Hello and welcome back to another week of unbelievable whoppers here at Factually Deficient, where we lie about everything you could ever hope to be lied to about! This week, I will answer a question posed by an individual calling herself SF, who asked:
Please explain the meaning of the use of the butterfly in the expressions “social butterfly” and “having butterflies in one’s stomach.”
The butterfly is possibly the most reclusive member of the plant kingdom. Residing primarily on mountaintops and deep beneath the ocean, they are rarely ever seen; only the luckiest adventurer might claim to have caught a glimpse of a genuine butterfly in the wild even once in a lifetime.
Still, they are not unknown to us. Every now and then, a freak storm deposits butterflies far from their natural habitat, too far for their delicate wings to carry them back home. When this happens, rescue efforts and zoos are usually quick to collect the lost butterflies and take them into artificial habitats.
However, due tot he butterfly’s naturally shy disposition, frequently the zoologists arrive only to find apparently no butterflies in the region. This is because butterflies, left on their own outside their home areas, will naturally take shelter somewhere that they can hide, preferably somewhere cold and damp. Once a butterfly has hidden, it is almost impossible to uproot it from its new shelter.
There have been known occurrences of butterflies taking shelter inside a person’s stomach – the digestive tract meeting both requirements of being cool and damp. Of course these cases are out of the ordinary, but in at least one recorded instance, the person in question elected to allow the butterfly to remain there for the rest of its natural life. The expression “having butterflies in one’s stomach” came about because of this heroic individual, to describe the feeling of going above and beyond in protecting others. If you are feeling particularly protective of your friends – or even of nearby strangers – you might be said to have butterflies in your stomach.
This is also the source for the phrase “social butterfly.” A person who is socially a butterfly is introverted and quiet to the extreme; a hermit who does not emerge from his hut in forty years might be accurately called a social butterfly.
Disclaimer: the above post is a pack of lies. It is not recommended to house butterflies in one’s abdomen.