Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bodily Function and Love

So, it occurs to me that one of the markers of true friendship or familial closeness is the fart. Now, of course, I have a mix of family and friends who will alternately be amused or disgusted by this statement, but it's true. Even the disgusted among my acquaintance have to acknowledge that flatulence is an expression of love. Here's why (with examples).

1) I have heard multiple people tell me the story of their relationships and how a) embarrassed or b) amused they were when they (or their partner) farted for the first time in front of the other. But they always end the story by saying how it made them feel closer because they could relax (in more ways than one).
2) My friend and I were on a little road trip last summer, and the topic of indigestion came up. I told some little poop story (as I am wont to do), and she busted a gut. She was actually a little surprised that I talked so openly and joked about that stuff (maybe she was under the mistaken impression that I am sophisticated), but ever since then we have sent little jokes and stories on a similar theme. It's actually made us (already close friends) a little closer. It's just one of those markers of intimacy, in a weird and hilarious way.

3) Another girl came to my grad school department the year after I did. She seemed nice, but we really didn't visit much. One night we had dinner and found out we had quite a bit in common, so we started hanging out more. The day I knew we were going to be good friends was the day she told me about her fart machine and how she and her friends used it to play jokes on people during their cruise. When I reacted with great amusement, she was a little surprised and glad. She told me she wasn't sure if I would think it was funny. Once I declared it so, she and I became great friends and have shared lots of laughs about bodily functions. It was farts that brought us together. Awww.

4) My family has had fart contests and laughed at poop and fart jokes since I can remember. This includes my immediate family as well as my dad's extended family. And it gives us a kind of camaraderie and sense of fun whenever we're together. You can bet at least once when we all gather someone will make a joke that splits our sides. I can't imagine being in a family that couldn't laugh about that kind of thing.

So there you have it. Eleven years of college, and a Ph.D. in interpersonal communication, and my contribution to the study of relationships=the fart as a marker of intimacy. I'm living proof of the power of poofs (though not in the British sense...look it up).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Revolution Inside

I've been on my Weight Watchers "diet" now for about seven weeks, and have lost 15 pounds. This, obviously, pleases me greatly.

But the fact is, it is hard for someone like me to admit I needed help from an outside source, and even more difficult that it comes in the form of what is basically a support group. I am smart enough to do this on my own, and I've read all the stuff that tells me what one should eat and not eat...but for some reason I really needed the structure of a program and a weekly routine of weighing in to motivate me to do what I knew I needed to do.

On the positive side, though, the program has really highlighted for me how to balance my food intake. I had heard all the gunk about how if you're going to a party eat light earlier in the day. Blah blah. I never listened. But now I find myself planning a little bit better so that I can enjoy party food without ruining anything. The past three weeks have had regular social events where unhealthy food was served, and I found myself automatically thinking through how to account for that in my day. Eat a salad with vinaigrette for lunch, eat an apple, eat a smaller sandwich...whatever it takes so that I can enjoy some junk later in the day. Similarly, at Thanksgiving, I tried to fill a good portion of my plate with vegetables so that I would be less tempted to overload on cheesy potatoes and corn. It worked, and I left feeling comfortable and happy. I ate my cheesy potatoes and corn, but I didn't overdo it.

And the really miraculous thing about this is that I now think this is normal and reasonable, if I think of it at all. I am not feeling left out of anything, nor am I feeling intense longings to gorge on junk. Maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase or something, but I really, for the first time in my life, feel like I have a grasp of what food is supposed to be doing in my life rather than seeing it as a pastime. Food is not just about's about pleasure AND health. I still enjoy my sweets and eat pizza from time to time--I ate two crab rangoon on Monday night, guilt free--but just in a better proportion to my other, healthier foods. This is revolutionary. Simple, but revolutionary.