It was Friday night. I had spent the whole week texting and calling Stacy preparing for our date, getting a feel for what we would be doing and the vibe we should be going for.
Lo and behold, I met someone on Bumble that I actually kind of liked, and I wanted to try to get it right. I went the route of keeping it casual, heading to a popular but overpriced taco place for dinner, followed by drinks at a bar near my apartment.
She was in leggings with a low cut shirt and a cardigan, I was in khakis with a light blue flannel, a few buttons unbuttoned so that we would both be showing some cleavage. Everything was going great. We held hands in the Uber from the restaurant to the bar. Neither of us wanted to check our phones because it was more fun to be there in that moment. Drinking stories were being balanced out with discussions about our ambitions and hopes for our careers.
We sat on our barstools feeling totally in sync; trying to impress the other person while simultaneously wondering if we were moving too fast. It’s an intense feeling that I’ve only experienced once, maybe twice. And it was astonishing how quickly that feeling could be replaced with confusion, apprehension, and frankly, a little bit of rage.
It all started with a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see another woman standing next to me, paying the bartender for her drink. She turned to me and winked, which I thought was a compliment, but turned out to be a mischievous plot to ruin my night.
“Dude, did you just fart?” she shout-asked me, while looking at Stacy. I was thrown.
“Wh—what did you just say?” I asked.
“I dunno, it just smells like fart over here and you’re kind of flustered by me asking, so it just seems like you farted. It’s okay if you did, dude. Everyone farts.”
Let me just say that, no, I didn’t fart. I mean, I did later on when I was in the bathroom. This wasn’t a crowded Wrigleyville bar, there was no point in doing it in the seating area. It would immediately have been traced back to me and nothing positive would come out of it.
More importantly, in that second where she explained to me why she thought I was the one who farted, I had two options: deny aggressively or own it and run with it. Maybe it was carelessness, maybe it was the double shot of tequila that we did at the taco place, but I decided I would run with it.
“Yeah. I farted. What up?” Your move, lady.
“Is…is that your date?” She responded.
“It’s kind of a bad idea to fart while you’re on a date. Just saying,” she dropped on me before walking away.
Holy shit. I was not expecting that and immediately regretted that decision. I turned in my seat to see Stacy looking at me. I couldn’t read her face. She was either holding back laughter or judging me harder than I had ever been judged before. There were so many thoughts rushing through my head—none of them were coherent, but they were all anxiety inducing.
“I mean, it’s okay if you farted,” she told me, cracking a smile.
“No, no I didn’t actually fart. I just thought I would run with it because it might show confidence.”
“So, you’re confident that you farted at the bar on your date?”
“That’s not what I said.”
“Look, if you farted it’s okay. I’m okay with it, everyone farts.”
“This plan backfired so quickly,” I said.
We laughed. She knew I wasn’t being serious, and I knew she was kidding. Luckily, we were towards the end of our drinks, so we ordered another round. Conversation kept flowing. Our seats moved closer and closer together. Time went on and before I knew it, it was around midnight. For context, we met at the taco place at 7:00. I was about ready to get to a change of scenery, whether that was a different bar or the inside of my apartment. That’s when I felt another tap on my shoulder.
It was Fart Lady.
“Hey, I came over here to order another drink and couldn’t help but notice that it still smells like fart over here. Was that your doing?”
“Oh, shit, really? Not this time, no,” I pointed to Stacy. “It might have been her, though.”
A look of contemplation came over Fart Lady’s face. I’m not 100% confident that she knew what to do or how to react. If she had been coming after me specifically, I thought I might have just foiled her plans. That’s when something unexpected happened.
“No, no it was him,” Stacy said. “We actually have been in deep conversation for the last 20 minutes about his Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He’s just really sensitive about it and doesn’t want the whole bar to know. Isn’t that right, Charlie?”
That was it. The only option I had in that situation was to own it. Stacy was in on it somehow, and I could no longer defend myself. I did my best to look deeply into the eyes of this stranger and conjure up my most sincere facial expression.
“Yes… it’s all true. I was the one who farted, and I have been all night. It’s a natural reaction that my body has when I get excited. I can’t control it.”
Fart Lady and I exchanged a few more pleasantries and she left. Without saying anything, I finished what I had left in my drink and turned back to Stacy. She was laughing out loud about the whole situation, finishing her drink as well. I was at a loss for words, so I said what was on my mind.
“Do you know that person?”
“Not in the slightest.”
“So you just wanted to fuck around with me at the bar?”
“Well, I’d rather fuck around with you at your place. It’s pretty close, right?”
I’ve never paid a bar tab faster, and weirdly enough, I owe it all to a woman who accused me of farting at a bar. .
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