Women fart. OK, this woman does.
My rather inaccurate iphone step tracker says that 14,500 steps have already been done with my beloved dog Felix throughout the day. Now that it’s evening, my All Day Dog Woman clothes are discarded and I’ve taken a shower, only to replace that sweaty apparel with pajamas. Why bother with adult clothes like jeans and lace up shoes? With a 6pm curfew in France; a limit of six people in bubble households and every bar, restaurant and cafe closed, where on earth am I expecting to go?
Only for a quick dash around the block with Felix which is an officially permitted activity beyond 6pm. My bralessness can be covered up by a bulky parka and if anyone can see the accompanying tracksuit pants and ugg boots, well, shame on them for being outside without the sanctioned pet to walk.
I’ve enjoyed a nice spicy curry earlier in the evening and am now taking ‘ol furry face out for his bedtime walk-and-wee. He accepts this routine; the final visit outside is a short one, toileting purposes only. The street is pitch black and deserted save for an Uber Eats bloke scootering by.
Fifty something women expel a lot of air. Well, this one does. Mostly through sighing deeply or grunting when arising out of bed, but flatulence does happen. A lot. They don’t tend to be room-clearers or the sulphurous ones a sleeping dog poots out, but they’re loud. From age zero to eighteen I shared a family home with two boisterous brothers who never heard, smelled or saw me expel gas. Ever. In fact, the youngest one once said that he didn’t believe that girls could fart. A source of pride for me at the time.
Unfortunately, my husband was rudely awakened to that untruth soon after our marriage. We were carousing around our first flat and he said, ‘I’m gonna dack you’ which is Australian love talk for ‘I plan on pulling down your shorts which have an elasticated waist and will therefore be rather easy.’
I was giggling and far weaker than he was and he soon grabbed me, bent me over and — QUACK!
My shorts stayed up as he fell down gasping with laughter. “You’ve got your own defence mechanism!”
Luckily for darling Dean, he was spared suffering from my farty fortress except maybe at night because when anyone’s asleep no-one can take full responsibility for whatever parp-parp-parps might pop out. While it is commonly accepted that the bladder wall can weaken after childbirth, very little is said about the significant increase of unwanted anal gales in our fifties.
And this shameful physical phenomena is not deliberate, nor sought after, but seems to delight in announcing itself during normal movements.
Bend down to unload the dishwasher — QUACK!
Rearrange the armload of recycling in your arms whilst passing the time of day with Claudio, your Italian neighbour who has joined you in the elevator — quack. Rustling the plastic bag of tins and wine bottles may have helped disguise that one.
Reaching up to get down some clean towels out of the hall cupboard — quack quack
Misjudging the depth of the step off the bus into the gutter — QUACK! Walking as slowly as you can behind the rest of the passengers who got off at your stop so that they don’t see your face: essential, or I’d have to move countries a fourth time.
Laughing too hard at someone falling over on a YouTube fail compilation — QUACK QUACK QUACK!
Every other walk with Felix involves the social norm of greeting dozens of other dog owners, power walkers, cyclists, runners and amateur photographers with little chance to sing the theme song to ‘Bob the Builder’ out loud as my current earworm, speak to Felix about current events while his snout is down a mousehole or even be able to surreptitiously unpick the wedgie forming in my lockdown lard now-too-tight yoga pants.
Finally it’s 10:30pm. I’m on my own, the only human in sight, for the first time today. The bus stop is unlit and no-one is approaching me from behind or ahead on the footpath.
It is the perfect time — not for singing out loud because it’s a built up area and locals will think a pub has opened and I’ve enjoyed a few too many burgundies — but to let rip a bold series of suppressed-since-dinnertime farts that sound like angry ducks wrestling with percussion instruments.
Of course, I turn the corner and find FIVE BLOKES milling about, too stunned to laugh or, presumably, breathe in too deeply.
There is no dignity to scrape together. None. All I can do is bellow out a cheery ‘Bonsoir’ and pray that my fetching ensemble of maroon beanie, stripy scarf and black parka is an effective disguise. And change my walking route to never take that corner again.