4 Editors Tested the Orange Peel Theory on Their Partners, and No, No One Broke Up

If you haven't eaten an orange since your elementary school soccer games, you're not alone. But according to TikTok, the newest relationship compatibility test has everything to do with that very fruit you once devoured during halftime. Enter: the orange peel theory.

The orange peel theory is simple. Knowing that peeling an orange takes bouts of stamina, drive, strength, and wet wipes, it presents the question: will your partner peel an orange for you? TikTok content creators are testing their partners and using the pseudoscience to determine whether their partner is a walking red flag or not.

Some people who have done the challenge start by stating they're hungry for an orange, but they don't want to peel it. If their partner steps in to do it for them, they pass the test. Other content creators have to prod their partners a bit more, saying things like "It just gets really messy" and "I have nails so it will get underneath them" in an attempt to see if their partner will take the bait. But if your partner still doesn't get the hint or doesn't want to peel the orange at all, it's grounds for murder (OK, too harsh, a breakup) — at least according to the comment section.

To test this theory for ourselves, I and three other POPSUGAR editors tried out the orange peel theory on our partners. Fortunately for us, it seems all of our relationships are still intact, which is a weird flex considering we're talking about peeling oranges here.

4 Editors Put TikTok's Orange Peel Theory to the Test

Editor Attempt 1: The Tough Love

My boyfriend is my boyfriend for a reason. When we eat sushi together, he breaks my chopsticks apart because he knows I hate the feeling of doing it myself. When I'm too lazy to return one of my many Amazon packages, he happily does it for me. And when I make him watch me dance to the newest viral TikTok song, he makes me feel like I'm the funniest person in the world. (I'm not, he just laughs at everything.)

When I called him into the kitchen one late evening and told him that I was hungry for an orange, his response was lackluster at best. "You made me get up so you could tell me you are hungry for an orange?" he asked, annoyed. I thought, OK, perhaps my bad on the timing. He was wrapping up work, after all, but I continued anyway. "I just don't want to peel it because I don't like the smell on my fingers," I told him. "I'll do it for you," he said as he hastily grabbed the only orange in our fruit bowl, but not without jokingly calling me a baby first. (Hey, tough love is our kind of love language.)

I guess on all accounts, he passed the test, but I don't think the orange peel theory is a testament to our relationship. I love my boyfriend, but not because he'll peel an orange for me when I indirectly ask him to.

Editor Attempt 2: The Doer

"My husband, Dorly, is a fixer," says senior Health & Fitness editor Alexis Jones, "meaning when I say something is wrong, his first inclination is to try and solve the problem (e.g. I told him I was having back pain from working from home too much during the pandemic, and the next day, a lumbar support brace was at our front door). So I was not at all surprised by his reaction to the orange peel theory, but it was fun watching him confused yet ready to spring into action.

"'Babe, I'm so hungry and really want an orange but I don't feel like peeling it,' I complained to him last Tuesday from my desk in our home office. 'You want one or two?' he responded immediately before getting up from our office sofa and grabbing two clementines from our fridge. He sat them in front of me and said, 'Here you go,' not remembering the second half of my request. As he walked away I said, 'Wait babe, I don't feel like peeling them though.'

"'OK so how do we solve this?' he replied. (I'm telling you guys, peak engineer.) I gave him a look and handed him back the clementines, and he started peeling. 'You don't mind?' I asked him with the same puppy-dog look I give before requesting a glass of water each night just as he gets into bed. 'If it means you won't be hungry, no,' he answered before laughing, sitting both of my peeled clementines on my desk, and walking away. Thanks hun, you passed!"

Editor Attempt 3: The Rejection

"I'll be transparent that my fiancée fully, unequivocally failed this test," senior content director Kelsey Castañon says. "'I can't type emails and peel oranges at the same time,' she said matter-of-factly when I asked her mid-afternoon, followed by a simple 'I'm already really bad at it' after I pressed.

"To be fair, I have eaten approximately three oranges in the span of the five years we've been dating — nothing against them, but like, who has the time? — so it was an odd ask from the get. I suppose if you're a fervent fan of the fruit I could see how having your partner refuse to peel it for you might be a red flag, but I can't complain. She brings me a hot cup of coffee every morning while I'm still in bed, slices fresh jalapeños for me before each meal despite never once eating them, and lets me (for the most part) have the last bite of whatever it is we're eating, at any given time. I'd say we're doing just fine."

Editor Attempt 4: The Non-Event

"Putting the orange peel theory to the test with my significant other of nearly a decade can best be described as anticlimactic," says associate Balance director Kelsey Garcia. "In fact, I'm not so sure why it's taken off on TikTok in the way that it has. In my case, I complained to my husband about hating how sticky your hands get after peeling an orange. 'Ugh, yeah,' he sympathized. I gave him my best puppy-dog eyes and asked if he could peel the orange for me, and he chuckled while agreeing to my ask. That's all, folks!

"Sure, it was nice of him to do the thing I didn't want to do myself (and he is indeed a very kind person), but I also don't think there would have been any large, looming implications about the strength and state of our marriage had he responded differently or told me to do it myself. Marriage is kind of funny like that: some days you're asking your partner to peel an orange, some days you're doing the peeling, and most days, you're just commiserating about the peeling itself."

Taylor Andrews is a balance editor at POPSUGAR who specializes in topics relating to sex, relationships, dating, sexual health, mental health, and more. In her six years working in editorial, she's written about how semen is digested, why sex aftercare is the move, and how the overturn of Roe killed situationships.