Monday, June 7, 2010

The Fine (?) Art of Farting

I’m going to discuss a subject today that most women do not talk about or even acknowledge really. And that subject is…um…farting. Passing gas. Tooting. Whatever you call it – we don’t like to talk about it and we really don’t like to do it. Ever. I suspect that there are even men out there who believe that women neither possess the knowledge nor the ability to perform this biological function. These would not be married men, by the way. Married men know all our ugly secrets. Or most of them anyway.

Truthfully, most women would rather suffer inadvertent internal combustion rather than doing something so crass. And in public? Forget it! We’d prefer you posted a video of us on YouTube trying on bathing suits rather than tooting in public. And let me just clue you in on something: unless they’re a Victoria’s Secret model, women really hate trying on bathing suits. Clearly, there is a hierarchy to the things we hate doing. (And, guys, don’t let anyone fool you – folding and putting away your boxers and cleaning out the vegetable drawer in the fridge are somewhere on that list, too.)

So why is it that men find the subject of flatulence so incredibly hilarious? I mean, they virtually regress before our very eyes and become giggling 10-year-olds if even the subject of passing gas is brought up, let alone if they were to let one rip or hear someone else do it.

Oh, and before I go any further on this subject, let me just state for the record, that no, I did not have a tooting accident – in public or otherwise.

No, I bring up the subject because we went to a cookout on Saturday night and our host brought out his “fart machine,” complete with remote control. And the guys at the party thought it was the Funniest. Thing. Ever. They cracked up every single time anyone bent over or lowered themselves into a chair and the fart machine went into overdrive. I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect that the batteries for the remote on the damn thing needed to be replaced after its evening of non-stop use.

Vince said it was the most fun he’s had in a long time – and he laughed harder than I think I’ve ever heard him laugh before. Yikes. I thought I was pretty good at knowing what makes Vince tick…but who knew that the way to a man’s funny bone is a remote controlled fart machine?

Men even have names for their gaseous emissions. The loud-but-odorless. And the silent-but-deadly. And they giggle whenever they let one loose. The smellier the fart is, the louder these grown men laugh. Why is this? I simply don’t get it.

On the drive home after the fart-fest – between bouts of uncontrollable laughter – Vince asked the same question. “We don’t laugh when someone sneezes or belches,” he said, “so why do we laugh when people fart?”

I said, “First of all, honey, the ‘people’ you refer to in that question would be ‘men’ – let’s just get that straight. And, also, women don’t laugh when men fart. We’re too busy trying to uncross our eyes, fanning the air in front of us and hoping the noxious fumes will dissipate before we’re forced to move to another room or, depending on the severity of the smell, to another ZIP code.”

Vince just laughed all that much harder.

My theory is that – for men – there is a strange combination of embarrassment and pride in their ability to pass gas loudly. When they were boys, they had farting contests. C’mon, I know these things. I had brothers. And, also, I saw the movie Blazing Saddles and know what the effects of eating baked beans will have on a group of grown men sitting around a campfire. Mel Brooks probably thought up that scene when he was 10 years old and couldn’t wait to grow up to be a filmmaker so he could recreate the visual. Not to mention the audio.

Clearly, men and women are different creatures entirely. If a woman were to accidentally pass gas, even in a private room with only her best friend in the world there to hear it, she would still be mortified. It’s just not something we do.

Now, I must admit that there are exceptions to every rule. I am sure there are men who don’t find flatulence funny. And there surely must be women who take pride in their ability to produce long, loud farts – but I cannot say I’m acquainted with any of them. Or at least they don’t display such prowess in front of me.

I’ve not done a scientific study, but I know of at least three men who, while finding great humor in the art of farting, find it distasteful to hear women pass gas. In public or otherwise. Double standard? Yeah, sure. But that’s okay. There are some areas in which I do not wish to be considered equal to men. And one would be in the silent-but-deadly category.

Pass the baked beans? Nooooo thank you…I’ll think I’ll, uh, pass!

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