I'm sure you've dealt with this before, either professionally or personally, but I need some advice. I'm currently involved with a man who in every other way is nothing less than perfect. His only flaw, if that's what you want to call it, is that he...well, he farts a lot. And they tend to smell pretty bad. During the first whole year we were together, he never farted at all, not so I noticed, anyway. But like all couples, we've gotten more comfortable with each other over time. I still wouldn't fart around him if I could possibly avoid it. But he's grown accustomed to, as he puts it, "airing his problems," which wouldn't really bother me if he didn't have so many problems.
I brought this up with him recently, after he made our bedroom virtually uninhabitable. And he was surprisingly defensive, told me he didn't know what I expected him to do about it, since "it's nature taking its course." I told him that his farts didn't seem natural, either in frequency or intensity. His response was that mine are actually worse than his, it's just that I work harder to cover them up. He also said it's been scientifically proven that female farts are worse than male farts. I don't know where he gets this stuff, but I said I'd check with you to see whether you thought I should just grin and bear it.
Still Very Much in Love
Still in Love: First things first, there was a study done to determine which gender cuts the deadliest farts. It was conducted under the direction of Dr. Michael Levitt, a gastroenterologist. And even more revealing than the results, in my opinion, was the procedure. First, a group of volunteers was fed a steady diet of pinto beans. Then they were asked to fart into aluminum bags via rectal tubes. (Ah, science.) Then a separate group of volunteers was brought in. They were to be the judges. Syringes were used to obtain samples from the bags, and the judges would basically release a sample into the air and allow - nay, encourage - it to waft their way. They then rated the contents on a scale of one to getmeouttahere.
For what it's worth, women were judged to do more damage, on average, to the olfactory system. A perhaps more relevant conclusion of the study, however, was that the average person farts 10-20 times a day. Anecdotally, I'd say that's about right. I've farted once since starting this column, and I suspect I'll fart again before I'm done. (I'll be sure to let you know.) And if your boyfriend is letting 'er rip much more often that that - 40 times a day, say - he might want to look into it, especially if he has other symptoms, like diarrhea or constipation. He might also want to look into his diet. Heavy on the beans? Potatoes? Onions? Root vegetables in general? Citrus fruits? Raisins? Bananas? Carbonated beverages? Milk and other dairy products?
As you can see, lots of food items make us fart, and perhaps the only way to guarantee you'll never fart again is to stop eating altogether, which eventually leads to its own set of funky smells. But why stop farting? It's become so much more socially acceptable these days. Just try getting through a Disney movie without one. Or an episode of South Park. One of the enjoyable tidbits from Bob Woodward's State of Denial was that President Bush likes to crack fart jokes with Karl Rove, and where there's smoke, there's fire, if you know what I mean. Everybody farts. Queen Elizabeth farts, and something tells me there's some momentum behind them. Farts are now like belches - not exactly part of polite society, but how polite is society?
Hopefully, you'll reach some sort of compromise with your guy, Still in Love. If not, I recommend you fill up on three-bean chili and Pepsi. Always works for me. By the way, everybody, I farted again.
If you're the wind beneath my wings, write to: Mr. Right, Isthmus, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or call 251-1206, ext. 152. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.