When you first start dating someone, you’re always on your best behavior.  You want to make sure you’re properly shaven or otherwise groomed (in other words, you don’t go a month without shaving your legs), that the house is tidy (tidier than you would normally keep it), that you’re dressed to intrigue and impress, and that you don’t do anything that would make the object of your affection think, “Ew, that’s DISGUSTING!  What am I doing with HER/HIM?”

Then, after a while, it’s bound to happen.  One of you is the first to pass wind in front of the other.  And the passer is mortified, while the passee, assuming he/she is still enamored, does everything possible to reassure the passer that “Oh, it’s okay, it’s a natural bodily function, please don’t be embarrassed, etc., etc.”  After all, truly, everybody does it.

Now, when the inital passer is the woman, MOST women will still make best efforts to ensure that, in the future, those normal physical emissions (farting, nose blowing, coughing up sputum, you name it) are done in the privacy of the boudoir or salle de bains.  (And if the inital passer is the woman, most men are absolutely delighted.)

But if the initial passer is the man, MOST men will take that reassurance of “It’s okay, it’s just a normal bodily function,” as carte blanche to suddenly start sharing ALL of their normal bodily functions with total and complete impunity.

Suddenly, the dynamic shifts from a discreet honk in a hankie to a farmer’s blow out the window of a car doing 75 on the interstate.  Passing wind is no longer accompanied by a blush, but now by leg-lifting, ass-thrusting, arm gestures and whoops of delight.

Peeing is not restricted to a bathroom, but to anyplace outside that is screened from the public eye by a door frame, rock, car door or tall weed (maybe).  The belches cease to be stifled – they become melodic (at least to the ears of the belcher), resonant, and occasionally involve portions of the alphabet.  And often, the emitter looks to his loved one for approval, like a dog that proudly brings a half-rotted, half-eaten deer leg to the back door.

I’m not against these sorts of things – I’m a natural kind of girl.  I don’t wear make-up or have my hair done, or get mani/pedis.  I’m happier in jeans, happiest in a sarong, and have no need of designer clothes.

So believe me, I’m not bashing men or judging harshly.  All I know is that, even when I’ve been the one who opens the gas gates, I remain discreet whenever possible.  I don’t quite understand why the opposite sex doesn’t feel the need to do the same.  In fact, they even encourage us women to join in the tooting revels, which also puzzles me.  As if it is something of a turn-on, which I can’t quite understand.

I am a genuine person.  And I think people want to be with genuine people.  But I also have a certain amount of natural decorum, probably from my GRITS upbringing.

Don’t men want women to be somewhat dignified and ladylike?  I mean they don’t want to date another man – if they did, they’d be gay.  Do they want us to engage in extreme cheese-cutting in order to make themselves feel better about their own actions?  I know there’s a certain desire for “a lady in the street and a freak in the bed,” but where does the whole ass-trumpet thing fit in?  Is it better or worse if I wear white gloves while serving air biscuits?

I don’t have the answers (though if you have more questions about barking spiders, visit here,) but I felt it necessary to raise the subject for contemplation, as it’s been on my mind for years.  In every relationship, I’ve opened the floodgates with my reassurance that it’s okay, and then spent the next umpteen years wondering why I did so, and how to close them, even slightly.  But like the “Walter the Farting Dog” series of books, the whole thing has its own unstoppable momentum.

I suspect it’s a lost cause, one of those delightful things that differentiate the sexes.  As a dear friend once told me, you look for the things to love in the people you love.  That’s easy to do – just keep the nose-clothespins handy.

And if anyone ever tells you that a dutch oven is a sign of true love, don’t you believe him.