Odds are, you’ve been on the internet for so long that barely anything shocks or fazes you anymore. After a while, we simply get desensitized to most stories and it takes something truly powerful to make our jaws drop. Right? Luckily for us, the internet’s chock full of hilarious, downright bizarre, and utterly weird material to keep us entertained all year long. And Twitter is a wonderful source of things that will make you ask out loud: “What?!”
Twitter user Hikikomorphism started up a viral thread asking people to share the obscure facts and anecdotes from their lives that make people react like in the legendary “The What?” meme (aka the “Rug Doctor Woman Ad” meme). You can bet your bottom dollar that people delivered! Scroll down to find their peculiar tales, upvote the ones that caught you off guard, and if you’ve got any similar ones to share, the comment section is eagerly waiting for you, Pandas.
Image credits: hikikomorphism
When Bored Panda reached out to the author of the thread, they mentioned that they didn't expect it to get such a large audience for their post. "I would prefer not to be perceived," they added.
Hikikomorphism’s thread got more than 23.4k likes and was retweeted over 35k times. What’s more, the popularity of the post spread to other platforms as well, including Imgur, where it got over 93k views and 2.5k upvotes in the span of a single day. Most of these stories made me do a double-take, but I’m curious to know if you thought they were as bizarre as I did, dear Pandas.
Meanwhile, let’s take a gander at the origins of the “The What?” meme that Twitter user Hikikomorphism referred to. The meme’s a favorite of mine and a couple of my closest colleagues, and it’s a wonderful reaction pic when we’re faced with something our minds have a tough time processing.
Somewhat surprisingly, the photo from the “The What?” meme comes from an old Rug Doctor advertisement that could be seen in various retail stores. According to Know Your Meme, the earliest examples of this ad to be found online date all the way back to November 24, 2014.
The woman in the ad eventually became a meme because of her blank stare and smile. The meme is currently most often used to express confusion and disbelief. The very first time that the meme was used was on June 26, 2017, when redditor Kittty_velor posted the photo on the r/funny subreddit. The post featured a close-up of the woman’s face, though it didn’t have the iconic words “The What?” on them.
The meme spread and took on various formats that utilized the woman’s ‘creepy’ gaze for the purpose of hilarity. It crystallized into the meme we know today after the words “The What?” were added to it during the Storm Area 51 event in 2019. That’s when the meme started spreading on Twitter and beyond. Now, it’s the perfect reaction pic to weird anecdotes on Twitter that make us wonder whether we’re in a bizarre comedy or if this really is real-life.