Pet Peeves & Homicide

I once read that someone sharing my pet peeve murdered their own spouse because of it. And while I don’t quite get homicidal about it, it causes a fair amount of irritation and quiet hostility.

Food Noises… AAARRRGGGHH!!!. The sound of eating. Most especially the smacking sounds of someone who not yet learned to chew with their mouth closed. But if I am in close proximity to someone, even the sound of someone moving food around inside their mouth will drive me up a wall.

I had this pet peeve as a child, and my brother was no small cause of irritation. Dad too, but I couldn’t say anything to HIM…
I’m not sure how this feeling came about, but around age 18 I decided it was irrational. It’s just noise. Sometimes unavoidable. Rather than go through life irritated when forced to share company with a noisy eater, I should just force myself to get over it.

After all: It’s just noise, right?..

I’ve met other people with this same pet peeve, and even dated a girl who would get borderline homicical if I put gum in my mouth (And being VERY conscious of food noises, I’m a very quiet chewer…)

Recently this problem has come back with a vengeance. I attribute it to the huge amount of stress I am under. Money issues, Looming dept (despite an 80 hour work week), and the somewhat less than successful christmas season experienced by my new business. Not to mention my upcoming wedding.

My fiancee does not understand this pet peeve. She’s even OFFENDED by it. I try to explain that I understand that it’s irrational. I know the arguments - Its just noise. But I can’t seem to Will it away.

I tried at first just quietly leaving the room whenever she started to eat. I would make up an excuse (checking email, getting a book…) and quietly leave the room. She eventually noticed that I did this whenever she ate, and became VERY irrate. She said that I was insulting her, implying that she’s a disgusting pig, etc. I told her that it has nothing to do with how I think or feel about her, but it is just a noise which irritates me regardless of the source. No different than nails on a chalkboard, or the noise of balloons rubbing together.

She feels that I shouldn’t say anything about it. She feels I should not leave the room. She thinks that I should just sit there next to her through the whole meal, despite my rising irritation. I feel that with all the other stresses in my life at the moment, I should NOT have to subject myself to more. I see no problem with quietly leaving to let her enjoy her meal. If I stay I just get irritatable, hostile, and unpleasant to be around… which caused more problems. Why can’t I just leave. I don’t storm out, I’m polite about it, I assure her that I DON’T think she’s disgusting. I will eventually rid myself of this affliction again, but in the mean time the nagging and griping is making it worse.

Anyone else have this problem? Am I unreasonable?

to answer your question yes, and no.

what happens if y’all are eating together at a restaurant?

I have the same pet peeve.

For me it was “triggered” when some ass started to eat an apple loudly during a very stressful final exam. Didn’t just bite the apple, but slurped as well because of the juices. At the same time, some other girl was chewing her gum with her mouth open, cracking it, and blowing bubbles loudly.

Because of this “exam trauma”, my pet peeve has truly irrational proportions. I did eventually figure out that it’s because displays of “obliviousness” rub me the wrong way. Some people aren’t knowingly inconsiderate, they are simply “totally oblivious” to the fact that their actions affect other people. Something about that casual, total lack of awareness irritates me to no end.

FTR, Sniffs_Markers thinks I “hear too much” – that I literally hear more than the average person. I am forever turning the volume switch down and I am unable to sleep through the night because I am roused by sounds most people don’t notice. So she thinks I’m some sort of sensory freak (I also wake up if the cats are on the bed and one cat washes the other cat’s ears. I can feel the movement through the mattress and it wakes me up.)

I have learned to go into “my Zen space” because my Sniffs_Markers’s step-dad has The Most Atrocious Table Manners, and his dentures make it even worse. At 74, he’ll not likely change his ways. He smack his lips and talks while chewing so will occasionally spit food while chatting. (I am in my Zen space… I am in my Zen space…)

Oh, and for the other half of your OP.

Sniffs_Markers is aware of this irrational aggravation of mine. So when we’re together, she eats as if we are dining in a fine restaurant, using the due diligence in table manners that you would expect from dining in the presence of respected company. That cuts down on “gerbil noises” quite a lot. When she’s alone, she’s free to slurp her spaghetti as much as she wants.

In turn, I try to condition myself to think of the sound as one of decadence – a sound of enjoyment – and I concentrate on other details. I try to “drown out” the stimulus mentally. I am fully aware that it’s an unreasonable and irrational pet peeve, so it’s largely up to me to find a way to not let it get to me.

One way is to focus on other sounds. I kid you not, it’s like treating tinnitus (ringing in the ears) with “white noise.” I fare better in restaurants where there is a lot of backgroud conversation, 50 people munching (“gerbiling”), music, or other general “white noise.” In a silent environment, it makes me bonkers. And I must confess, I have to leave the room if someone eats an apple. This does not offend Sniffs_Markers, she doesn’t ofend easily (and BTW, she is amazed by the fact that I can eat an apple almost silently.)

Such pet peeves are a truly bizarre phenomenon. If you can find a therapist who will see you for one or two sessions specifically to address that issue, you may be able to find some concentration strategies that will help.

Not trying to say “you need therapy.” It’s just that they know neat little tricks for conditioning and may have some methods that will help you refocus so it doesn’t make you bonkers.

Rocking Chair The misses is not truly a LOUD chomper. She chews with her mouth closed. The background noise of a restaurant, and various other sensory distractions tend to block out the minor noises.

Eats_Crayons I made some observations about my childhood experiences with this pet peeve, and oddly not EVERYONE affected me to the same degree. My brother and father were the worst. Maybe knowing they were living in the same house where we were taught the same table ettiquette, I felt they should know better…

Eats_Crayons Yeah, I can deal with it at restaurants, but at home, without the background noise, with her eating virtually in my ear (She likes to sit next to me…) AAARRRGGHHH!

How about sitting next to a 65 year-old guy with no teeth who makes a “schlup” sound every 10 seconds or so (like when you open your mouth while holding your tounge against the roof and create a little suction sound) for 13 hours straight on a drive home?

After passing that test, I knew I could keep my homicidal tendacies under control no matter what .:cool:

The open-mouth chewing by Mr. Beckwall has improved over the years, but YEOW what about the biting down on the silverware??
There is no Zen state to get me through that one. Makes my teeth hurt right now, just thinking of it.

HeeHee this is soo funny. Boy the things that drive us to distraction. My husband is the same way about eating noises. Well actually crunching noises. I do not eat chips around him even though I eat with my mouth closed. And anyone chomping on ice just sets him on edge. If someone around him is cracking their gum he just stares at them with his hand outstretched and makes them give it to him to throw away. Most people oblige - he’s a very big man.

But my pet peeve that makes me think about murder is something totally different. My mother-in-law has all kinds of off the wall medical notions. And for the record they all drive me crazy. BUT she thinks that if someone is choking running your hand down their face from forhead to chin will somehow magically dissolve whatever is in their windpipe. I feel so sorry for my kids when she does this to them and it makes me mad. I mean they are struggling for breath and here is some lady messing with their face. If she ever did that to me I’d next be choking on fingers because she’ll pull back a bloody nub. Not that I feel strongly about it or anything. :smiley:

I’ll tell ya the one that just PUSHES me over the FUCKING edge: People who slurp and chomp while talking on the phone with me. I swear, it is the rudest, most disgusting sound a person can utter. Oh, and I LOVE it when they say, “slurp-chomp-smack, Sorry, I’m eatin’ slurp-smack”.

Fuck You. Just Fuck You.

Shai’tan, if your SO is a reasonable person, perhaps you can negotiate some things to help mitigate the situation, so the overall effect is lessened on you:

  1. first off–she has to sit next to you while eating?? i would think it’s more congenial to sit across the table from one another at a meal. you can see your partner and converse face-to-face without the need for that awkward craning of the neck. (plus it puts a bit of distance between your ears and her mouth). if, however, you have some sort of eating arrangement that makes this impractical (breakfast-bar or cafe-type setup), maybe you should quietly lobby for a genuine kitchen dinette set.

  2. try turning on a radio at mealtimes (tell her it’s mood music. do pick an appropriate radio station to set the “mood”.)

  3. eat out more often.

unless you two are wandering into passive-aggressive landmine territory, some compromises shouldn’t be out of the question. but if you can’t reach any sort of accommodations here, if it were me, i would start wondering about other issues that might be lurking under the surface.


What is ‘cracking their gum’ ? I’ve never heard of that expression. Is it just another word for chewing ?

Thanks in advance