Letter to TV people re: eating

3 07 2014

Dear actors, directors, screenwriters, advertisers etc,

The act of putting food in a film or TV character’s mouth, in a dining setting, is enough to give us simple viewers a clue that perhaps the character is eating or about to start eating. There is no need to force actors to eat with their Hollywood/BBC funded gobs wide open showing us the contents while making repulsive, 90db sleaurching noises. We know they are eating ; the visuals of putting food in the mouth followed by chewing is a huge indicator of this fact. There is no need to perpetuate bad manners by forcing us to listen in surround sound to the chomping and slurping of breakfast,lunch, dinner or snacks.
Please stop it.

No love
The people of the world with manners

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*Guest Post* Misophonia – Music to my ears!

8 04 2011

After I posted on twitter about my hatred of noisy eaters, Normal Weirdo emailed this and asked me to put it on the site.

……………………….

I have always had a very acute sense of hearing. I am one of those “lucky” people who can hear the buzz of electricity, heartbeats, people talking two apartments away… I can hear over the chatter of people on a noisy bus, someone breathe but worst of all, I can hear people eating and it sends me into a fit of rage.

Mealtimes would become a source of tension and anxiety as I would wait for the first sleurch to come from someone’s mouth. You would be as effective hitting a huge gong centimetres from my ear. My physical reaction would be the same.

As people started to enjoy their meals, and their lips would get smacking, I would get more and more wound up. I would start to wriggle and bounce around on my seat. I would put my fingers in my ears. I would do whatever I could to stop myself exploding with pain and anger. I felt like I was being punished. The pain I experienced, and it was a very real pain emanating from my brain throughout my body, is how I imagine it feels to be shot at close range.

I just thought my family had no manners and ate like pigs. I was partly right. I would ask them to eat quieter and when they didn’t I would make a similar much more emphasised eating noises to get them to try to sympathise and understand where I was coming from.

It failed.

A 7-year-old child making demands of her family and criticising their lack of eating manners obviously didn’t go down too well.

This had gone on for well over 20 years and it made my life and allegedly the lives of others sheer hell.

Then I learned a new word. Curious, I Googled for a definition and it was music to my ears, I felt a justification for my antsy and angry behaviour when others ate.

This word was MISOPHONIA.

It was heard in passing and the context now evades me but when I read it’s meaning, it was like someone flicking a switch and a bulb going on.

Misophonia, also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome, is a newly-diagnosed neuro-otological disorder that affects children and adults. Sufferers can feel immediate and intense rage at others? eating and breathing sounds, about which they become hyper-aware and obsessed, sometimes with an ability to recall trigger incidents years after the event. The condition often sets off a ?fight or flight? panic reaction in the sufferer and has been responsible for ruining relationships, breaking up families and leaving those most acutely affected suicidal.

taken from the Misophonia UK homepage

For people affected by misophonia, the most innocent of sounds can trigger an abnormal response.

Everyone has noises they can’t bear. Nails on a blackboard make people cringe, snoring is known to wreck marriages and lives but when a necessary thing such as eating sends people into a fit of rage, there’s something not quite right.

For me, noises that probably just irritate a high percentage of the population have me contemplating violence and it is a real struggle not to act upon these impulses. Non violent by nature, it is very uncharacteristic of me to want to rip someone’s limbs off with my bare hands. It takes real restraint not to act on such impulses. I don’t really expect many people to understand that.

I have tried various diversionary tactics but each time I just home in on the noise that irritates me the most. No amount of distraction short of silence helps.

My irritants are common:-

  • eating / chewing / sucking with the mouth open
  • breathing
  • tapping non rhythmically
  • snoring non rhythmically
  • sniffing
  • sucking on a cigarette

There are probably many more.

I avoid many situations because of the problems I have with some noises. I avoid cinemas altogether now because of the sound and smells of the food people insist on eating.  Luckily it didn’t get to the stage of this guy who shot a noisy popcorn eater in the cinema but I can understand where he was coming from.