Dear Hobie & Monk,
I do not like the way my husband chews his food. He chews with his mouth shut (thank goodness!), but he has the strange ability to project the sound of sloshing saliva as he works his jaw. The sounds are so vivid and loud that I feel I have a window into the inner workings of his mouth, and I can see his food moving around as it starts its journey through his body.
We have been married for almost 20 years, and I have always been honest with him about this highly distracting trait. I have tried every tactic I can muster, but he blows me off. He says it’s just the way he chews. But now I’m getting desperate — because my son is starting to sound like him. Help!
– Chewing on a problem
Hobie: Let me guess, when you recited your vows and chirped, “until death do us part,” you weren’t thinking about “the sound of sloshing saliva,” were you? Of course not. But now you’ve been married for almost 20 years, so you know that “in sickness and in health” also means tolerating your beloved’s digestive processes, including disgusting sounds and smells.
I know it’s hard. I do. But I suggest you shift from a solution-driven approach to a minimize-and-manage approach to this probably intractable, possibly heritable, quirk. Continue to rely on the fun sense of humor that is evidenced in your question and try not to dwell on the noisily robust first stages of male digestion.
Monk: Seriously, Monk, has it really come to this: We’re answering questions about chewing?
Dear desperate wife, I completely understand how annoying little quirks about one’s soul mate can become irritating beyond belief over time (my “Prince Charming” and I also are nearing the 20-year mark), but seriously. Take another sip of Merlot (I’m sure there will be no sloshing) and get over it. Seriously.
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Hobie and Monk are two Alexandria women with husbands, children, dogs, jobs, mortgages, unmet New Year’s resolutions, obsessions with impractical shoes, English novels … and Ph.D.s in clinical psychology. Their advice, while fabulous, should not be construed as therapeutic within a doctor-patient context or substituted for the advice of readers’ personal advisors.