I grew up around a mother who chewed gum like a cow and a father who is the loudest chewer known to man. My childhood best friend has 3 younger brothers so I was always surrounded by rude males with horrible manners who thought body function humor was the highest form of entertainment out there. I suppose I could have gone in two different directions here; I could have turned into a gum smacking fiend with horrible table manners or I could have turned into a polite eater who is intolerant of the lack of manners or others. I became the latter.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out what is so difficult about keeping your mouth closed when something edible is in it. My son, who is 5, has issues doing this when he is either distracted or is eating something he really enjoys. My husband and I get on him about this and he has gotten better, but his manners tend to go downhill after a meal or two away from us where no one is reminding him to mind his manners (thank you, daycare). But he’s five years old, so I’ll cut him some slack. Adults get no slack. You’re old enough to drive and vote and buy porn and drink yourself into oblivion, so you’re old enough to know that no one wants to see or hear the food you’re cramming down your throat.
It’s gotten to the point where I feel a bit of dread anytime we go to the movies. There’s always one person that seems to lack a set of lips to close when they enjoy their popcorn, adding chomps and crunches to the movie’s soundtrack. I’ve sat through movies with a hand over one of my ears to block this out and I’ve considered wearing ear plugs. On one occasion we had a man doing it so bad that the entire row I was in was cussing and complaining. One of these days I’m going to get in the face of one of these loud popcorn chompers and scream “INSERT POPCORN, CLOSE MOUTH! I DIDN’T COME HERE TO HEAR YOU EAT!” Movie popcorn is part of the experience, I get it, I love eating it, but come on! Can’t these idiots hear themselves? Don’t they realize how loud they are?
I have the unfortunate luck to work in close proximity to a barn animal. Ms. Piggy is a big fan of gum and seems to think that the entire office enjoys hearing her pop it about once every minute or two. She also takes what I call chip breaks quite often. Her first chip break is around 8:30am; she grabs a bag of Doritos or BBQ Lays from the store and chows down, loudly crunching and smacking her lips, even while on the phone with people she gets paid to assist. Chip breaks also occur immediately before and after lunch, as well as around 3pm. She talks with her mouth full of food, which seems to be 90% of the time, and disgusts the hell out of me.
Those are just two examples from a list that could span a hundred pages. Either society in general turned into a bunch of rude pigs or we stopped teaching good manners to our children. My parents were rude eaters but they always told me to keep my mouth shut while chewing and be polite. I see kids now who eat like they have never used silverware before and have no idea what a napkin is. I imagine they learn this horrible behavior from their parents who don’t correct the bad behavior and sometimes act like it’s cute that their kid is slobbering everywhere. Messy, open mouthed eating is cute when you’re talking about a baby trying solids for the first time, but not when you’re dealing with a kid well past the diaper stage in life.
The most frustrating part of all of this is that I don’t see any way to solve this problem for me. If I learn to stop being annoyed, all I’m doing is saying that the rude behavior is okay and I’m accepting it. I don’t accept it, it’s nasty. As much as I’d love to be a loud mouth, I can’t approach every person who acts like a cow and tell them to knock it off. I see no way to fix this, and that frustrates me just as much as it does listening to someone talk about the weather with a mouth full of food.