Farting rules.

Imagine a cosy Sunday morning. It’s raining and cold enough so the doona needs to be just below your chin. Your bedfellow looks delicious and is still snoring, softly of course, not in that obtrusive phlegm-gurgling fashion.

It’s a warm-on-the-inside moment. An idyllic early-romance landmark. Except for the slight rumbling in your belly. A tightening just below your ribs. It’s the morning fart. It wants to share in the stunning sunrise ambience, too.

But, take note, the fart and the mood are mutually exclusive phenomena. Let that baby rip and the snores will fade away to a silence akin to, well really there is no silence like the brilliant knowing nothingness that comes after one has let the essence of poo escape into the doona. Impossible to take that one back.

I assume this dilemma is universal. Do we fart or not? And if we do when is it appropriate and when will it make you look like a dog that has just returned from cleaning itself in the sewer?

Perhaps even those without supreme fluffing skills borne of a country upbringing with two older brothers and rather windy parents, including a father who still proudly separates his cheeks and does a mini squat whenever he needs to pass wind, maybe even those less-cultured folk have this issue. When do you let a new lover know that you have a dark side? Should you tell someone you’ve begun to care about that your old roommates never bothered with an alarm clock because the early morning tummy rumbles next door were so loud they never worried about whether they would make it to work or not?

It’s a tough one.

Recently a few of my best mates tied the knot in a hilltop church with a mesmerising stained glass window. It was a moving ceremony that tied their 14-year courtship. Miraculously in the preceding years the pair had never – and I still struggle to believe this – passed wind in front of the other. Perhaps they both, coincidentally, missed that gene. If that’s the case I am just ripe with jealousy. The bride reckons the sound of gas passing through the anus kills the romance.

Well, when put like that I’d probably prefer to watch the sunset and sip champagne too.

But there is another side to this occasionally smelly conundrum.

A friend of mine says she rarely lets rip in front of her husband simply because he shows her that courtesy. He has awesome sphincter, apparently. Impressive.

I do too. At high school I blackmailed my maths teacher into handing me a class award for ‘holding in a fart’. He was obviously so scared of the ensuing pungent wrath and I clearly coveted the $5 canteen voucher enough to deem it worth the discomfort. Of course when my class award went to the next level and was drawn out at the weekly all-school assembly the deputy principal declined to read out my good deed to the whole school. Foolish. There were a lot of grotty teenagers who could have learnt from my noble example.

Because it can be bloody uncomfortable to keep the wind in. Especially after a serious night on the lentils. Or any sort of alcoholic bender. Actually it’s very difficult to determine what can unleash a tornado of cheese cutting and what will leave you feeling thin and smelling of lavender.

In previous relationships I have gone months without letting my beau hear even a whisper of my farting prowess. Looking back it seems I was probably never comfortable with them. I should have known that holding myself in severe gassy discomfort was perhaps not the key to happiness. That’s just like assuming doona stealing in winter is an endearing quality.

There is a fine line to tread when introducing farting to relationships. I’m nervous about cracking the cherry on this one, so I leave it to the man.

Ben certainly did not miss this opportunity.

I was so relieved when the car filled with a suspicious smell as we stood idle in a traffic jam. I should have seen the relationship-changing moment coming. He had been complaining of a stomach ache.

I pondered When would be the right time to respond? Obviously the aforementioned Sunday morning scene would be inappropriate. For the record, if you’re struggling to contain yourself in this situation the go to the bloody toilet. Farts in the loo don’t even count as farts.

So, steer away from the romantic moments. Perhaps try a crowded room. I suggest going for a bang, something really explosive. Start as you intend to continue and don’t be a bloody woose with a pathetic tinny shadow of a pop-off.

Make a statement.

Don’t poo your pants, though. I’d save that particular get-to-know-you game for an overnight bus trip in a developing country.

And finally, own it. Don’t back down, just laugh it off and remember: it’s just contaminated air. It’s not like you had to spew in the middle of the Sunday morning romance.