Illustration by Dave van Patten

If You Love Someone, Let Her Fart

If you know a woman, then you know at least one thing about her: She’s been doing her best to hold in her farts as long as she’s been alive. And one of the best things you can do as demonstration of your ultimate love, acceptance, and respect for her and her general (intestinal) comfort is to tell her to fart as often, as freely and as loudly as she needs to. Start tonight. Let her squeeze one out and then go get dinner, okay?

To be clear, you don’t have to like these farts. Nobody does — barring the few people who are legit aroused by them — but hating farts won’t make them go away. No sir. It will only make them stronger. And there’s only one solution: Free the farts. It’s true that not all farts are created equal. Some, which I prefer to call “medical farts” — may need investigating; let’s assume that’s not most farts. But the farters themselves are equal and deserve our compassion — especially the elusive female farter, public or otherwise.

Hey, maybe you’re already on the right side of history and don’t need to be told this. Maybe you’re a fart ally, midwifing women’s farts to a greater, more equal society where women aren’t shamed into masking their own biology to cater to some absurd notion that they don’t have the same bodily functions you do. So let’s direct this advice to the man who wrote into an advice columnist at the Toronto Star asking what to do about his hot wife, who farts too much. Letter writer “It’s Not Funny,” laments:

My wife of ten months is exceptionally attractive, loving, caring and my best friend. While dating for two years, we’d both lived with our parents. Our only times together were a few intimate sessions and one four-day trip. What didn’t initially seem like a deal breaker is now more problematic: Simply put, my wife’s excessively flatulent. When dating, I’d dismissed her sporadic passing of gas as her being comfortably natural when with someone she loves. But now she’s flatulent almost all the time we’re together — in the car, while sleeping, while watching TV, while being intimate, etc. It’s become annoying and a mood killer, perhaps even disrespectful.

Real question: Why does her hotness have anything to do with the problem? If she were less hot would the farting be more egregious? Isn’t it easier to take farts from a sexy lady than a gross one? I’m not asking rhetorically: All things being equal, and all people needing to fart, I think most of us would prefer farts to come from a symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing person. It just makes the farts seem nicer when they’re well-packaged, right?

Also, hot possibility: She’s farting this much because she’s eating the kind of crummy diet foods—fibers, vegetables, fake sugars (even chewing gum to distract you from eating)—that tend to make you fart more. Maybe she’s farting this much because she’s trying to stay thin and hot for you.

And consider this: Jennifer Lawrence likes relationship farts. Does that convince you to calm down about it? That said, you shouldn’t have to be J-Law to get away with farting — and men need pass no aesthetic bar to let ‘er rip. Men of all shapes, sizes, creeds and colors are granted unspoken permission to fart freely, while women suffer in clenched silence so as to never appear anything less than feminine less they become persona non (fart) grata.

This might be okay if women actually farted less — if they didn’t need so desperately to fart. But everyone farts — to the tune of about 10 times a day, so it’s not clear what’s excessive by the letter writer’s definition — more than 10? All 10 farts? Three times the normal fart load? Moreover, pressuring women to fart less (or not at all) while men get to fart it up, no questions asked, is discrimination. Fart discrimination. There are no laws on the books yet, but this should be a major goal of the next wave of feminism, right after wage equality is sorted.

Relationships start equally enough in fart terms, beginning in a fart-free zone of mutually understood politeness, an agreed-upon shielding of the other from your various emissions. But this should gradually give way to fart freely, at long last, together. When relationships become open season on bodily functions, they become more intimate. The couple who farts together stays together.

“It’s Not Funny” isn’t the only man to put fingers to keyboard to complain about his lady’s farts. Two years ago, a man under the pen name “Hang in there bro” wrote to Reddit that his wife is “very physically attractive (in good shape, good looking),” but dared to start letting the farts flow about a year or two into the relationship. “She makes no attempt to keep it on the DL, she will literally lift a cheek off the couch and rip one so hard it scares the cat,” he writes. While a number of responses shamed the letter writer for shaming his farting lover — and again, what’s her looks got to do with this? — at least one dude got it right:

Yeah, I kinda love it when my SO farts. The farts themselves don’t turn me on at all. But I love the fact that she feels comfortable enough to rip one in front of me — and, in the entire world, only me. Honestly, it’s kind of a bonding thing. Besides, farts are funny.

Farts are funny. And, let us reiterate, pretty much inevitable. To live is to fart. (If you figure out any way around this, let us know.)

To be clear, every couple must negotiate the disclosure of any number of intimate things in a relationship when they see fit — finances, past lovers, weird fetishes, period panties. Farts may very well be the first relationship milestone. Every couple has the right — the obligation — to find their own fart sweet spot, no judgment. (Perhaps you could reach an agreement on the types of farts to try to keep away from each other, though that’s easier said than done.) In an ideal world, most farts would be throttled, but you would still find a way to incorporate a couple farts into your life the same way you would a shared interest in, say, genealogy.

But it’s important to realize that granting fart permission doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a life, home and, god forbid — a car with closed windows — full of farts. You give some people a fart inch, and they take a fart mile. Too many farts could kill even the strongest bond, so some sympathy is due here — not for the farts, but for the misalignment of critical relationship goals these letter-writers have expressed. There’s someone out there for everyone, and that has to extend to even the most egregious farters.

We should still press on for fart equality, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy road ahead. The only way out is through. But sometimes, when you give someone permission to be pathologically themselves, you’ll find that they start restricting themselves along more considerate lines on their own. Like giving a child no curfew, only to watch them self-police and start coming home at a reasonable hour once they realize the consequences of staying out too late.

In conclusion, if you really, truly love someone, you’ll let them (let) go (of gas). Farting, like water, always seeks its own level.