Etiquette & superstition: flatulence

It’s okay, Bill. Girls only fart flowers.

ETIQUETTE: You will fart in front of somebody else during your lifetime. You will. There are those who say that you typically have 30 seconds’ warning before you need to pass gas, and that is ample time to excuse yourself to a more private spot, but there are instances where excusing yourself is an obtrusive act in itself which will result in the necessity of an explanation, and then where are you? Back acknowledging your fart, that’s where you are. Ignore it. Move on. If everybody in a yoga class said, “Excuse me,” every time he or she farted, nobody would be able to hear the teacher. Even Miss Manners says you should not acknowledge a fart regardless of whether you are the audience or the performer, and she doesn’t even do yoga.

SUPERSTITION: If you are among indigenous people in Ecuador and you fart, you are in for some serious trouble. It is believed that your soul leaves your body when you fart, and unlike Miss Manners, Ecuadorians feel it is important to draw attention to whomever has done the farting. Usually what happens is someone yells, “Uianza!” three times and claps the farter on the back, and everybody in the vicinity understands that the farter now has eight days to prepare a post-hunting expedition feast, presumably to gain his soul back. The alternative to the feast is for the flatulence producer to provide the person who hit him on the back with three jugs of beer. It seems to me that this beer-giving would result in some gas-passing on the part of the recipient, and then somebody else would get three jugs of beer, and so on, and so forth.

In a different hemisphere, farting is the solution rather than the cause of your problems. Okinawans believe that sleeplessness is caused by certain tree sprites called Kijimuna sitting on you while you lie in bed. These Kijimuna will go away if you fart.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I love this article. butter or beans make one fart, salt and vinegar on your fish and chips = coarse language.

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