When a repressed urge becomes the worst case scenario

One afternoon last week Jon and I got to go to the gym together, something we rarely get to do anymore because someone has to stay home and prevent the kid from wrapping every surface in the house with toilet paper. When we do workout together I view Jon’s company as a valuable motivator particularly if we score two elliptical trainers next to each other. When I lived in Los Angeles I often worked out with a gay friend who would choose the highest level on the elliptical trainer, and he was so in shape he would often talk in whole paragraphs throughout the entire workout. He set the standard, and no matter how many days a week I exercised or trained I couldn’t ever keep up with him. My body just wasn’t cut out to be a chatty gay man.

Jon and I are equally fit, but even if we do the same program on the elliptical trainer — the same run of hills at the same difficulty level for the same amount of time — he always burns at least 70 more calories than I do. I know that the machine is taking into account the fact that he is 70 pounds heavier, but it doesn’t seem fair especially since he always walks in the door after a workout, heads straight to the refrigerator and pours a half a cup of caramel topping into his mouth. As a woman I can barely handle such an act of blasphemy. The Lord gave him 70 bonus calories and he has the audacity to just pour them down his throat. It shows a complete lack of reverence toward the thousands of women in this country who carefully meter out every calorie they put into their bodies, and he should be punished by having those 70 calories cut straight out of his thigh.

After our aerobic exercise we always stretch out on the mats and then do several sets of sit-ups on the crunch machine. During this specific workout Jon was standing about ten feet away lifting weights as I churned through my first set of 30 crunches. At about crunch 13 I was overcome with a sudden urge but didn’t think much of it because I was concentrating on making it to crunch 14. The crunch machine at our gym requires that you lie on your back with your feet in the air tucked behind a set of bars, and there I was on my back, my feet elevated so that they were parallel with my head, my butt perched at the end of the vinyl seat like a little prairie dog poking its head out of a burrow.

As my arms came up over my head to complete the 14th crunch the urge that I had tragically ignored gave way to The World’s Loudest Fart, an expulsion of air so quick and violent that it ricocheted off the vinyl seat and shook two 40 lb weights hanging behind Jon’s head. It was so loud that I could hear it over the music on my iPod playing in my ears. I’ll never forget the look on Jon’s face as his arms collapsed to his side, as his body almost crumbled beneath him from laughter. It was a strange set of emotions I then experienced because on the one hand I just wanted to stop existing. I couldn’t turn my head or move my body in any way because I might make eye contact with someone who had heard it and that would be more than I could possibly bear. I didn’t want to be confronted with the reality that someone other than an immediate family member, that a stranger had heard me fart. That’s a sacred song you don’t share with just anyone.

On the other hand I was delighted that I had made Jon laugh so hard, so hard in fact that he had to walk it off and muffle the noise because he was bringing even more attention to the fact that his wife just farted loudly in public. One of my greatest joys in life is witnessing something that makes Jon laugh. Things are funnier when he laughs maybe because I’ve shared certain experiences with him that inform his sense of humor, and I can see the angle at which something hits him. It reveals his soul in such a magical way. I imagined him standing there with two 15 lb weights in each of his hands, his arms straining to hold them straight out from his sides when his wife who is positioned so that her body is shaped like a rocket launcher rips a trombone fart so suddenly, so authoritatively — Behold, This is My Fart — that the immediate shock of it feels like a cannon ball has been shot into his chest.

That’s when the weights dropped, that’s when his legs went wobbly because every part of his brain was trying to process the impossible. And then he saw how paralyzed I was, that my body had stopped moving, that I had sealed my eyes shut in an attempt to will my body into dust. And he knew that no matter how hard I tried to withdraw from what had just happened, no matter the distance I tried to put between myself and that gash I had just torn in the fabric of our lives, that I would never be able to reverse the fact that he knew that he was married to a Public Farter.

  • http://spitfire.cc Denise

    oh my goodness! this made my day ten times better!

  • Karen

    Made my day! Any comments from your fellow gym rats? Here in Hawaii someone would be yelling “Who made fut? Stink, yah!”

  • oromat

    oooh. thanks for that. I so needed that.

  • http://www.writingsucks.com Kerri Wood

    I also live for making the boyfriend squeal with laughter. Hopefully, I will get a chance to try this method out soon…

  • Raughy

    Love it. I was laughing so hard while my 7 month old daughter tried to eat my face that i’m sure we were french kissing. My husband and I have been together for 19 years, and since he’s heard all my stories and knows all my funny tricks, it really makes my day when I get him to REALLY laugh, and it always comes as a surprise. I’ll have to give thought to the blaster in public…..would require an intestinal fortitude that may be beyond my grasp, physically and metaphorically. Definition of true love: once, about 7 years ago, I told my husband I didn’t find it funny when he farted in front of me, I just found it really repulsive. Since that day, he has not farted in my presence. Not once. As for blame, that’s why people have dogs (preferably labs). Good suggestion on old people being the no-dogs-allowed-area dog substitute.

  • danioz

    Embarrassment (at yourself) vs. joy (at Jons laughter) what a position.

    Last week we had a situation where I let a particularly rancid one go then came into the study to tell my partner something. This is kindof how it went:
    “Hey sweet, what-”
    “Did you fart?”
    “Well yes I did, got a problem with that?” (we have been together for a while)
    “Well you cant bring it in here, the fart doesn’t move. You keep it where it started, dont you know the rules!”

    And he doesnt even read dooce!

  • http://flickr.com/photos/johncarleton JC

    gotta love the public farting. some of the funniest public farts i’ve witnessed were compliments of cheerleaders. now that’s public!

  • http://queenofthedorks.blogspot.com terrytoons

    only you could make a story about a ginormous public fart a sweet commentary about your relationship with the hubby.
    i’m still laughing…!

  • http://www.notarockstar.com notarockstar

    I took a yoga class from a woman who would fart every time she would bend into a new position. She would try to cover up her farting by ringing finger cymbals. What is it with exercising and farting….

  • Carrie

    I knew I was really married when I farted no holds barred in front of him. He almost keeled over from laughing so hard. He still giggles after 4 months of wedded bliss. I don’t do it when he lets it rip :-/

    YAY for Heather comments, btw! Always tear up at a Leta monthly letter.

  • http://misshass.typepad.com Miss Hass

    Oh my goodness. It’s a good thing computer lab laughing isn’t as stigmatized as public farting.

  • blondeinthemidwest

    I just belted out the most annoying screech after reading this!! My boss just hailed “what the hell was that?!” Good thing laughing loud at work isn’t against the rules! HA! You continue to make me laugh and smile every single day! Thanks Heather!

  • http://www.paintingchef.com PaintingChef

    Somehow you even manage to make public farting hysterical. Thanks!

  • http://www.runwiththefishes.net anna

    It’s always rewarding to make the people you love laugh so hard they can’t control themselves. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • http://meegs1982.blogspot.com Meegs

    Oh god, I just laughed so loud I think I scared the person in the office nexted to mine! I honestly heard her jump, and its all because of your fart.

  • http://annejelynn.blogspot.com/ Annejelynn

    “— Behold, This is My Fart —” –I lost it right there. I had been laughing hard enough, but to claim it such a way? “Behold…” I lost it and 3 of my staff made a beeline to my office to see what’s so funny…

  • http://kissmycrisis.blogspot.com/ Kim E

    This just makes me love you even more.

  • http://babylaurenmiller.blogspot.com ieatcrayonz

    This conjurs up some repressed memories of seventh grade civics class during a period of silent reading. I was sicker than a dog, and there in the silence of 30 odd 12-year-olds, I sneezed. An obnoxiously loud fart escaped me and ricocheted off the walls. As eyes quickly darted my direction, I whined, “It wasn’t me!”

    My teacher sent me out in the hall, adding to my utter humiliation. Later my friend told me I shouldn’t have said anything. She thought it was the greasy kid sitting behind me.

    Again, you never fail to entertain.

  • http://www.catheroo.com catheroo

    Here you are, doing something good for your body and it goes and betrays you like that! That’s just wrong. And hilarious.

    I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 7 months, and he has yet to hear me fart. This is by sheer luck, and one day, that luck will run out. Thank you for sharing the dangers of exercise, specifically, sit-ups.

    Mostly, thanks for the laugh!

  • Christinathemom

    I just shot pizza out my nose!
    You should post a subtitled warning before you post something so beautiful! (put down the food, swallow your drink etc.)

    I laughed with sheer joy and pleasure. I will be sharing with my husband and son. Who also happen to be members of the elite trumbone band. I wasn’t born with such a gift, and the jealousy takes over every day.

    thank you for sharing this with all of us~

    yet another reason you are awesom!

  • http://florimell1919.blogspot.com Rebecca

    After I had been with my fiance for a year and a half, one day, he solemly said to me “Rebecca, I have to tell you something. I’m a farty guy. I fart all the time. But I’ve been holding it in for a year, and I just can’t anymore. Sometimes, when we are hanging out, I have to leave and go home because the farts hurt so much. I can’t hold it in anymore, and if you can’t take it, we have to break up.” And MAN, he wasn’t lying! I thought it was so funny there were tears running down my face.

    Here’s to farting spouses, wherever they may be! : )

  • Samantha

    Wow! The myriad of emotions, the rage of the 70 bonus calories. The joy of working out together. The need to be swallowed by the earth instantly. The joy of watching your husband try not to pee himself with laughter! I am exhusted!

    I belive this is right up there with the “in the middle of sex” fart.

  • onbeelay

    Bravo Heather! Best post since forever. Its the overshare we crave!

    I think my husband feels your embarrassment….

    We were out to Godzilla the other month in one of those theatres with the lovely theatre seats and during a partiularly calm moment he let one rip RIGHT on the head of the cute little grandma in front of him. The look of pure horror and trappedness that was plastered on his face at that moment will be something I cherish forever. We had to run out of the theatre before the lights came up to avoid that awkward moment of non confrontation that comes from making a social faux pas of that magnitude. At least you didnt fart on someone ELSES head.

    But I still take him out in public.

  • Rebecca

    So funny I read it, rolled around on the floor for a couple of minutes, and then read the whole thing aloud to my housemates.

    You should write a children’s book: Everybody Farts

  • Danielle71

    Nothing like being 7 months pregnant, having a cold with a terrible cough, a weakened bladder and reading the funniest thing I’ve read in ages. I’m going to have to start wearing Depends.

    Thank you Heather. You are the female David Sedaris. I’m still weezing with laughter.

  • 5thape

    Very funny story.

    I had a similar thing happen to me but I was doing an old-school situp with my friend holding my feet down, his head was positioned perfectly to receive my gift. Once the smell hit he began to waver but I told him to hold onto my feet because it was for a fitness test. It didn’t matter though, I didn’t go more than ten situps until the look on his face had me laughing so hard I couldn’t finish.

  • http://lifesgarbage.com Rebecca

    Your story leads me to believe that there will come an embarassing moment in every person’s life that will bring them closer to the person that they love forever.

  • mitzi

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m sitting here in my office laughing and crying at this post. You are so friggin’ hilarious!
    That made my day!

  • alibree

    well, did it smell??

    i laughed so hard, i had tears rolling down my face, thank you.

  • http://www.myaimistrue.com Amber

    I believe that humiliating episode entitles you to 70 calories worth of any-flavored topping you want.

  • Amybobamy

    … and this is why I fear publically being anywhere while exercising…

  • http://www.hopefulloser.com hopefulloser

    That was so romantic! I loved that story!

  • http://dollface.net/ Doll

    Wow, of all the posts to leave the comments open you pick this one. You’re too funny.

    My husband and I aren’t yet to that point where farting in front of one another is done. We’ve only been married 7 months so I guess the farting outloud stage is still a ways down the line. Ah the things to look forward to in married life!

    Try coming to New York and sneeking in a ‘silent but deadly’ fart onto a crowded subway. Good times.

  • JenC

    oh. my. god.
    I chortled out loud.
    So loud that co-workers think I’m the one who farted.

  • Amy

    My daughter, who is now 4 Months Old, shoots out big juicy farts when we’re in very quiet, public places. And everyone turns and looks at ME instead, because she looks too sweet to POSSIBLY have committed such atrocities.

    I know she does this on purpose, just to get back at me for trying to feed her bananas.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  • Bird Lover

    That is AWESOME! I would like to say that I am kaughing with you, but I am most certainly laughing at you. Public farts are not protected under the Kindness to Strangers Act.

  • FlakeyBlakee

    OMG heather! I think I just pissed my pants! Thanks for the great laugh!!!!

  • TNW

    You had me laughing out loud in my cubicle. Especially funny because you are so shameless on your web site and it is quite charming to know that even you get embarrassed in public.

    I once took a yoga class with an older woman who let out a toot for every new position–you try focusing on your down dogs with that kind of music going on!

  • http://www.rickshawdiaries.blogspot.com Baraka

    >> That’s a sacred song you don’t share with just anyone<<

    I had to comment once more –

    I was the one at the beginning of our relationship who expounded on the perimeters of farting in front of each other (basically, disallowed under all but the most dire circs) and now I am the one who finds herself constantly mortified in front of my fartless husband.

    Funny how the rules come back to haunt you, innit it?!

  • http://www.rickshawdiaries.blogspot.com Baraka

    >> That’s a sacred song you don’t share with just anyone<<

    I had to comment once more – I was the one at the beginning of our relationship who expounded on the perimeters of farting in front of each other (basically, disallowed under all but the most dire circs) and now I am the one who finds herself constantly mortified in frotn of my fartless husband.

    Funny how it the rules come back to haunt you, innit it?!

  • Nickie

    I’ve been married for 6 and a half years, and with him for 8. After many years of very carefully never farting in his presence, it’s grown too tiring and I don’t worry about it anymore. So after all these years together, and oh, 5 years of me farting in front of him, my husband still laughs *every single time* I fart, regardless of volume, length, or odour.

    Therefore not surprised at Jon’s response! I keep hoping my husband will ‘grow up’ and not laugh everytime… But I’m realising it’s not looking promising.

  • amandagibson

    Nothing like a little public humiliation to get me laughing so hard that I cry! Girl, you are too funny! Thanks for the laugh!

  • http://bucky4eyes.com Bucky Four-Eyes

    Makes me think of the pilates class at work where half a dozen women queefed at the same time, while attaining the same position. A “wind tunnel”, as one witness put it.

    That’s some chorus. Do you think Queen LaQueefa was there?

  • http://www.veryzen.blogspot.com Amanda B.

    You ARE a stinky farter monkey.


  • http://mikao.blogspot.com michelle

    It’s been years since I let out the loudest one I have ever heard, right in the middle of silent reading time in grade 7.

    I’m dreading my 10-year high school reunion this summer, because I KNOW someone is going to bring it up.

  • dancingnancy

    I hate reading your entries at work because this office is just not the kind that allows high-pitched, squealing, breathless laughter.
    I was on my high school drill team (at a school just around the mountain from you in Bountiful!) and we always began with lots of stretching. There is nothing like bending over, legs straight in a near split position, and waking your groggy team mates with a morning queef.

  • Heather

    Oh God! Thank you so much for the laugh, I needed it. Reading your blog is sometimes the only thing that keeps this military wife sane. I told my sis about you, and now she is hooked as well. Thank you so much!

  • Dr. To You

    Oh come now Heather…you asked him to pull your finger, didn’t you? hahaha!!!

  • rivetergirl

    From one Public Farter to another, always, ALWAYS pretend it was someone else.

    My husband I were shopping for shoes and I passed a seriously rank Silent but Deadly. The sales girl showed up at precisely the time that he smelled it and I disappeared, thereby, leaving him with a stink cloud and no one else to blame it on.

  • lawyerish

    I once met a newlywed who told me that she and her husband had never farted in front of each other. When they felt an unstoppable urge, they would run into another room to let it out.

    Clearly, such people are on a short track to divorce.

    I’m pleased to know there are strong marriages out there, yours and my own included, that do not suffer from this kind of crippling repression.

    To be totally unoriginal, I have to say that your site reminds me of this line from Catcher in the Rye: “What really knocks me out is a book, when you’re all done reading it, you wished the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”

    I’m obviously not alone in this! Keep up the great work.