Dating Don’ts: How Open Should You Be About Bodily Functions?
The Frisky HQ is under construction for the next couple of days so I was planning on working from home. Then yesterday, my internet crapped out and I found myself running to the local coffee shop in my pajamas. Six hours later, I was still sitting in my pajamas. It was an interesting day. There was a blind date that I eavesdropped on for a while. I thought that would be the subject of this week’s Dating Don’ts. Then the Boston Marathon bombing happened and the mood turned dark. I sat in silence for a while, watching CNN. My roommate was next to me, because she had the day off of work to study for a grad school exam. She eventually interrupted the silence to confess that she’s been watching that new show “Ready For Love.” Someone needed to cut the tension.
I laughed. But she was like, “Don’t laugh! They had this whole bit about how you should never say the word ‘fart’ on a date. It was interesting.” Then we got into an in-depth discussion about bodily functions and dating. Because these are the things that people sometimes talk about when terrible things happen in the world.
Her stance, after watching “Ready for Love,” is that you should not put the image of yourself farting/ burping/ vomiting/ pooping/ having your period until after a first or second date, or until you’ve swapped saliva, whichever comes first. Her reasoning is that when you’re getting to know someone romantically, you don’t want them to have an image of you letting one rip in their mind. And you want to think of them as a sex God. Or however you do.
But what about after you swap saliva? Then what?
Believe it or not, as much as I write about poop/fart/vomit/periods on The Frisky, I am terribly modest about my bodily functions until I know someone really, really well. I loved waking my ex-live-in boyfriend up with a good Dutch Oven. I don’t think he liked it quite as much as I did. But we had been living together for a couple of years at that point, so it was no biggie. But with new suitors … I would rather die than say the word “fart” on a date. I once got a period stain on a guy’s bed the first time I spent the night with a guy and hid in the bathroom for an hour. He had to beg me to come out. And I’m not going to pretend like I didn’t go into a complete anxiety spiral the first time I went back to my new boyfriend’s place and discovered that the walls to his bathroom didn’t go all the way up. Meaning, there was big, open space at the top of the loo. You’ve gotta love NYC apartments.
“Does it bother you that your bathroom is open?” I asked him, my armpits starting to get damp, imagining having to poop/fart/vomit or even pee in there.
“I haven’t had anyone back here since I moved in,” he said. “But yeah, at this moment I’m realizing I’m not thrilled about the bathroom situation.”
Thank god he’s sweet and has a record player with huge speakers.
Tracy Clark-Foy explored the topic of farting in love in a recent Slate article. She talked about her own difficulty farting in front of her boyfriend and took to Twitter to hear what other couples had to say on the matter. In the end, she came to the following conclusion:
“On the most basic level, we refrain from farting around loved ones because we’re sensitive little buggers worried about rejection … All we really want is to be loved for our flaws, and our farts — but fearing we won’t be, we come up with absurd solutions like ‘fake showers’… I’ve already belched in front of my boyfriend and become spectacularly lazy about shaving my legs. Farting, without forcing him to plug his ears, is the final frontier. One day soon, I will begin conserving water by ending all the ‘fake showers.'”
Farting is the final frontier. But there seem to be couples who stay forever in a state of bodily-function-modesty. And there are other couples who make bodily functions like a third entity in their relationships. I’m thinking of my friend whose boyfriend proposed by putting the ring in the toilet. I’m not sure I could ever get to that place, but good for them.
I ask you, how do you handle the whole bodily function situation in dating and relationships? Fake showers? Total openness? Or something else? Share your philosophies and tactics in the comments.