You can say that the day I really fell in love with my girlfriend was a bit unconventional.
One night, after we got ready for bed, my girlfriend turned out the bedroom lights, kissed me, and rolled over. But a minute later, an unmistakable sound broke the silence.
Jane had farted. We’d been together for two years and this was the first peep I had heard from her derrière. While most people would’ve probably freaked out (she was completely mortified), I couldn’t have been more relieved.
Forgive the pun, but the gas actually cleared the air and, in a roundabout way, it opened the door to our engagement.
These days, few topics between men and women are truly taboo; passing gas is one of them.
Whether we’re too polite, just plain grossed out, or obsessed with keeping up appearances (I’m talking to you, Ms. I Don’t Toot, Ever), we seem hell-bent on pretending that women don’t have this normal bodily function.
And honestly, that just isn’t realistic at all.
Women insist that it’s “not ladylike” and that it therefore doesn’t happen. Guys end up believing this fib, bury their heads in the sand, and then ridicule their girlfriends when nature sounds off.
But everyone farts, even if we refuse to admit it. And that’s what gives the humble toot a strange power in the course of a relationship.
Before she farted (BSF), a lot of fears ran through my head about Jane and the future of our relationship. I knew that I loved her and that she was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
But aside from knowing those two things, I had my doubts about, well, just about everything. These scratch the surface:
- Do her friends and family like me? Does she really like my friends?
- What if the sex gets boring?
- How many more pillows does she plan to buy for our bed?
- Will we ever stop going to big box stores, or will this be my Saturday routine for the rest of my life?
I can assure you that nowhere on this list was the question, “What if she farts?” In fact, I hadn’t thought about it until she actually farted. After a brief uncomfortable silence, we spoke about it.
When I asked her why she sounded so embarrassed, she just said, “It’s disgusting. It’s not sexy.”
She was right. Farting is not sexy. Of course, assessing a fart for sexiness makes as much sense as criticizing water for having zero alcohol content. I decided to fight embarrassment with sarcasm.
Me: Well, now that you’ve farted, we should probably break up.
Jane calls me a turkey a lot. I’m not sure of the precise definition, but I believe that I am a turkey when I — much to her chagrin — prove myself correct on an insignificant matter. Turkey, I believe, is shorthand for: You’re right, but I’m not going to say you’re right.
As I held Jane in my arms, the usual BSF worries didn’t run through my head. It was almost as if that moment showed just how comfortable she is with me.
Joking about the fart was another example of how we manage — without drama — to laugh and talk about uncomfortable topics.
It wasn’t a big deal, but in another sense it was. As crazy as it sounds, it marked a turning point in our relationship. It proved that we were, as Jane often puts it, “in it to win it.”
I’d like to say that the BSF list evaporated as quickly as the smell that night, but that didn’t happen. The BSF list became the ASF (after she farted) list. The two lists are identical. What’s changed is that I no longer put much stock in those worries.
Some of the items on the list still matter, but nothing trumps us.
Two months later, I popped the question. But the decision to marry Jane wasn’t the result of some dramatic epiphany. Rather, it was the joint effort from insignificant moments, of which the fart was one.
Individually, each of those moments are hardly worth mentioning, but collectively they mark the turning points from courtship to comfort.