I have three grandmothers.
One never ‘passed wind’ in front of her husband in all the years that they were married. One giggles when her grown children do it at the dinner table. I’ve never noticed how the third grandma reacts to passing gas. Not that you should ever, ever, categorize your grandmothers in terms of their relationship to flatulence.
I used to consider farting a reliable indicator of intimacy. You meet somebody. You fall in love. After a careful length of time, he becomes acquainted with your track pants. Then your morning breath. Then he’s seen you without make-up. Once in a while, at first, then regularly. This coincides with the revelation of your utility underwear (the pretty stuff is in the dryer). And then you let one rip.
Maybe it was an accident. You were stifling it, but then he made you laugh, and it slipped out.
Or your gut was in pain as you went through heroic lengths to keep it in. You squeezed. You held statue-still. You prayed. He continued to chat about the meaning of life, while you feigned involvement in the conversation. Your singular thought in that moment was “Universe, I will donate my next paycheque to a Bosnian orphanage if you can keep this one in for me!” But the Universe doesn’t care about charity. That’s Karma’s department. The sound reverberated throughout the house.
But this is a good thing, right? Once the silence is broken, it means that you and your dude have reached a new level of trust and togetherness. A fart won’t mar your perception of your one, true love! Your relationship defies superficiality. Besides, what is a fart except a miniature, intestinal Mardi Gras: a parade of gases that start in your stomach and march their way out your bum.
It’s natural. Like blinking or coughing. That’s my opinion, at least.
When I first met my boyfriend, something told me that he fell into my Grandma Mary’s camp: the non-farters. I was right. He had never passed gas in front of any of his partners. Nor his friends. Nor his family. He isn’t disgusted by it, he said. It was more a matter of respect and maintaining some mystery.
I had to seriously consider whether or not I had the constitution to withstand a lifetime of holding it in. I remember looking into the blueness of his eyes, thinking that I would endeavour to become so close to him that he would one day break wind in my presence. We forged ahead.
That’s why, yesterday, I rammed a Neti pot up my nostril. I do things like this every so often. One, because it comes naturally to me, I’m a gross lady. Two, because it serves as a litmus test of his preparedness to hear me fart one day. A gauge, of sorts.
He wrinkled his nose and immediately looked away. No smile. Not a good sign. Prognosis: another year and a half of mental conditioning.
But here’s the thing: he’s the best person I know.
He’s funny. He charms the ladies working the Tim Horton’s drive-thru. He remembers everyone’s name. He’s generous. He’s patient. He’s got the purest heart of anyone I know. He makes me want to be a better woman (with apologies to Melvin Udall).
The “no-farting-in-front-of-each-other” rule is dumb. But having a great man to hold onto is worth holding it in for.