What is a fart, exactly? Open any dictionary and you’ll find the straightforward answer: “An expulsion of intestinal gas.” Of course, we know this already. But I’m more interested in the signifier preceding the definition: “Often vulgar.”
Many of us are uncomfortable with farts because we are told that it’s not okay to “expel intestinal gas” in public, at work, at school, or even at home among loved ones. We are told that a fart is an embarrassing thing, something that only schoolchildren find amusing, and we shame those who have the gall to let one loose around others. We try to hold in our farts to avoid such embarrassment and to appease to decent social standards, often straining ourselves in the process. In the end, we treat farting as a juvenile, awful, unnatural act, so much that even the word itself is classified as vulgar.
But I ask you this: what is more natural than a fart? We are animals. We fart. It’s something that we do. Our bodies can expel solid, liquid, and gas out of many different orifices, and a fart is nothing more than one of these many expulsions. We need to fart, just like we need to breathe, sweat, urinate, defecate… you get the point. Farting is part of the human condition. François Rabelais wrote about farts. So did Geoffrey Chaucer. Jonathan Swift even wrote a piece called “The Benefit of Farting.” If these great masters of literature could acknowledge the importance of our flatulence, then why can’t the rest of us do the same?
Of course, I do not promote or condone excessive overexposure to farts here — also known as “Torture Farting” — since your fellow human beings can only suffer so much. I have written this farticle to shame those who shame others for their flatulence, who behave as if the act of farting is beneath their high-and-mighty civilized standards. Yes, it is true: farts smell and farts make noise. Get over yourself.
When another person farts, how dare you put yourself up on your ignorant, narrow-minded pedestal, since you — yes, you — art as well! When another person farts, you shake that person’s hand and proudly stand up, exclaiming, “Ah! You’re human!” and move on with your day. And for God’s sake, if you have to fart, then fart already!
To me, the most disgusting phrase that can be uttered after flatulence is “that’s disgusting.” You sneer at my farts, madam, and I sneer at you. When you literally and figuratively turn your nose up at my toots, then that tells me the kind of person you are. That tells me that you think you’re above me. That tells me that you perceive your very own foul and ugly mists as odorless, beautiful, purified — unworthy to mingle with my base, contagious clouds. Or even worse: that you cast off your very own humanity and consider yourself ethereal, angelic, or maybe even god-like.
The fact remains: every person farts. There’s no escaping that universal truth. To dismiss a fart with such passionate loathing is to deny one’s own existence.
So, in conclusion: fart away, if you must. Let one rip. Throw caution to the wind. Herald in a new day with your own natural trumpet. Why? Because it’s okay to exist. It’s okay to live. It’s okay to fart.