Mind Of Man: In Defense Of Fart Jokes

There are plenty of things men don’t understand about women. Like why you insist on leaving the toilet seat down. Or buy candles that smell like food. Or give pointers on pooping etiquette. Or analyze the gender politics of bowel movements. Would somebody please explain the allure of gloomy teenage vampires dry humping? To be fair, there are plenty of things women don’t understand about men. Like why we find flatulence so amusing. In the interest of gender relations, I will explain this.

Nothing will send a man into a fit of uncontrollable laughter than a well-timed fart. Over the past few days, CBS has been running desperate damage control, trying to stamp out a video of Tiger Woods letting one rip during a recent tournament. The superstar is then seized with a fit of giggles, and tries to regain his composure. That’s what that stuffy sport needs more of: unexpected bodily malfunctions. The scene is priceless – a sensitive microphone picking up a meaty, breathy, flapping noise during a hushed lull in the game. And the controversy is absurd, of course. The subtext being what? That golf is too sacrosanct to allow for an unexpected visit from the Stench Fairy? Did monocles pop out of eyes? Were dentures spit into martinis? Aren’t country clubs basically frat houses for mummies?

Basically, a “poot” is a funny noise that comes out of your dirty place. It is an unavoidable fact of biology, and therefore, it is a great social leveler. President Barack Obama is susceptible to gut honks. The Pope deals Holy Invisible Stink Biscuits. Every single Real Housewife releases fragrant ass kisses from time to time. To not find the act funny is to deny our shared humanity. Nothing deflates a pretentious ego more than an involuntary bleat, as it is a reminder that, like Caesar himself, thou art mortal. Furthermore, farts are proof that evolution has a sense of humor and wants us to laugh.

Of course, scatology has a proud literary tradition. The bawdy French poet Rabelais was obsessed with the act. The classical theologian St. Augustine makes mention of it. As does Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and even Alice must endure “thundergusts” in Wonderland. I haven’t even mentioned Homer, Shakespeare, Chaucer, or Dante. Yes, I realize these are all dead white men, and your education is duly noted. But I’m pretty sure my favorite female authors, like Flannery O’Connor, Anais Nin, or Katherine Dunn, would appreciate the tradition. Breaking wind is a legitimate motif. It’s not just the province of sniggering adolescents. Much. I would also like to make a nod to clown prince Mel Brooks, who made one of the greatest racial comedies of all time, and simultaneously re-legitimized the fart joke.

One of the comedic highlights of my entire life happened during an independent movie I was a part of centuries ago. There was an older dignified lion of an actor whose voice was thunder, accent decidedly British, and poise utterly regal. He could have been a professor at Hogwarts. And he had done Shakespeare! During a scene, this noble actor squeezed out a long, undeniable squeak. He turned to me and without a beat bellowed “Ah! The trumpeting!” I will laugh about that until the day I die. In fact, those will be my last words on my death bed. And then I will hold a finger up to the heavens, and bade the angels to give it a pull.

My dad used to take me out as a kid to a fancy Greek restaurant, just the two of us, where I would outline my plans for world domination, explain why girls were gross, and detail the virtues of life as a Thundercat. One night, a particularly haughty couple decided to order “saganaki” or pan-fried Greek cheese. The amorous gentleman, upon being served, looked into his love’s eyes and announced, “Who shall cut the cheese?” The tears flowed, to the horror of the couple. My old man had a beautiful, hearty laugh, and that particular night’s guffaw still echoes in my dreams.

I will admit to having terrorized a girlfriend once or twice by tap-dancing on frogs. I am a master of the ribald arts. Sometimes it is just irresistible, a cheap shock. But it shouldn’t be shock, because even dainty ladies are capable of such natural exhausts, a fact I discovered after pushing one girlfriend too far. We were in bed, and the vengeful minx pulled up the sheets and gave me ye olde Dutch oven. The gassy mist was silent, like the Angel of Death in the Book of Genesis. And it smelled, seriously, like a dead puppy in a bucket. Like the post-apocalypse. Roses, gone horribly, horribly wrong. I fell out of the bed, arms flailing, like I was covered in thousands of tiny sulfuric spiders. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

John writes stuff. Follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.