Why Open-Mouth Chewing Makes Us Crazy

We're not sticklers for etiquette, but we are committed to the enjoyment of our eating experience.

We'd like to start this off by saying: we're sorry if we go a little bit off the rails here. We need to talk to you about one of our most intense pet peeves when it comes to eating food, and we'll try to keep our composure while doing so.

Open-mouth chewing makes us feel insane. Be it gum, cereal, bananas (okay, we have to stop because we're grossing ourselves out), we are glad you are enjoying it, but we would all prefer to neither hear it, nor see it. We certainly can't speak for everyone, but we're pretty sure your parents told you at least once to please chew with your mouth closed, and we'd prefer to not have to pick up the responsibility where they left off.

This can certainly be a cultural phenomenon, maybe it wasn't important where you grew up. We can absolutely sympathize with that. But the smack, smack, smack of your public mastication is kind of killing us. It turns out we're not alone -- in 2011, the New York Times wrote about a condition called misophonia, an irritated, gut-wrenching rage that overtakes certain people when they hear low, repetitive sounds like chewing or pen-clicking. Can we say we've self-diagnosed ourselves? Maybe, maybe not, but that certainly doesn't mean that you shouldn't chew your gum quietly on the subway for all of our respective sanities.

We're not sticklers for etiquette around here, as you have probably noticed, but we are awfully committed to the enjoyment of our eating experience. We are relatively certain that we're not alone in saying that sitting across from someone who habitually chews with their mouth open can totally ruin a meal for us. Just like being rude to a server, or talking on your cell phone, or many other habits we all recognize are probably not very nice.

It's even been suggested that chewing with your mouth open can make you appear more powerful. The logic behind this theory is that powerful people often behave as if the rules do not apply to them. Let us be very clear: it's not working that way.

Although we find this behavior enraging, we are not jerks, so are highly unlikely to tell you to please shut your trap. So perhaps, we can all make an adult agreement: we'll try hard to calm down a bit, if you try hard to keep your lips together. Like everything strange in life, there is even a WikiHow article about it.

Do you have an eating or dining pet peeve? Let's all gripe about them together in the comments!

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