Yes, I’m a grown-up and I’m writing a blog entry about farting. Well, to be more specific, farting in front of your significant other. But before you decide that this is too immature even for an Adam Sandler film, just bear with me.
Recently, a friend of mine got engaged to her boyfriend of three years. When we went out for celebratory drinks, she motioned for me to come closer. She drunkenly whispered in my ear “I farted in front of my fiancé for the first time today.” I was completely astounded. How in the blue blazes did they get to engagement stage without overcoming this vital stage in a relationship? Oh, so you don’t think it’s important? Okay. Imagine you’re in a room full of ten people. Now ask yourself “what’s the most embarrassing thing that could happen to me in their company?” Behind crapping your pants (sorry), projectile vomiting or everyone finding your Barry Manilow CD collection, farting probably ranks pretty high. Because it’s still taboo. Even though EVERYONE does it, we still find it embarrassing. So when you’re in a relationship, the first fart is one of those milestones you inevitably will face. Little did I know; what I began, my boyfriend won’t cease.
He’s going to kill me for this. Not literally kill me, of course. But he will yell at me like I just trampled his “Murder, She Wrote” DVD collection in six inch stilettos. The way I look at it though, if he doesn’t want me writing about his farting then why does he take such pleasure in it? Why? I’m asking you, universe!
I’m going to get this out of the way good and early because I’m not a hypocrite. I fart. The girls are nodding in solidarity. The men are shaking their heads and closing their eyes slowly in sheer disbelief. A girl… farting. It’s just… it’s not right guys, is it? Except that yes, it actually is. Firstly, I assure you that we’re anatomically and biologically quite similar to you (minus the genitals of course). Girls’ insides are not composed of Care Bears and rainbows, but gas producing organs just like you guys! The HORROR! So yes, occasionally, I fart. As does everyone else. Next time you get stuck talking to some sanctimonious snob at a dinner party, think to yourself: ‘he/she farts.’ Nothing will make them more human.
Anyway, the start of a relationship is fraught with nerves. “Will he think it’s cute or insanely weird that I still have teddy bears?” “When will it be acceptable to actually finish a giant steak in front of him?” “Will he break up with me when he sees how Norman Bates I get during my period?” Etc etc. The worst of these, and I’m sure many of you will agree, is the first fart. I assume since my boyfriend is attracted to women, he is attracted to femininity. I don’t really believe in gender roles. I think guys/girls should be able to do what the hell they want without worrying about being labeled as “blokey” if you’re a girl or “sissy” if you’re a boy but that’s for another day.
The thing is though that when you’re with someone, and especially at first, you do what you can to keep their attraction to you alive. Farting in front of your boyfriend is probably not top of most women’s list of seduction tips. But I knew it had to happen at some stage. I was tired of leaving the room. I was sick of holding it in. So one day I tried to do the mature thing and I brought it up.
‘I think we should talk about farting. I fart. You fart. We need to just get that out there and be comfortable about it.’ He clearly wasn’t ready yet. His response? ‘I don’t fart.’ Of course, I knew this was a lie. It turned out actually to be on a par with “I did not have sexual intercourse with that woman.” But because he seemed genuinely embarrassed, I left him alone. That didn’t stop me from breaking the ice (and some wind, hey-oh!!). I started farting in front of him. Not a lot, mind you. Now I know you’ll just think I’m trying to regain some of the dignity that I have inevitably lost in this piece, but I don’t fart that much. To be fair, my only comparison is Jack and I’m sure he’s broken world records at this stage. But it was enough of an amount to relieve me of any embarrassment. I soon got used to it. His reaction? He found it mildly amusing and profoundly disturbing. But whatever.
So, one day we’re in my Dad’s house cleaning out my closet (in a literal sense, not a metaphorical Eminem sense) and PARP (I will kindly take onomatopoeic suggestions) he let one rip! Now, instead of owning up he tried to pass it off as the floorboards creaking but I could tell by the mildly relieved look on his face that he had cut the cheese. And that was it. His first fart. It was beautiful in a way. But what was to follow, I just had no way of preparing for it. I knew that he was now okay to fart in front of me and I imagined it would be a still fairly rare occurrence. Sweet Heinz Baked Beans, was I wrong. The last nine years have been a symphony of blusters and smells so otherworldly that Heston Blumenthal will probably be in touch any day to fashion some kind of edible slurry pit from them. The aim of this is not to embarrass him (and if it is, does that make me bad?) but simply to wonder why the hell men love farting so much? I mean, I created a monster. He went from shy and unassuming to downright aggressive with his farting. I have been shushed in mid-sentence because “THIS IS GOING TO BE A GOOD ONE!” I have been subjected to countless guerrilla Dutch Ovens. He has tried to fart on my head. He farts down the phone. He wafts them towards me in the car and holds the electric window button so I can’t be relived of the hideous odour. Maybe it’s punishment for my naivety in assuming that farting in front of each other could bring us closer together. Instead, when I’m out grocery shopping, I actively avoid beetroot. He eats it on purpose. We’re still together. That’s love.
*picture from fart-sounds.net