My dad can not stand the sound of chewing. We were trained to have excellent table manners and, even then, we still had quiet music playing during the meal so Dad couldn't hear us eat.
When I was about thirteen, Dad took me on a winter campout, something we enjoyed doing together. This particular night, I couldn't get warmed up enough to sleep. Dad suggested I try eating something. I pulled a bagel out of my backpack and began to eat. Knowing my jaws were just inches away from my dad's ears, I knew it was going to be tricky. Slowly and carefully, I took tiny bites, keeping my lips securely sealed. But it is impossible to eat a chewy bagel in complete silence. After about two minutes of tormented being-as-quiet-as-I-can eating, Dad let out an impatient sigh and an, "Do you have to chew so loud?!"
It was hopeless. I put the bagel away and eventually fell asleep without it's help.
Then there is gum. My mom taught that smacking is rude and makes you look dumb. She, in fact, never chews gum but opts instead for a breath mint. I do enjoy gum on occasion, but, always afraid of exposing my lack of intellect, I am careful to not smack.
Confession: I am a popper. If gum is in my mouth, I pop it. I do the little pops on my back teeth and, depending on the type of gum, blow the big bubbles. I try to control it, I do, but if I am in a place where the popping is not acceptable, I eventually just have to remove my gum.
Suggestions are welcome.