True confession: I am a slurper.
I just learned this, after decades of slurping my coffee and other hot beverages, I suppose — and cold ones, too, my g/f assures me.
It bugs her. Hence, the sudden revelation that came with a cuppa hot chocolate while we cuddled in front of the wood stove. “You do it all the time . . . you just did it again . . . ”
I wasn’t really aware that I slurped my drinks. I never gave it any thought. Imagine that: a lifetime slurper who was unaware of it.
Would you call that a habit?
Cigarettes are a habit (which I quit 10 years ago).
Yes, it’s a habit. An affliction and a curse, from my g/f’s perspective. And I don’t think I’ll be able to cure myself, at least, not with hot beverages. I’m good with room temperature: I can say that now, as I sip Barefoot Shiraz that was opened four hours ago.
So, what’s with the slurping, anyhow?
Well, you know the answers are out there.
The first article I consulted has the headline Why You Should Slurp, Not Sip, Your Soup.
Apparently, it’s not me suffering an affliction. It’s my g/f. She has misophonia: “People living with misophonia experience extreme feelings of annoyance and disturbance upon hearing eating sounds like smacking, gulping loudly, or gurgling,” according to the article. Or slurping, apparently.
There are other articles — many, many articles — about slurping, which I found instantly reassuring because I’m not the only one who does it.
It seems there are good reasons for slurping various beverages, from soup to tea to coffee and, yes, hot chocolate. The key word in that last part is “hot.” Slurping actually cools the liquid a bit as air is drawn into the mouth with it (yes, we suck in room-temperature air when we slurp).
Some say slurping actually makes the drink tastier, and provides your nose with more of the aroma.
Slurping tea and soup is widely accepted and encouraged in some cultures, such as China. But no so much in the West, unless you are a coffee-tasting professional like Paul Massard, who is renowned for his “loud, obnoxious slurp” in the line of duty, according to a report on Perfecting the Coffee Slurp.
This pearl of wisdom from the aforementioned article offers insight into the true science behind slurping:
Slurping loudly means you are sucking the coffee in with such velocity that it is aerated and sprayed across your entire palate. This is just like aerating wine — except this time, your mouth is the decanter. Aerating also allows your nose to get in on the action. Aeration allows coffee aromas to pass by the soft palate and travel up into your nose. When inside your nose, aromas interact with your nasal receptors. The data from your nose and tongue are then sent to the brain. From there, your brain acts like a super-computer and deciphers the signals to create what we perceive as taste.
And that’s how I do most of my slurping. With coffee, which I looooove. So, for four or five cups a day, anybody around me has had to put up with my slurping.
I must say I have very tolerant and patient colleagues. And friends. Not a word about it from any of them all these years.
Or, have they been slurping all along, too, and I never noticed it?
I’ve certainly noticed it when they’ve bought a bag of chips — crisps, as the British call them — and crunched and rustled the bag for 10 minutes or so while I’ve been editing copy.
Yup. My misophonia kicks in then.
I’ll have to make an effort now to, umm, clamp down on my slurping lips, if only because my g/f will remind me over and over again when she catches me doing it. She can’t help it. She has misophonia.
One suggestion for slurping control is to allow hot beverages to cool to room temperature, then sip them. But no way am I going to wait that long for my coffee. So, I may just have to find some nooks where I can slurp alone.
I might just smack my lips while I’m at it.