Not the Time or Place: Chewing gum in public

by epi on June 25, 2012

Q: I was recently at a wedding, seated next to my significant other’s 36 yr. old son. He was chewing gum and I politely and in a rather joking manner, as we have a close relationship, mentioned that I didn’t think it was either the right place or time. However, he answered that it’s perfectly acceptable these days. Was I ‘way off’ the mark here?

A: The “rules” of gum chewing ought to be confined to private times or the company of close friends—not during class, at work, or in worship services, and not when in conversation. Therefore, your significant other’s son should not have been chewing gum at the wedding.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

scdeb June 25, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Chewing gum might not be acceptable in those instances but I have two problems with this: One is that two wrongs don’t make a right–correcting an adult in a public situation is not acceptable (even if it was meant as a joke) and making a comment such as that in the middle of a wedding ceremony is also not respectful.
Two, there are people who feel the need to cough in churches (not in this case) and during concerts and classes and other places where coughing would ruin everyone’s experience–chewing gum in a manner that would cause no one to take notice is often a solution.
Sometimes in an effort to enforce proper ettiquette one tends to forget that the comment they intend to make might also be in poor taste. In this case any comments might have waited until there was a private moment & with adults if there is a ensuing disscussion it might be wise to just let it go. Another kinder way to get the point across might be to bring it up in a group as a discussion–just a thought.


Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder June 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Dear Emily,

I do agree with your Answer about the “rules” of gum. It is and always will remain a very rude and impolite manner to chew gum in public, like a ruminating cow. A reply from such a person that it is perfectly acceptable these days is a cheap shot, only an excuse and not based on the truth. It is like change, that makes a lot of noise weather the paper bills you will not hear…
Especially during a wedding and at Church it demonstrates a complete lack of respect. In general, the younger generations have removed themselves from high morals and ethics and it is evident in society.
As a nation we could learn a lot from a country like Singapore as it is clean and neat looking and they had a ban on chewing gum. During the time we were international consultants, my husband and I loved to travel to and within Singapore.
Just the other day when loading my car at Trader Joe’s I stepped on such a chewing gum ‘germ-ball’ that was left there by someone thinking this is perfectly acceptable these days…
Thanks for these posts; keep them coming!


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