Refined Flatulence

And it’s come to this. I shouldn’t be surprised because it always does.

Yesterday I read Wendy’s tale of flatulence on her blog Herding Cats In Hammond River.  (To clarify, it was her blog but not her flatulence.) In the comment section was a call to action. Someone needs to write about the etiquette of flatulence.

As a parent of three and someone who has taught manners to rooms filled with 8-10 year old children, I have serious boots-on-the-ground time when it comes to bodily functions.  So, I am here to answer the call.

If you’re a parent, (you don’t really need to be a parent, if there’s a male of any age in your household this will work) ask your child (or adult male) for the one question they would most want to ask an etiquette teacher. Trust me; there will be three results from this little, social experiment:

  1. You’ll need to define etiquette.
  2. They’ll give you a question that has something to do with burping, farting, nose-picking, or body odor.
  3. You’ll think that your kids are gross but also that it’s a pretty good question.

It’s a good question because bodily functions are something no one is spared from; they’re what 8-year-old boys have in common with the Queen of England. The list of gross things to cover is long, especially when you put the imagination of your children to work at compiling such a list. However, I’m going to cover the top two: flatulence and belching. (Yes, David, those are the fancy words for farting and burping.)

How to handle flatulence:

  • Recent studies show that for 98% of farts you have at least a 30 second warning. (There have been no recent studies that I know of; I made that up, but I believe it to be true and statistically sound!) So, use your 30 second window to LEAVE THE ROOM. That is the Golden Rule of Flatulence Etiquette – leave.
  • Okay, you’ve just had one of those 2% rare episodes of flatulence and passed gas in the presence of someone other than your dog. You need to say “Excuse me.” You don’t say EXCUUUUSE MEEEEE!!! You excuse yourself quietly and then either leave the room until your situation is done or proceed with whatever you were doing.
  • Don’t apologize. Apologizing for an unexpected fart can be as awkward as the act itself. How is the offended person supposed to respond to a fart apology?
  • If you’re the victim of someone else’s public flatulence, ignore it. Unless it happens over and over, in which case you can ask, “Are you okay?” If this subtle, considerate response doesn’t get them to leave the room, you have my permission to ask if they’d mind stepping out of the room until they’re feeling better. A person can only take so much.

How to handle burps (or the mechanics of a polite burp):

  • (This one is for the kids.) Learn that there is a time and a place for everything – even burps. It may be funny with friends on the playground but will be much less funny at your parent’s dinner party. Leave the table to burp if you can.
  • It can’t be stopped? First, keep your lips closed. This helps with volume control.
  • Make a fist with your hand and burp into the hole at the top of your fist.
  • Turn your head away.
  • Say, “Excuse me.”
  • Move on. No need to discuss the incident further

And there you have it, the culmination of my etiquette and parenting experiences. I’ll end this etiquette masterpiece with Shrek because any discussion of bodily functions would be incomplete without him.

27 thoughts on “Refined Flatulence

  1. Hahahahaha! Love the title, Amy! Thanks so much for taking up this challenge…crude people everywhere can learn from this post! Thanks also for the shoutout (and for making it clear that it wasn’t me farting!)…

    The Shrek piece was a fun ending too!


      1. I had no idea what a hot topic flatulence was…that was one of my all-time top 15 posts for traffic! I hope it generates similar “attention” for your blog! Thanks again!


      2. Friends have been emailing and Facebook messaging me their flatulence stories ever since the post. Apparently, we filled a void out there! (A flatulence void – we should write a book.)

  2. Very clever post and so true. I enjoy your humor. I have a saying in my etiquette classes; “If you do it in the bathroom, don’t do it in the bathroom!” That covers body functions to makeup and more.

  3. you absolutely had me giggling as I read your last bullet for flatulent etiquette. I am uncertain if I could come up with the power to say anything to the offender, but I love the thought of it.

  4. Oh I love this soooo much! I’m totally posting it on my husband’s Facebook. haha If I asked him to leave the room each time…well, I’d never see him. 😉

  5. Hello! I’m here by way of Wendy and her Stylish Blogger Award post!

    This post is a … gas. I wish I had the sense to respond to public flatulence as you described in your last bullet under said topic. My husband and I once had a real estate agent come to our house – I can’t remember why, because I am scarred from the experience. She sat at our dining room table passing gas the entire time, acting like nothing was happening … to the point that, after her visit, my husband and I actually questioned whether we had heard her breaking wind because it was so unreal.

    Thanks for this opportunity for me to share a story about something my mother-in-law (the worst offender in my family of one husband and two sons!) calls squashing a bug. Collectively, exterminators around the globe haven’t squashed as many bugs as she has since I’ve known her for the past 25 years!

    1. These stories are great! Isn’t it amazing how many of us have stories of flatulence. (Or sad?)
      “This post is … a gas.” Awesome. 🙂
      Congrats to you on your award. I have some work to do … my next post is my stylish blogger one! Can’t wait to browse your blog.


  6. You know, we don’t have any actual control for when we fart or burp. It just happens. So if a simple “excuse me” doesn’t cut, I’m moving somewhere where bodily functions like that are appreciated and not shunned. But good post 😀

  7. Great post, so true and its not just related to boys my granddaughter can compete with anyone on this score. Had to smile when 20 month old grandson let go a loud explosion the other day, he looked so surprised and yes he then burst into laughter, guess its just genetic somehow. Thanks for the tips on teaching etiquette to the little people. Shrek always makes me smile

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s