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).

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