’s comments. “Not peeling the orange – ok, but the not that special was pretty uncalled for,” said one. “‘You’re not even that special,’ run for the hills,” another added. “Please tell me this is a skit. If not, dump him,” commented another.
The TikToker hasn’t updated things and said if it was a skit or a real situation, but whatever the case, it seems like the relationship test isn’t going anywhere.
The orange peel theory isn’t some groundbreaking TikTok discovery. It actually comes from Dr. John Gottman, the relationship guru. He calls these things “bids,” which are basically subtle requests for attention, love, or anything positive.
Gottman spills the tea that women drop more bids than men. Maybe it’s because, in a world where relationships often feel like a game of incompetence Olympics, it’s kinda refreshing when your man shows he gives a damn by doing small stuff. But lads sometimes struggle to decode the cryptic messages hidden behind simple favours. However, in the healthiest love sagas, both partners are supposed to be pros at making all sorts of bids.
This reminds me of my own personal familial adage that if a man doesn’t bring you tea in bed, he isn’t worth marrying. So maybe this is just the internet’s version of that test, which I diligently performed on all my potential long-term love interests. That said, did I ask my partner to peel an orange as ‘research’ for this article? Yes. And I am happy to report, dear reader, that they said, ‘We don’t have any oranges, but sure’.
Amber Brooks from DatingAdvice.com dives into this peeling saga in an interview with Cosmopolitan, saying that your partner’s reaction to the orange request reveals how they roll in the relationship arena. Do they side-eye your motives? Blame it on being too busy or stressed to lend a hand? These aren’t just citrus-related questions; they dig into the deep stuff if you’re seriously considering a relationship journey together.
Asking your fella to fetch, open, or brew might seem chill, but how they respond tells you if they’re MVP material or just benchwarmers. Amber adds that everyone has off days, and a decent partner might reasonably think you can handle your own orange peeling on those days. It’s not like the choice to peel or not peel is a grand character statement. It’s just a nugget of wisdom for those who want to find a partner that’s more than just a breakfast buddy.
Now, not getting an orange peeled for you isn’t the end of the world. It’s not even a beige flag; they might just be too busy or not feeling the zest. And hey, not everyone speaks the same love language. Some folks are all about the grand gestures, while others dig the small acts of service.
But TikTok warriors are wasting no time putting the orange peel theory into action, documenting their significant others’ reactions to these tiny requests. Should you kick your partner to the curb if they refuse to peel your orange? Probably not. But, according to relationship pros like Gottman, throwing a casual favour their way could be the secret decoder ring to understanding just how selfless they can be, and vice versa.