When your hob, hobgoblin, keeps a slob, slob, slobbin’ along

Welcome to the trend of "goblin mode" — the phenomenon of embracing and owning your inner, perfectly imperfect, binge-watching, junk food-eating sloth.

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I was goblin, when goblin wasn’t cool.

More recently, I’ve embraced the part of me that wears bleach-splotched sweatpants, sometimes forgets to shower and absent-mindedly eats handfuls of stale chocolate chips over the garbage can.

In the past, I would chastise myself for these lapses in basic self-maintenance. Today, I can proudly fling my unwashed hair, ink in those bleach spots with magic marker and proclaim, “Leave me alone. I’m just in goblin mode.”

The term “goblin mode,” has been around for a while, but has returned with a feverish, impish, green-skinned frenzy during the pandemic.

Especially so in the last couple of months, after a Twitter user tweeted out a doctored screenshot on a celebrity news site titled, “Julia Fox opened up about her ‘difficult’ relationship with Kanye West. ‘He didn’t like when I went goblin mode.’”


Turns out the "goblin" part was completely fake.

Even so, Fox seemed to celebrate her inner goblin even further by attending a post-Oscar party in a black, leather dress embellished with a claw-like hand grasping her neck and a purse she claimed was made of human hair.

While this is certainly a darker shade of goblin than most of us are ready to embrace, the tumultuous world events of the last couple of years has made “goblin mode” — the phenomenon of embracing and owning your inner binge-watching, pajama pants-wearing, junk food-eating, perfectly imperfect sloth — look more attractive than usual.

Nowadays, who wants to maintain the irritating perfectionism of the “that girl” movement, in which TikTok influencers show off highly curated videos of elaborate skincare rituals, making organic breakfasts or filling their Sub-Zero refrigerators with color-coded, artisinally crafted fruit waters?

Why not admit we once found a potato chip of indeterminate age under the car seat — and ate it? Or that we once forgot to do laundry and wound up digging through the hamper for a sweater we spritzed with room freshener? Are these really such atrocities at a time in which we are living from paycheck-to-paycheck and worrying about World War III?
Isn’t it time to admit that the last few years have been incredibly hard, that Instagram is basically dedicated to maintaining fraudulent perfection and we need to give ourselves a break?

Now, if you’re still confused about goblin mode, I’ve included the following helpful quiz to guide you. The higher your score, the better you are at getting your goblin on.

  1. If you have sat on the couch, eating Cheerios while in your bathrobe: 1 point.
    If you have sat on the couch, picking fossilized Cheerios from last week off your robe — and eating them: 3 points.
    If you forgot to buy Cheerios so are eating raw pasta for breakfast and think a bathrobe sounds like some fancy luxury that only the Queen of England would wear: 5 points.

2. If you shower every day but only shampoo your hair twice a week: 1 point.
If you think of it as “my weekly work shower” and wash your hair with shower soap because you ran out of shampoo three weeks ago: 3 points.
If you can’t use your shower because it's filled with stockpiled cases of tomato soup and toilet paper, so have resorted to spraying yourself with Febreze: 5 points.

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3. If you have worn sweatpants whenever remote-working for your job: 1 point.
If you have worn yoga pants, cunningly designed to look like “hard pants,” to a semi-fancy networking event: 3 points.
If you have worn sweatpants, which look exactly like sweatpants, to a job interview that’s not at a health club: 5 points.


4. If you have Grubhubbed/DoorDashed or used some other food-delivery service twice in a week: 1 point.
If the frequency of your DoorDashes has forced your condo association to call a special meeting about “certain tenants” who monopolize the 15-minute parking spot: 3 points.
If you have been invited to be an honored guest at your DoorDasher’s wedding: 5 points.

5.  If your thrice-daily dog walks, started with great resolve in March 2020, have dwindled to thrice-weekly: 1 point.
If your dog’s only exercise involves running to the door to greet the DoorDasher: 3 points.
If your dog’s only exercise involves grabbing the Frito stuck between your chins after you’ve fallen asleep on the couch while binge-watching “Bad Vegan”: 5 points.

That last maneuver is actually better known as "Gobblin' Mode."

Tammy has been a storyteller most of her life. Before she learned the alphabet, she told stories by drawing pictures and then dictated the narrative to her ever-patient mother. A graduate of North Dakota State University, she has worked as a Dickinson, N.D., bureau reporter, a Bismarck Tribune feature writer/columnist, a Forum feature reporter, columnist and editor, a writer in NDSU's Publications Services, a marketing/social media specialist, an education associate in public broadcasting and a communications specialist at a nonprofit.
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