Saturday 28 November 2009

Something's Brewing

What is more satisfying that a deep, rumbling belch?

Picture the scene; you’ve just eaten a magnificent repast in a room full of good friends and you lean back in your chair fully satisfied. As you begin your post meal chat, something stirs within.

What do you do?

Do you allow the inevitable belch to explode from your face, trying to convert it onto a song or words as it escapes your lips, allowing it to introduce itself to your friends?

Or do you cover your mouth and let the burp escape in 658 little burplets?

Or do you hold it back and allow it to brew deep within for fear of offending those in your presence?

For me, it depends on who I am with and what kind of mood I am in.

In the presence of Mrs PM and the kids I allow the belch to erupt with maximum force and maximum noise, usually trying to mould the escaping entity into a heavy metal song.

“DAAAADD!!!!” scream my young lads.

“DAAAVVEEEE!!!” screams Mrs PM before searching for a blunt object to hit me with.

“And don’t ever do that in public,” I will say. “It’s disgusting!”

I am a hypocrite because, to be honest, I hate it when other people belch in front of me. There is nothing more disgusting than bellowing in somebody’s face, which is why, in the company of friends and colleagues, I drift between “The Burp Suppressor” and the “The Burplet Generator”, stifling them until I can hold them no longer and then allowing burplets to sneak out like escaping prisoners under cover of my hand.

In some countries, however, belching is positively encouraged. In China, for example, belching is viewed upon as a massive compliment to the chef. When the burp is born, it tells the chef that he has cooked a fabulous meal and that you have thoroughly enjoyed it.

In most western countries, however, it is frowned upon and I’m certain that if I were to burp in front of the Queen at dinner I would be ostracised and my name would be splashed all over the tabloids; my bad manners and rudeness would be there for all to see as my tarnished reputation dragged through the mud for allowing a little burp to gate crash my party with Her Majesty.

And what about bottom burps (more commonly known as “farts”). These little blighters have a far worse reputation than their oral counterparts. The problem is, nobody likes them and everybody denies their existence. Like the belch, the fart can be released into the wild in a couple of ways; either you let it burst out with a triumphant fanfare or you squeeze it out gently.
The first method is only recommended for people with no shame. In polite company (or even impolite company), if a noisy fart announces its presence the person responsible is at best reprimanded and at worst hurled outside.

The second method is barely recommended; if you drop a “silent but deadly” fart then you have no choice but to get out of the fallout zone as quickly as possible, so that somebody else gets the blame. And the recommended practice is to stay utterly silent and refuse to comment. Why? Because if somebody says

“Who on EARTH did that?

Everybody else says

“He who smelt it, dealt it!”

If you then say

“But it wasn’t me!!!”

Everybody else says

“He who denied it supplied it.”

Stay silent; don’t say a single word. Of course, if there is a dog present and you feel that you have to let rip, just drift over to the dog and stand there until the fart announces its presence – then you can blame the dog.

From a personal perspective, I simply have to get out of there if I feel the ominous rumbling within. I usually make an excuse and find the nearest toilet, so that I don’t embarrass myself. It works for me but only if I haven’t had beans on toast or sprouts.

One thing has always puzzled me though – why do people deny that they fart? I can understand it if the entire room is asphyxiated by a particularly nasty one, but some people go through life giving the impression that they never ever deposit one.

Mrs PM judges a relationship on whether the people concerned have passed “the fart barrier”. She was talking to one of her friends and asked the question:

“Have you passed the fart barrier yet?”

“No,” came the reply. “I can’t fart in front of him.”

Later, she said to me “It’ll never work out.”

She was right on that particular occasion but I still don’t regard it as irrefutable proof that a relationship will fail.

Needless to say, in our relationship, the fart barrier was shattered on the first date – but I’m not saying who was responsible.

Just before I go, here are a couple of rhymes about bodily gases:

Beans, beans, are good for your heart!
The more you eat, the more you fart!
The more you fart, the better you feel,
So let's have beans for every meal!

A little gush of wind
Straight from the heart;
It tickled down my backbone
And it's also called a fart.
A fart can be useful;
It gives the body ease,
It warms the bed in winter
And suffocates the fleas.

A final note for anybody who is wrinkling their nose in disgust at the questionable contents of this post:

Don’t live in denial – everybody burps and everybody farts. Get over it.


River said...

I can't hold back either burps or farts, doing so causes me unspeakable physical pain, so I try to eat slowly to minimise the amount of air swallowed. In other cases I will excuse myself and expel the air privately. Except at home. Mostly, if I'm eating out I'll avoid foods which I know will cause the smelly farts.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I have a friend whose medication make him trump a lot and he does so with no care as to what people think.

I think its possible to be subtle about it (even though sometimes if fun if you're not).




Anonymous said...

I don't wanna be too serious about this topic but yeah "everybody denies their existence" like there's something very wrong with their bodies to get rid of excessive air. Ok ok it smells disgusting but it isn't 100% smell that makes people get shy about their own bodies, right? I think it's smth neurotic about how people try to deny it like its the roses come out of them in the bathroom. Sorry.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Aluajala,

I simply can't get serious about this to be honest. In fact, comedians in Britain have made a habit of joking about it for years.




Kath Lockett said...

Beautiful. You had me at 'fart', dear Plastic Man.

Kath Lockett said...

...and I have a friend of my daughter's who walks into her bedroom (my Sapph's rather fond of a fart or seven), wrinkles her nose up and says, "Phew, who cut the cheese?"

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kath,

"Who cut the cheese?" - love it.