‘I think I’d know Nora's fart anywhere. I could pick hers out in a roomful of farting women.’ The Selected Letters of James Joyce I heard my Mum break wind for the first time when I was ten. I think I was so shocked because before that, I’d never heard her cut one loose. Dad never seemed to have problem with it. In fact, you could tell the time by my Dad. So why was I so shocked when Mum let one slip and why did she looked so embarrassed when Dad always looked secretly proud? To add further to my confusion, I had just spent the weekend fishing with Dad and his mates and was introduced to the charm of the ‘unacknowledged fart’ as the men partook in beer drinking and the ancient ritual of fire gazing at the end of the day. Not even a wet one was capable of raising an eyebrow. Ahem. I’m now convinced that this is one of the most delightful double standards that both men and women buy into. I was reading this advice column in which a man was complaining that his wife no longer aroused him because she loudly farted. ‘She never farted when we were dating, why start now?’ the husband bemoaned. To further complicate matters, the wife was known to flee mid-coitus if hubby accidentally squeezed one out during the throes of passion. All those years of holding it in must have really poisoned her brain. Now I know people have very different levels of tolerance for such things (let's just say the commercial market for emissions offsets is not mature enough to handle the output from this household) but surely it’s ridiculous to expect that couples living together have a requirement that their ability to get aroused means each has to run from the room whenever the pressure starts to build. I’m starting to wonder if couples who date forever, then finally get married, only did so because they couldn't hold the gas in any longer. Now despite all appearances, I’m not promoting the merits of rampant emissions in public, but surely married couples can laugh about such things!