Modern Manners: Gum Popping

by Randy Murray on September 18, 2012

There are few things that set my nerves on edge more than the sounds of loud, wet gum chewing or “popping.” I’m not talking about blowing bubbles and popping them, although that’s annoying as well. I’m talking about the loud noises and audible pops that many gum chewers make. Many are completely oblivious of the noises that they’re making or how they look when doing it.

As a rule, what you do and how you act is no business of mine or anyone else. But when you are moving about in the world any unnecessary noise you make is at least a distraction and quite possibly offensive.

Recently after giving blood I was escorted to the recovery area and offered a drink and a snack by an elderly volunteer. She was there to help, but she was also loudly chewing gum, keeping it at the front of her month, pushing it out and popping it repeatedly as she talked. If I felt woozy it wasn’t from the loss of blood.

In general, chewing gum makes one look less intelligent and more distracted. I expect to hear the words, “whatever,” come dismissivaly from the mouth of gum chewers at any moment.

Note: never, ever say, “whatever,” to someone. It’s offensively dismissive. It’s better to come out and say, “I don’t care what you say.”

If you must chew gum, do it silently and with your mouth closed. The rest of us finding our way through the world have enough revolting things to deal with.


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The Modern Manners: Gum Popping by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin Farner September 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

Two phrases are banned at the Farner household: “whatever” and “I’m bored”. I don’t care if my kids disagree with me but I can’t tolerate intellectual laziness, which those phrases embody.


Randy Murray September 18, 2012 at 9:24 am

I’ve always been deeply offended with anyone, my girls included, rolled their eyes at me and said, “whatever.” You’re right. It’s lazy, but it’s also a direct insult.

If you’re going to insult me, come out with it. If you can’t be bothered to argue, tough.


Shirley September 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

Whatever is my biggest pet peeve. Like Kevin says, it’s lazy and, for me, obnoxious that you have nothing to add but still need to have the last word.

I count myself as lucky that when I still taught ESL to teenagers, the phrase ‘whatever’ only came up in the context of curiosity. In my native tongue, we have a term that matches ‘whatever’ somewhat aptly and again luckily, clear in its rudeness that I didn’t actually hear my students use them in conversation. When I’m around, that is.


Randy Murray September 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

Good for you. I call people on it frequently. Say “whatever” to me and be prepared for an onslaught of “Dismiss me, will you?!”


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