Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!

ARRGHH! How can I get my flatmate to stop chewing with her mouth open? She is a lovely, intelligent, otherwise well-mannered woman but she cannot eat a single morsel of food without having it on display for the world. Lipsmacking, crunching, chewing, sucking (?), slurping…and that’s just a sandwich!

I have tried teasing goodnaturedly, outright been rude, hinting that it may turn off men to no avail. She always seems slightly ashamed at first and then goes right back to chomping away. She doesn’t have sinus problems and it’s not due to a cold. I always feel horribly bad for her when we eat out because other people do notice and exchange glances and I wonder if her lack of social success with men has anything to do with it.

The thing is, I am no dainty eater, I can cram food down like no one else if I am pigging out but I wouldn’t dream of making such a disruptive spectacle of myself (yes it really is that bad) around others.

Ok, I know the advice will be to put up with it, which of course I will because I do love her but I would love any tips for modification!

I can’t help you, but I can say that I know where you are coming from. I used to share an office with a guy who snacked on fruit all day long, and ate with his mouth open. I was glad when I finally left the place.

Film her eating. Play it back for her.

My boyfriend has a co-worker we’ve nicknamed “Chompity chomp.” This guy chomps. And slurps. He splashes, snuffles, sprays, and whorfles in his soup. This is a guy who doesn’t eat hamburgers as much as he has oral sex with them.

And my poor bf has to go to lunch with him on a daily basis.

We talk every day, and sometimes, when I ask him how his day went, he says, “Great! No chompity chomp today!”

By the way–I don’t even know what the word “whorfles” means, but it’s onomonopoeically perfect, according to the bf.

Oh, and when my bf tried to gently bring up the issue, the guy responded, “Well, I like eating this way.” And he’s kept on providing a Dolby surround sound lunchtime experience since then.

So you’ve got our sympathies.

The next time you eat with her, do as she does, but exaggerate it a bit. Just get right down and nasty with it. She’ll get the point.

I feel your pain, buddy. Sounds like there’s not much you can do.

You can try this: carry around an MP3 player or a really small portable radio or somesuch in your pocket, and when she starts masticating, SCREAM loudly and make a big point of fumbling around with your music player, frantically trying to get it to turn on so you can cover up the noise with the soothing sounds of whomever.

Actually, that’s a pretty good idea too.

Might also work to just audiotape it, as she probably can’t hear what it sounds like now.

I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you in a relationship with her?

My point is that telling people you like that you dislike their behaviour (whether justified or not) can lead to loss of friendship.

If she’s just a flatmate, then you could try cutting down on the times you eat with her, while you plan how to be tactful about telling her.

If it’s a relationship and you want it to continue, you certainly need to soften the blow.

Good luck!