There comes a point in every relationship when you know it’s real, that it’s not just another affair, that it could be: The One. It’s different for everyone. For some it’s the first kiss. For others it’s the first time you realize that there is nobody else in the entire world you’d rather be with. For many it’s when he, you, or both of you say I love you for the first time.

The first kiss doesn’t do it for me because I squeeze that one in pretty early anyway; if the guy can’t kiss he’s not going to be any better at the more advanced parts of our physical relationship so no reason to draw things out. And as romantic as that whole ‘you complete me’ thing is, I’m already a fully functioning human being and really don’t need someone else to finish me off. Though helping me to finish off is always a nice gesture. Saying I love you can be a pretty big thing. But for too many guy that’s a lie that slips easily off the tongue, so that too is not the earth shattering, Holy Shit This Is Serious moment in a relationship for me. But farting is.

Farting in public is not the most tasteful of subjects. Farting in public is generally frowned upon. And elicits many frowns. Culturally it’s a big no-no for women; guys just don’t like to be reminded that the parts of a woman that interest them have other functions too. Guys, on the other hand, can get away with farting in public when it’s a gang of buddies that they are inflicting their gas upon. It’s always good for a laugh. And every group of guy pals has a designated member to blame everyone’s farts on. But when there are only two of you in the room, using the ‘The Other Guy Farted’ tactic can be problematic.

At some point in every relationship that lasts longer than one night, every couple faces the ‘To Fart Or Not To Fart’ question. You can attempt to avoid the issue by passing a silent one, fervently hoping the smell won’t alert your partner to what you just did. Good luck with that. Especially if you are in Thailand and have been eating spicy local food. For most couples, both hold out waiting for the other to fart first. It really isn’t any different than waiting for the other guy to say I love you first. Except with farting there is no question that he really means it.

Noom, my bar boy friend and current love of my life, introduced farting in bed into our relationship. He didn’t mean too. It was a slip. And a nicer guy than I would have ignored his indiscretion. I decided instead to place the blame firmly where it laid.

“What in the hell did you eat!” I said referencing the stench that accompanied the noise. Good thing he hadn’t tried the silent fart approach because that would never have flown.

Embarrassed, Noom giggled and turned away. Not a wise move as it exposed that part of his body that was at fault. As unwise of a move since it may well have induced more gas to bubble out, I gave his firm ass a firm slap.

“Don’t be pointing that thing at me,” I said. “That bugger’s toxic!”

Noom buried his head under the pillow either out of embarrassment or to hide from the odor floating above our bed. But he knew I was just razzing him. In truth, it was the sweetest sound he’d ever made.

Even if done so accidently, letting one rip when cuddled naked in bed with a partner for the first time is an important moment in any relationship. It means you feel comfortable enough to admit your body functions like a normal human being’s. It means you feel secure enough in your relationship to brave ridicule and embarrassment. And it means you’ve just given the other guy free reign to pass gas as he pleases.

“Hey,” I prodded him a few nights later. “Pull my finger.”

Noom threw an arched eyebrow in my direction, skeptical of what I was up to and no doubt once again contemplating whether or not dealing with a strange farang on an intimate level was a good thing. Hesitantly, he did as I asked. Sucker. I let a loud one rip. Nice to know there are some cultural standards that haven’t travelled across borders.

Noom dissolved into a blubbering fit of giggles. Fart jokes are equally popular all over the world. And smell just as bad anywhere on the planet. Since that night, that has become one of his favorite gags (when not on the receiving end) and I hate to think of how many Thais now know the ‘pull my finger’ bit. My father would be proud.

I doubt Noom feels comfortable farting around his customers. Not that he is now a big ball of escaping gas around me, but that he feels secure enough in our relationship to on occasion pass wind in my presence speaks volumes. It is just one more sign – a noisy one at that – that our relationship has grown and evolved into something more than it was. I’m glad that what we mean to each other has grown to the point that it transcends those little things considered as politeness that two guys committed to a relationship willingly overlook. And I know our relationship is better for that. It’s just that it doesn’t smell the same that it once did.

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