I came across this story the other day (you may have heard of it) about an opera singer who is suing the government after an episiotomy at an Army hospital left her incontinent and suffering from excessive flatulence. She can no longer perform onstage because those damn mics pick up everything.
I feel for this woman in so many ways. For one, episiotomies sound like a son of a bitch. It’s one of the pluses of the c-section:
“What’s that? You’d like to slice me from vag to anus? You know what, here — pass me the scalpel. I’m just gonna go ahead and cut open my stomach and pull the baby out myself; it’ll be more comfortable this way. And I’ll be able to poop sooner.”
And second, I too have dealt with embarrassing social flatulence. In my case, it is brought on by yoga.
The first time I realized I had a high yoga-to-fart ratio was when I was a teenager. A friend and I tried doing one of her mom’s yoga tapes in her basement. You can imagine how embarrassed I was when I loudly expelled some air with every movement. I’m sure she said something, and I’m sure I came up with an elaborate lie about why it was happening, but I can’t remember what it was. I probably told her I had some kind of horrible gastrointestinal disease. I was dramatic like that.
The next time I tempted fate was when I first moved to Seattle and decided to attend a real-as-shit-serious yoga class. These people were not fucking around — they were old, they had weird smells, and they had lots of hair. Everywhere. I pooted a few times here and there during the class, but it wasn’t too noticeable, I told myself. Then we did headstands. And then we rolled down out of those headstands.
You guys. Oh, you guys. It was as if every molecule of gas in my body had been perched right outside the gates, yelling “Hold…HOLD!” until I rolled my back down to the floor, at which point their leader said, “NOW, MEN! IT’S YOUR ONLY CHANCE!” (Also, my farts are, in fact, made up of tiny Scottish armies if that helps you get the tone right in your head.)
The other people in the class, who were much more grown up than I will ever be, said nothing. It was like it never happened. Except that it so totally did. I left that class and never went back. There are some first impressions you can never recover from.
So farting opera lady, I feel your pain. If I had anyone to sue, well, I wouldn’t because I’m not much of a suer. But if I had anyone to be angry at, I’d be right there with you. Perhaps the best offense is an awesome offense, and you should go perform an entire opera in what I can only imagine are their tight, cramped little offices. I will accompany you on the recorder, and request encores while attempting Raven pose.