UK barman who can 'taste words' reveals the name he could never date

  • 04/08/2022
He said the name Gertrude tastes like when you swallow back your own sick.
He said the name Gertrude tastes like when you swallow back your own sick. Photo credit: Getty Images

A UK barman who has a rare condition where he can taste, smell and feel words has revealed the worst names to be called.

Henry Gray, 23, was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called synesthesia after his parents and teachers picked up on him commenting on tastes for his classmates' names.

Synesthesia is a rare condition that merges senses that aren't normally connected.

Gray revealed to the Mirror what celebrity names taste like, including Donald Trump, who he said is like a "deflating rubber duck", Boris Johnson, who tastes like "squishing a hard-shelled beetle with his foot", and Harry Styles is like "hair sticking up like telephone wires".

"I've always associated words and names with tastes, smells and feelings - it's all I've ever known," Gray told the outlet.

He revealed one of the worst names for him is Kirsty, which is the faint smell of urine.

"I'm not sure I could be close friends with or date a Kirsty. It's hard but I do judge people based on their taste or smell with their name," Gray said.

He said the senses are always strongest when he is first introduced to someone but he can tune it out in day-to-day life.

Gray is a bartender at a pub so he deals with strong senses of taste and smell whenever he looks at people's IDs.

"Sometimes it could be an image or feeling - like Leanne is a rose leaning on a window," Gray told the Mirror.

And his favourite name is Francesca, which is a silky warm chocolate coffee.

Gray's worst female names:

  • Kirsty - Faint urine smell
  • Mary - A pile of unwashed pink bed sheets faintly smelling of damp
  • Kate - The sensation of burning himself on ice, like falling over on an ice rink and scraping your skin on dry ice
  • Natalie - Like broken wooden splinters in his mouth
  • Gertrude - Tastes like when you swallow back your own sick.

Gray's worst male names:

  • Harrison - Like an itch on his body he can't scratch - it's everywhere and nowhere
  • Elijah - Like licking an eyeball
  • Rupert - A beer burp
  • Brad - The sensation of rope burn
  • Dylan - A toilet seat.