I am not a word prude. I do not have virgin ears (or virgin anything else, for that matter). Crass and vulgar language generally doesn’t upset me … Unless used by children and teenagers. Then I don’t like it. I think there should be an age requirement for swearing, like drinking alcohol or buying cigarettes. At 21, you can drink, smoke and cuss all you want. Have at it! You’re an adult now, curse away! But I digress …
While profanity doesn’t fluster me, one four-letter word does … Fart. I am cringing just typing it.
I know it’s natural. I know we all do it. (The National Institutes of Health reports that between 13 and 21 times per day is normal, in case you were wondering.) And I know most people say this word without giving it a second thought. But not me. The word gives me the willies and makes my skin crawl.
There are many alternatives to the “F” word. I hear moms of toddlers use “toot” when talking to their kids, but I’ve never been one for cutesy nicknames. My grandmother used to say “break wind,” but I’m not a fan of that either. And I occasionally hear the classic “cut the cheese,” but that expression also makes me wince a little.
I prefer to say, “pass gas.” Clinical, accurate, innocuous.
The good news is, my boys have been trained to use this phrase as well. They’d probably say the other “F” word in front of me before they’d say this one, and I’m okay with that. The bad news is, their friends haven’t been duly trained. Case in point: One day in the fall, I was carpooling a bunch of middle school boys to football practice and had to suffer through 20 minutes of repeated “F” bombs. Through the rearview mirror, my eyes pleaded with my son to end the discussion or at least get the others to stop using that word. Thankfully, he understood and the topic was eventually changed. Crisis averted.
I realize this is a bit ridiculous, maybe even juvenile. I’m 42 years old and the word fart grosses me out. (For the record, so does the word moist … Eww!). At my age, I don’t think this feeling will go away any time soon. As such, my genius theory is this: If I tell enough people about my aversion, maybe they won’t expose me to it … Kind of like how I handle my dairy and gluten issues. Ironically, dairy and gluten give me gas.