Why do tough guys chew toothpicks or match-sticks?

Why do tough guys chew toothpicks or match-sticks? - Man in Black Shirt Standing Near People

I remember Cobra (1986) and Razor Ramon from WWE.

They both chew either toothpicks or match-sticks.

What was the reason?

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Best Answer

My recollection is that chewing toothpicks, as a stereotype, was for farmers, carnival workers, oil roughnecks and other extreme blue-collar hicks.

A soldier chewing on a toothpick signals that he's not some college-boy officer, and not even some factory worker from the Bronx. He's probably a country boy. He was an expert shot with his daddy's rifle at 12 years old and knows jungle survival because he grew up in a bayou. But after dodging the revenuer who's after his moonshine still, he doesn't have much respect for authority -- a real renegade. I realize that's a lot of work for one toothpick.

Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) is a little different, but similar. His original wrestling character was a Florida boy who wrestled 'gators -- a toothpick chewer if I ever saw one. He started the gimmick while playing a sexy bad guy. But we can see the problem in this match where a young woman is very excited to be allowed to rip off his pants. We can't have too many women cheering for him, so need strong signals that he's the bad guy. Thus, greased-back hair and a toothpick stuck in his mouth to show that he's low-class (and flicking it at people is a fun gimmick).

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Why do tough guys chew toothpicks or match-sticks? - Woman in Black and White Striped Long Sleeve Shirt Sitting on Red and Black Sofa
Why do tough guys chew toothpicks or match-sticks? - Man in Red Dress Shirt Smoking Cigarette Beside Woman in Red Dress
Why do tough guys chew toothpicks or match-sticks? - Crop sportsman with dumbbells in fitness studio

Why do gangsters chew toothpicks?

Gangsters gnawed on toothpicks. Western heroes. Strong, silent types. The toothpick could signify humility, sure, but it could also become an ornamental flourish for a menacing figure.

What does chewing a toothpick mean?

It was a common observation of the time that many of the young men standing in front of a good hotel chewing toothpicks were suggesting they had eaten in its fine dining room, when in fact they could not afford to do so. In time, chewing a toothpick anywhere became a sign of contentment and insouciance.

Why do guys keep toothpicks in their mouth?

Some folks, O'Malley said, say they keep a toothpick going because it stimulates saliva and keeps their lips moist. \u201cBut in many cases,\u201d he said sadly, \u201ctoothpicks are just another way people block feelings.\u201d See, I told you there was more to this toothpick thing than dental hygiene.

Is it safe to chew on matches?

One of the toxic effects with large ingestions of matches is hemolysis, which is a breakdown of the red blood cells. This causes a decreased ability to transport oxygen around the body. In addition to respiratory failure, damage to kidneys and liver can occur.

How guys act with a toothpick in their mouth

More answers regarding why do tough guys chew toothpicks or match-sticks?

Answer 2

That’s a very common trope in movies known as “Oral Fixation.” It's not even limited to toothpick and matchsticks either, but also show straws, lollipops, etc.

Mostly presented to make your character look cool or badass and also a safer option than smoking as there are smoking rules in many countries too.

Alternative addiction people do exist in real life, too, and get fixated with something which doesn't harm or harms them less, like coffee instead of alcohol, or something chewable instead of cigarettes. There is even a TV trope link for that.

Answer 3

The reason seems obvious: "I eat you raw! All of ya!" A sign of power. Be it Kojak sucking his lollypop or dirty Harry eating his cigar. Or Buggs Bunny his carrot, for that matter. Quite sexy, actually...

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