When she got the call from her doctor, 23 year-old Boston College grad student Cayte Crenshaw fainted in the middle of the Starbucks line.
“I don’t know if it was from the sheer shock of it, or because I had already had my first PSL of the day.”
“PSL” meaning pumpkin spice latte, the go-to fall beverage for millions of basic white women across the country. Unfortunately for Crenshaw, her doctor had just delivered a devastating diagnostic blow: tests had confirmed that she suffers from a rare condition known as Pumpkin Spice Intolerance.
Crenshaw says she couldn’t believe her bleeding ears, which she had always assumed were the result of typical seasonal allergies. “I knew something was off — but I never expected this. Cancer, maybe. Perhaps a rare clotting disorder. But Pumpkin Spice Intolerance? I don’t know how I’m supposed to go on.”
Doctors still aren’t sure what makes some people unable to tolerate pumpkin spice, but exposure to it can cause a wide range of inflammatory reactions. Crenshaw admitted herself to the ER last week after her eyes had swollen shut and she began to lactate what appeared to be a latte-like substance from her left breast.
“That’s one of the telltale symptoms,” says Dr. Kathleen Fischer, an expert in the rare disorder. “It’s the body’s way of trying to expel the pumpkin spice.”
Fischer went on to point out that the effects of Pumpkin Spice Intolerance go far beyond dietary restrictions. A recent study showed that 93% of all autumnal social activities involving basic white women also involved some form of pumpkin spice.
“Of course there are the typical Starbucks ‘chick chats,’” Fischer notes, “But pumpkin spice is also incorporated into a whole slew of other white women fall activities, such as candle-making and homemade cookie exchanges.”
And then there’s the contact risk to contend with. A random sampling of Burberry scarves, stolen from white women’s necks, showed that a whopping 89% of them contained trace amounts of pumpkin spice — likely from latte spills.
“So even if a Pumpkin Spice Intolerant person avoids the substance itself, hugging an especially bougie friend can trigger a reaction just as easily,” Fischer points out.
Faced with the stark reality of her condition, Crenshaw says she fears for her social life. “I probably won’t even see my friends until December at the earliest,” she muttered tearfully. “Why couldn’t it just have been Covid? I would get so much Facebook attention for that.”