Breaking Barriers

One of the downsides to new relationships is that you have to exercise restraint. You must do everything in your power to disguise your disgusting habits, so that the guy or gal you’re tying to impress won’t get grossed out and run off.

The more time you spend together, the more likely it is that private habits—like burping or stinking up the bathroom—become public.

The question is not whether this person has gross habits or not (they do!). It’s whether or not you’re willing to live with their stink.

Usually it’s the guy who breaks these barriers first. The number of times he burps or farts in front of you is usually relative to how comfortable he is around you, and how much he thinks he can get away with, without compromising his progress.

Girls usually have ample time to feign disgust before they eventually let one slip, too.

Not in my case.

We were in a bookstore when it happened. Jordan was sitting on a footstool thumbing through Cat’s Cradle, and I was standing next to him scanning the stacks.

I don’t know how it happened. I was just standing there when…

…All of a sudden…

…I farted.

I didn’t do it on purpose; we had only been dating a few months. It just, sort of, came out.

I froze.

I glanced quickly at Jordan whose eyes were still focused on an excerpt from his book. For a second I thought maybe he didn’t hear it. And if he did hear it, maybe he didn’t know what it was. It came and went so quickly that it could have easily been mistaken for a mouse squeak or his footstool scratching along the floor.

But there weren’t any mice, and he knew the sound hadn’t come from the object he was sitting on.

He slowly closed his book keeping his eyes focused down.

That’s when I realized he wasn’t actually reading, rather he was pretending to read so he could figure out how to react.

“Did…you…just…fart?” he asked raising his head.


“Yes you did; you just farted.”

Fight or flight? Fight or flight?


I turned red and disappeared as fast as someone without superpowers can.

Jordan stood at the scene of the crime for a few minutes soaking in the beauty of the moment, because this was a beautiful moment for him. It remains one of his favorites, ranking first among our “firsts.”

I ran while he reveled: He stood there smiling for several minutes, then marked the occasion by taking a picture with his phone—a picture he would later turn into a 200-piece jigsaw puzzle and give me for Christmas.

When he finally caught up to me somewhere around the self-help books, he didn’t say a thing. He simply walked up next to me, looked ahead to where I was looking, and he farted, too.


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