MISOPHONIA: For people with a condition that some scientists call misophonia, mealtime can be torture. The sounds of other people eating — chewing, chomping, slurping, gurgling — can send them into an instantaneous, blood-boiling rage. – The New York Times
Bryan and I are in the living room, watching TV. I’m eating a salad.
Bryan sighs heavily and shifts uncomfortably in his couch seat. He sighs again, glancing sideways at me and casually covering his ears. “Are you almost finished with that?” he asks.
I stare back at him. “With the salad? It’s my dinner.”
“I know,” he says. “Why do you always have to pick the crunchiest dinners? You know I have mesothelioma.”
“That’s not what it’s called,” I chuckle. He doesn’t laugh. “Fine, I’ll try to chew more quietly, but that’s kind of hard to do with a bowl of romaine lettuce and carrots.”
Bryan thanks me. There’s a brief moment of silence (at least, to me), and then he pipes up again. “You know, one of the first things you ever told me about yourself was that you always chew gum.”
“I did?” I ask, surprised.
“Yes,” he replies. “You said it the very first day we ever spent time together.”
“Wow,” I smile. “Well, that’s true. I do love gum!”
“And I remember being overcome with the feeling of total dread,” he continues somberly, “because I didn’t think there was any way I’d be able to see you again if it meant I’d have to put up with all of that chewing.”
What Bryan’s trying to say: “I am really, honestly bothered by sounds of chewing and crunching.”
What the Eternal Romantic hears: “I was enamored with you from the moment I met you, Sweet Angel Jillian. Even on our first date, I knew you were The One. I remember every word you said to me on that day, even your casual comment about gum. I have loved you so wholeheartedly that I’ve chosen to cast my misophonia aside just to be with you. So what if I have to put up with a little crunching? It’s a small price to pay if it means I can spend the rest of my life with you by my side.”
I stare at him, my face now resembling a heart-eyes emoji, and smile. “I love you,” I say dreamily.
He looks at me, confused. “I love you, too. So, are you almost finished with your salad?”
“Oh Bryan,” I giggle, tousling my hair. “We have the best time together!”