I have a problem

It’s a serious problem.

Listening to people eat really stresses me out!

Okay, not ALL people. I would like to believe that most people are very quiet eaters. It’s the people who slurp, chew loudly, mouths open, gulp food and generate buckets of saliva when they eat.

  • It’s partly about etiquette – it is polite to eat with your mouth closed. Thats good manners. Unless you can’t breathe through your nose – then I understand it’s a big ask…eating or breathing…hmmm. I know my brother and sister and I had this drummed into us growing up.  No wants to ‘sea…food.’ hehehe – Yes that’s a bad joke.
  • Gum chewers.  People aren’t cows, and as far as I’m concerned gum is like food – and people should chew with their mouths closed. They really should! I work in an office where you can literally hear a pin drop. I used to sit next to a guy who did this.  Lovely guy, really bad gum-chewing habit. Thinking back, there does seem to be a pattern here. I took a film course once at University with a really good friend. We spent many nights squished together in an editing suite trying to create our masterpiece, surviving on vending machine hot chocolate, chocolate, and gum.  She chewed gum with such a ferocity, I’m surprised our friendship survived. I was so close to snapping! In hindsight, working part-time, studying full-time, filming and editing most nights, plus partying – whilst surviving on a diet of sugar, fast food and gum – it possibly wasn’t her fault!  That would be my over-tired, unhealthy, anxiety riddled self.  Apologies to the friend in question for being so grumpy!
  • Fruit-suckers. Back to the office that is as quiet as a funeral parlour – or even more so.  I used to sit next to a guy (different guy) who loved fruit. Bless him!  I love fruit to. He especially loved juicy fruit, and when he ate fruit, he sounded like he was eating soup. This used to get me so anxious – I had to launch for the headphones of my iPhone – usually in the bottomless pit I call my handbag, frantically trying to untangle the headphones from the contents of my bag, and shoving them in my ears to drown it out with some music.
  • Saliva generators. The person I refer to here will know I’m referring to them, and they know I have a problem.  They don’t eat like this all the time, and they do love their food (and they are the best cook!) but sometimes when I hear them eat, I get very agitated. That’s when the volume of the TV gets turned up, or I go into the other room…for…something. Unfortunately for them this always seems to align with ‘that time of the month’ – I really do believe that my senses of hearing go into overdrive then! We figure if I get enough sleep, and pass on the sugar…I won’t snap.

Good news is I am working on my problem, but I still admit that the best way for me to deal with it is to leave the room.

17 thoughts on “I have a problem

  1. Janine, I totally relate. I have friends who cannot stop talking without showing me their lunch. It’s gross. I try to say something but they always think it’s a joke. One friend of mine has is a heavy set guy and breathes heavy, and its amplified when he’s eating. You hear smacking and breathing making love and it’s gross! I will admit though, that I am guilty of soup slurping. I watch myself but there is something about it that makes it taste that much better. I try to be better about it. You;re right that it’s about etiquette, but some people will just never get it. Great post!

  2. Hi Janine,

    I could never understand why people put a lot of food into their mouths and then try and talk. The first time I visited NY at a famous Deli, these 2 guys seemed to be having a contest as to who could shovel in the coleslaw the quickest and talk at the same time.

    It did put me off my food.

    Also on masterchief one of the judges has his face so close to the plate when he eats that it is not a good example for others especially kids. Your post made me laugh which is a good thing for a Thursday.

  3. I hate to hear people eat! It doesnt seem to bother me at home. At work when people eat their crunchy snacks it seems to echo. I am not sure they can do anything about the sound since they typically have their mouth closed.

  4. My # 1 pet peeve is seeing / hearing people chew with their mouth open. Yup… gum chewers too! It just amazes me to see a teenage girl go through all the trouble of doing hair and makeup to look pretty, and then chewing wide mouthed at 100 decibels!

    There are however a few cultures on this earth that simply don’t consider eating habits as those that fall into manners. Is it true that the Japanese slurp tea because it would be rude not to?

  5. You’ve struck one of my most sensitive nerves, Janine! My personal peeve is ice chewing. A dear young girl in a group I once led totally ruined both her teeth and her image with the young men in the group by obsessively chewing ice during every meeting. Crunch, crunch, crunch, for an hour straight. Even my ban on food and drink during the meetings couldn’t stop her. Wonder what it sounds like inside their heads??

  6. Surely there must be a twelve step program to cure you of these obsessions. It must be you not them, right? Please don’t get me started on why my wife and I always tried to avoid going out to dinner with my parents. If food was not flying then the requests to the waitstaff were. Thanks for a chuckle. I need to go clean the mess my 6 year left in the kitchen from the biscuits I made her.


  7. Hey,

    Funny, funny work! Loved the way you look at things from such a humorous angle!!
    And yes…if I could add.. slurpers…slurping their drinks – tea, coffee, juice…all!!

    Lovely work!!

  8. have you ever thought your problem is something psychological? I mean that maybe this kind of noise reminds you something else, but you don’t recognize it, so you just escape from it. If this problem doesn’t allow you to stay well when you are with other people I think it should be better to analize that to make you feel better. Stayng or eating with other people is very important, why you should go on like that! try to understand what is inside this disturb, maybe contacting someone who can help you in doing this. It’s only an advice.

  9. I meant to comment on this ages ago. Someone I know is shocking making noises when they eat. I can be on the other side of the room and I can hear them eating, and it wont necesarily be something crispy either! I usually end up leaving the room. I don’t understand how it is done and if I say anything I get yelled at “your not my mother”.
    Then my other peeve is when my boyfriend eats with a fork. He scrapes his teeth along the fork. It is one of those things that is like fingernails on a blackboard.
    Ok thats my vent for the day 🙂

  10. Pingback: Pet Peeves « Reflections from a Red Head

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