Personally, the sounds that come out of other people's mouths while they are eating completely irk me. I know it's natural and everyone needs to eat — but the sound just grates on my nerves. Also, if I happen to be eating something that's particularly crunchy or sloppy, I'm low-grade mortified that people around me have to listen to me eat. Alas, a new Instagram of a woman making chewing sounds has become a viral sensation and I officially feel very out of touch with "what the kids are doing."
As a person who works for the internet creating content, I make staying plugged-in a priority. It's literally my job to follow trends, take note of interesting content, and strive to be a unique voice myself. So certain trends — like rainbow food and mom jeans make sense to me. I could see these trends working their way to the surface for a long time. So by the time they hit the mainstream, I was all: Yeah! Good for you, Unicorn Frappuccino and high-waisted jeans! But this chewing into a microphone trend has me all: what?
If you hate chewing sounds, you now what I mean when I say the thought probably reminds you of a relative who slurps extra loud, a friend who smacks their tongue when they chew, or a colleague who love to talk to you while their mouth is full of food. And all of these memories probably make your stomach turn. But the numbers don't lie: There are millions of people out there in internet land who not only like the sounds of other people chewing — but experience euphoria as a result of listening to such noises. Yes, this is a real thing, and if you don't believe me, take a look at the views on this video:
Yes, you read that right: that's 5.7 million views on a video of a young woman tapping her glass with her nails, slurping her spaghetti — and stoping only to whisper in a breathy voice "this is so yummy" — before polishing off the plate and blowing an exaggerated kiss at the camera.
Sushi anyone? Despite the fact that it might seem like these videos solely exist to wreck havoc on the internet (it's no wonder she often disables her comments on Instagram) there's actually a legit purpose.
It's called ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response — a term used to describe a pleasurable sensation that occurs when certain sounds are experienced in the body. The best way I can comprehend it is by comparing it to that feeling you get when someone plays with your hair. You get a light tingling sensation in the back of your head, and sometimes it spreads down your back. It's a soothing feeling that makes you feel focused, calm, and, well — good. While eating sounds tend to be a popular representation of this reaction, there's actually a whole library of sounds that can have similar results: Solfrid ASMR herself will often make videos just whispering, tapping her nails on different surfaces, playing with hair, turning the pages of magazines, and playing with different lotions; the idea is that at least one of those noises will cause a pleasurable experience for you.
So if chewing noises don't bring you to a happy place, you can try out some other sounds and see if anything happens. I have to be honest: I'm tempted to give this trend a try and see if I can prove to my mother that having poor table manners could actually really work out for me.