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Farting: It's Only Natural

Updated on June 6, 2016
DzyMsLizzy profile image

Liz considers herself an amateur comedienne. She belonged to a comedy improv troupe, has written assorted spoofs, and stage managed plays.

Is farting crude, rude and socially unacceptable, or just nature?

We cover our mouths with our hands when we burp.  Why don't we cover our behinds when we fart?
We cover our mouths with our hands when we burp. Why don't we cover our behinds when we fart? | Source

What are Farts?

I wrote this article in reply to the question, "Do you and your spouse fart in each other's presence?" posed by Poetic Failosophy in the Q & A Section.

Farting, or passing gas, technically known as flatulence, is normal, and all animals are "guilty." All mammals, anyway; I don't know about bugs or fish.

People generally do this about 15-20 or more times a day, depending on diet. Because of cultural influences, it has been relegated to the category of things known as "embarrassing."

The cause is gas produced by various bacteria in the gut working upon the foods we eat. Depending on the food and the type of bacteria, there may or may not be an associated odor with the release of this gas.

That is the answer my mother might have given me, had she not been too busy laughing herself silly the night I came piling out of bed at around eight years of age, demanding to know, "Mother, exactly what is a fart composed of?"

What to Call the Thing?

In addition to its technical medical terminology of flatus, there are innumerable vernacular expressions used to speak of the act, without naming it directly. Below are just a few of the many, many references to this one bodily function.

passing gas
barking spider
air biscuit
trouser cough
anal acoustics
butt trumpet
let one rip
cut the cheese
break wind

Squelch the Thing?

However to address the question: if a married couple has a true partnership, are married for the right reasons, and not shallow ones, there should be no problem with this happening in each other's presence.

That said, it is usually considered "polite" to exercise the muscles to minimize the sound--especially in public. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. There are situations we've all encountered when it is impossible to exercise two separate muscle groups at the same time; hence we have an assorted variety of sounds from these contrary activities:

  • The bending-over ripper
  • The walking squeaker
  • The squatting gasser
  • The sneezing explosion
  • The coughing tooter

There was a saying that came from my mother's side of the family, and it applied to the burp, or belch, not the fart. I maintain that the same sentiment applies exactly to flatulence:

"Better to belch and bear the shame than squelch the belch and bear the pain."

Meaning, of course, that trapped gas is very liable to cause a gut-ache. And no one likes gas cramps.

Also, as we age, control over certain muscles may weaken, and make squelching or controlling the noise nearly impossible.

Successfully silencing the odorous monster,however, can result in the "SBD" variety...(Silent But Deadly)...which can have you racing for the next aisle in the store in a rather large hurry, or hoping that you remain alone in the elevator until you reach your floor.

And to my knowledge, no one has yet invented charcoal-filter underwear.

A True Story? I'm Not Sure.

I heard this tale years ago. Take it as you will. I take it as humor.

There was a dinner party, to which a rather socially awkward fellow was invited. The seating was formal; man, woman, man, woman, man woman, etc. around the table.

The unfortunate woman next to him was troubled with gas, and every time a flatus escaped her, the man on her other side, chivalrously took the blame, saying, "Oh, excuse me," or "I beg your pardon."

The rube finally caught on to what was happening, and, missing the entire point, the next time, raised his arm and loudly called out, "This one's on me!"

What to Say?

Common courtesy demands, in public at least, to offer an "Excuse me," if you have offered up such a gem, especially of the unavoidably noisy type. Then again, if you are at a sporting event, it might just be mistaken for a "Bronx Cheer" against the opposing team.

Commenting on someone else's contribution, however, is liable to turn the tables on you, with a comeback such as, "The one who smelt it, dealt it." Or, "The hen that cackles is the one who laid the egg."

Being the sneaky Pete who exudes one of the "SBD" variety, then frowns at, and moves away from another person, thereby silently laying the blame elsewhere, is just plain not nice.

The Mythbusters Explore the Phenomenon

The Flatulence Tally

Do you allow a fart to escape in front of your significant other?

See results

The Marriage Question

This may be a generational thing. People past a certain age might well consider this event to be deadly embarrassing, even in the presence of one's own spouse.

The next generation might stifle a chagrined giggle.

But watch out for the generations after that! They are liable to devolve into outright contests!


"Oh, yeah? Well take that!" *Toot!*

"Is that the best you can offer?" *TOOT!*

"Well, let's see now--hand me that can of beans over there!" *TOOOOOOOTTTT!! TOOT*

"Maybe we'd better open a window."

Married people who know each other well, and are best friends, have learned to take life as it comes are not going to be overly embarrassed or offended because of a natural bodily function. They are in it, for better or worse, in health and in flatulence, 'till death do they part.

And let us hope that the law is not called in for death by gassing.

© 2013 Liz Elias


Submit a Comment

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 13 months ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, there, peachpurple. Thanks very much for your input. It is interesting to note the different cultural responses. To be sure, I was writing from the perspective of the USA, and our culture, and I realize others may have a very different take on such functions.

    Just as there are some cultures, (unlike ours), in which a loud burp after a meal is considered a compliment to the cook; while here, it is considered rude, especially while still at the table.

    Thanks again for sharing your perspective.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 13 months ago from Home Sweet Home

    Great hub

    My parents fart around the house as if nothing happens.

    It is our culture to fart with ignorance.

    We never say Excuse me or Bemused over it.

    It is just a casual thing that everyone does

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 13 months ago from Oakley, CA

    Thanks, Glen; I'm glad you enjoyed this, errrr...exploration into the phenomenon from which we all suffer as humans. I agree; it is silly to be embarrassed about such things in front of one's spouse.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 13 months ago from Long Island, NY

    I think it's great that you had the courage to write about this Liz. It's such a natural phenomenon for us and most any living creature. And when two people live together they would be silly to try to avoid it in each others presence and suffer instead. That would just be so silly.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, Rochelle!

    LOL So very true. My husband and I don't have the 'battles' of the kind I portrayed here, though there might be an occasional, "Oh, yeah? Well, back atcha!" LOL

    HOWever---in our house, the worst room-clearing offenders are--the CATS!!! Whew! Turn on the fans! Grab the air freshener! Quick!

    Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed this silliness.

  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

    Just came across this.

    Experiencing the phenomenon while dating is the worst-- but I think you are not truly man and wife until you can share and mutually accept all natural physical occurrences with good humor and temporary room evacuation, if necessary.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, lbrummer, nice to meet you.

    I'm glad I was able to provide some chuckles for you! I'd never heard 'burning a cookie!' My turn to become educated to a new euphemism! LOL The 'silent but violent' is a slightly different turn of phrase of our 'silent but deadly,' I guess, and 'loud and proud' is another new one on me! Thanks for the education, and I'm delighted you enjoyed the article and everyone's stories that followed! I think this has been one of my most popular hubs!

  • lbrummer profile image

    Loraine Brummer 2 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

    So funny. I didn't see anything about the "loud and proud" or "silent and violent" categories. How about "burning a cookie." I'm for any subject that entertains....and this was definitely entertaining. Including the stories in the comments.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Elsie Hagley!

    Thank you so much. I'm delighted you enjoyed the article and found it thought-provoking. I appreciate the comment.

  • Elsie Hagley profile image

    Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

    Interesting subject. it gave me much food for thought.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    LOL, Jodah...

    And by the harsh light of day, that probably comes under "too much information," eh?

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    Just came back and read wildove5's comment. Can't stop laughing, so funny...oops!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    LOL thanks, but, you'll have to fill in the gap with your imagination; I'm not sure that story would pass HP or Google censors.. ;-)

  • wildove5 profile image

    wildove5 3 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

    Ohhh,,A cliff hanger! I do love a cliff hanger! I'll be looking forward to your next hub on 'The Bedroom barking spider!' :)

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Ohmigosh, wildove5--that is hilarious. I'm sure it was deadly embarrassment at the time. I know the feeling. I tend to have a similar problem, as I'm now a grand old matriarch of 65 years. ;-)

    I, too, am nearly 10 years older than hubby, but we are both pretty laid back about the matter. I think the worst most embarrassing yet funny instance was once when we were first married, and "ahem," ... ... ...

  • wildove5 profile image

    wildove5 3 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

    My husband and I are ten years apart in age, him being the youthful one. Apparently even though he is my junior, I am the one who giggles whenever I toot,,which usually leads to more tooting. (I'm approaching fifty this year and my muscular control down under is definitely a sure sign of my age.) While he gets totally embarrassed, I act like a teenage boy. In my youth I would have been mortified at 'letting one rip.' Actually one of my most embarrassing moments as a teenager was over a ' barking spider,' The scene; My boyfriend and I were bickering about who could do more sit-ups, I being super competitive challenged him to a contest. Lying on the kitchen floor, knees bent I assumed the position, still negotiating the terms of the contest I insisted we hold each others ankles to ensure we maintained proper sit-up form, Big mistake, HUGE. My boyfriend crouched down and clasped both of my ankles, his face inches from my knees. As we counted out loud together, 1,2,3, TOOOOTTT,,,,Mortified, I of course began to laugh, that was my second mistake. My original loud toot was followed with a chorus of trumpet toots. Needless to say my boyfriend let go of my feet and slid across the kitchen floor before being assaulted with an air biscuit! Looking back now it was hilarious, then, not so funny. I must thank you for this topic, I never understood all the fuss made over a natural bodily function. My family also had a saying for burping, 'Better to burp and taste it than to fart and waste it!" I think farting is way funnier, except at the dinner table or in your significant others face! Voted up, and very humorous!!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ vocalcoach--Thank you so very much for your awesome comment. I'm delighted that you found my artwork worthy....I consider myself a kindergarten-level "artist." I'm also most pleased that I was able to provide your daily chuckle--or guffaw--as the case may be. I'm blushing from such praise!

    @ tillsontitan--Hi, Mary--I'm glad you enjoyed this. Yes, I tend to suffer from embarrassment--in public anyway. At home, hubby and I have learned to "get over it." Thanks ever so much for your comment ant the votes!

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

    Well Lizzy, you've certainly hit on a subject that no one can deny. I love the way you handled it and the information you provided in the process. You're right, my generation suffers from total embarrassment.

    You did a great job and made this fun to read.

    Voted up, funny, and interesting.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

    My vocabulary has increased and my eyes are watering - from laughing. And I didn't realize you are an artist. I'm just crazy about your drawing!

    You are quite a lady - and one that I'm appreciating more and more!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ Just Ask Susan--Hi there! No need to apologize--we all have lives outside of HP. I’m glad you got a chuckle out of this hub. I did try to tackle it in a way that would be neither offensive to the “Big G” censors, or overly-technical with medical lingo. I decided on humor as the best approach.

    I know what you mean about the room-clearing variety. We’ve probably all been guilty at one time or another, but the really bad ones come from a couple of our darling little cats! Thanks so very much for your comment, and I’m glad you like my pitiful attempt at art. ;-)

    @ Thief12--Glad to make your acquaintance. Thanks for stopping by, and I’m pleased that you enjoyed the article.

    @ fpherj48--yes, well, welcome to the zaniness inside my mind! ;-) Oh, yes, I do feel so loved. Thank you so much for the votes! I’m delighted you so enjoyed this piece.

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