Annoyed by gum smacking

Published 10:28 am Monday, April 4, 2022

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Dear Aunty Pam,


I’m an older, widowed male and have met an attractive and fun woman at the retirement village where we both live. “Dorothy” and I hit it off right away, we both live independently and take lots of day trips together and are planning a trip to the beach soon.

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I know I’m lucky to meet someone like her at my time of life, especially since it took me a long time to get over losing my wife. She’s active and good natured and we really enjoy each other’s company. Sounds like a perfect match, right? It is except for one thing— Dorothy gave up smoking 6 months ago and she says she needs to chew gum to keep from giving in to the craving to smoke. This means she chews gum constantly. If we go out for a meal, she puts it in a napkin and as soon as we finish eating, she pops in another piece. She also will pop and crack her gum sometimes and I hate to say it, but it drives me crazy. We went to the movies a couple of times and I felt like I had my arm around a cow chewing its cud.


Any advice? I want to support her in giving up the cigarettes, but this gum thing is driving me crazy.





Dear Jack,


This is quite the conundrum…it’s times like these that Aunty Pam wishes she had a beard because this issue requires at least 3 strokes of the chin to figure out!


The only solution I can think of is to see if you can cunningly offer her a less irritating replacement to the gum. But you must be very careful here, Jack. You can’t, for example, hold up a french fry as if she were a seal and drop it into her mouth. Likewise, you most definitely cannot say, “Dorothy, would you consider eating a marshmallow instead? Because I haven’t heard this much popping and cracking since I stopped listening to records on my Magnavox.” No…you’re going to have to approach her as you would a horse: calmly, kindly, with an outstretched hand offering her a treat that she will find irresistible. But remember to keep your palm flat so she doesn’t nip your fingers by mistake.


So which treats? An ex-smoker will tell you immediately it can’t have a lot of calories because often weight is put on when their appetite is no longer suppressed by the nicotine. So maybe a mint? Or, remember Kojak? His choice was a Tootsie roll pop. But then you’ll have to watch her looking like a chipmunk with the side of her cheek bulged out with acorns. Some folks chew on toothpicks, which might be an option, but that could escalate to a blade of grass and the next thing you know, you’ll find yourself canoodling with Pa Kettle.


I gotta be honest, Jack, I see no way out with this. You appear to still be in the ’honeymoon phase’ of your relationship and it will crush her if you tell her how annoying you find the gum smacking. You’re old enough to know that every relationship comes with compromise and you may have to suffer through this, which might just be worth it for an otherwise gem of a gal. And consider this: there is the chance that her cravings for nicotine will soon end and, with it, the gum chewing.


In the meantime, count yourself lucky. At least Dorothy isn’t dipping snuff.


Cheers, dear!

Aunty Pam