Well, excuse me!

I really enjoy the little things in writing. The sometimes humorous or clever things that make a story or character believable and fun to read. I try my best to include the little nuances that make a human being human even if they only exist in my mind and on paper. These little tidbits are not for everyone or every character otherwise they wouldn’t be minor traits.

Our emotions define us has people and embarrassment is one of them. Our bodies betray us in ways that can be funny and or embarrassing. I talked about flatulence so how about the other gas expelled from our bodies?

Yup, burps and belches. Stifled or free to fly they can be a point of contention, compliment, embarrassment, humor, insult and offense. What is the difference between a burp and a belch? Volume mostly. A burp is a natural expulsion of stomach gas, while a belch is generally forced out to be louder and longer. Both can be voluntary and both can be created by swallowing air and or carbonated beverages.

Reasons People Burp
Consumed air or carbonation with drinking or eating
Indigestion
About to vomit
Making room for more food (Still from swallowing air)
To pay a chef a compliment
To be manly *eye roll
To be rude
To be silly
To show off or compete (Yes this happens)

Burps can be stifled or belted out. They can sound very different from one to the next. I’m not sure if I would use this much or at all perhaps to show someone’s lack of manners or to bring about embarrassment.

Dale wolfed down his second vendor-dog and chugged his coke as he and Amber swiftly walked back to work from lunch. Back at his desk, Dale hung up his jacket and turned as Rachel approached him apprehensively.
“I have the new printouts for the Toothpaste demo for you Dale.” She held a folder of pictures.
“Thanks snitch.” He snatched them from her hand belching loudly wafting his hand before his face. “Woo! I should have passed on the onions and banana peppers.” Dale laughed as Rachel gagged from his aromatic expulsion and hurried away.
Amber popped her head over the divide between their cubicles. “OMG Dale that was hilarious.”

Anne sat at the café table with Valery; her hand flew to her mouth as she burped wide-eyed. “Oh-my-gosh! Excuse me.”
“It’s all good, you tried to cover it.” Valery waved her hand in dismissal and told Ann about her post-taco encounter with Jackson the night before eliciting giggles and laughter.

Bodily functions are good for highlighting a characters level of manners or maturity. They can ease a tense moment or cause one.

My advice about burps.
While not necessary in a story, they can lighten a scenario or darken one. Variety is the spice of life and if a character needs a little something to set them apart a belch might do the trick.

-Sheryl

Other posts of interest

Oops! What did I just say?

Show and tell

Bam! Pow! Kaboom!

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Aromatic
Nuance

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Something stinks!

The human body is a complicated contraption. Writing about it can be just as complicated… or not. I find people tend to avoid the bits and pieces that make us uncomfortable in real life. But why? I don’t always think of it at the time, but when I’m revising/rewriting scenes I try to remind myself to make people more human, more relatable and therefore interesting.

There are some things our bodies do that may or may not be received well by anyone.  One in particular can be raunchy and unpleasant. I’m talking specifically about tooting, farting or flatulence. Whatever you want to call it or refer to it as. The expelled stinky gasses from the body are a common occurrence and everyone knows it.

Flatulence is necessary to the wellbeing of the body. It can be involuntary or manipulated to be voluntary.

There are cultural rules/taboos, social rules/taboos and even personal rules/taboos regarding letting one out of the gates.

Breaking wind can provide plenty of opportunity and fodder for storytelling. From the accidental squeaker to the purposefully silent and deadly, flatulence can and will always be a source for reaction/conversation/embarrassment. I’m not ever going to write this in every scene or even more than once maybe twice if it’s funny for character/relationship development or story advancement (Kudos to anyone that can make a fart plot development without being utterly silly).

I know this can easily fall under the ‘poo-poo humor’ category but if you think about it as I have, it happens in real life and the after effects can be dramatic.

Reasons for involuntary flatulence
Diet – long term and short term

Illness
Age – yes I went there, either the very young or very old don’t care, lack control it or don’t feel it.
Exercise 
Stress
Nervousness
Held in too long due to circumstance

Reasons for voluntary or forced flatulence
Being silly/joking around

Being gross
Being rude
Wanting to clear out an area
Wanting to annoy/gross out someone
Need to get it out before a big/long meeting 
Relief 

Now if I’m going to go to all this trouble to talk about why’s and how’s I suppose I should list a few types.

Types of flatulence
Trumpeter
– loud and proud

Squeaker – the pffft with a small itty-bitty noise
Silent and stealthy – nobody knows and nobody smells
Silent but deadly – I don’t think there is a human alive that hasn’t had this one happen to or around them
The forever – loud or not it is like a deflating balloon
The Popper – one or many, its little pop’s
The snap – uh… it sounds like a snap
The What?  The one that sounds like someone asking “What?”
The gust – sounds like the butt is just blowing air 
The what-the-hell-did-you-eat?  – Self explanatory
Sickly – When you know someone’s just not feeling up to snuff
Shart – when a little poo sneaks out with it. Yeah this is as gross as it sounds for everyone involved.

I’m sure there are more and other names for them, but I’ll move on. So how does one make this part of a story? Good question.

Dale and Amber snickered and whispered behind their hands.
“Go.” Amber nudged Dale off her desk. He sauntered over to Rachel’s desk. She frowned at Dale.
“Morning Rachel.”
“Oh good morning Dale. How are you?” She forced a smile and glanced down the isle of cubicles. Right on cue, Sharon was making her way toward her cubicle.
“Same as always.” He paused, the soft sound of air escaping his rear made her fist tighten on the scissors. 
“Must you? Every dammed time?” Rachel set the scissors down before they wound up in Dales offending cheek.
“Just a bit of payback for snitching to Sasha.”
“It was months ago and an accident you ass.”
He laughed as he walked away. Moments later Rachel’s crush stopped at her desk. 
“Good morning Rachel.” Sharon wrinkled her nose. “Are you feeling okay today?”
A cursory glance at Dale and Amber reminded her of her place. “Um sorry, I…” 
“I hope you feel better.” Sharon moved on quickly casting a giggling Amber and a tittering Dale a narrow eyed glance.

 Valery bit her bottom lip regretting the taco lunch with Anne earlier. Her gurgling stomach made her cringe as Jackson opened his door. He threw his arms around her and hugged tightly. Valery’s eyes flew open as she passed gas loudly.
“Oh my god.” She pushed away and covered her flushing face.
He laughed and pulled her hands away. “Now that you’ve popped the fart cherry and set the bar so high, I get a free pass or two when I rip one out.” He pulled her inside and closed the door.
Valery’s mouth fell open then she laughed. “Jackson you are one digit hotter for being so cool about that.”
He took her jacket and shrugged. “Meh, you’re one digit hotter for being so dammed cute and embarrassed about it.”

Flatulence doesn’t have to be immature poo-poo humor. Sometimes when a person is too perfect or seems to well put together like Valery a little embarrassment can go a long way to making her feel more human to the reader.

My advice about cutting the cheese.
I wouldn’t say to overdo it, but if you need something to break the ice or lessen the tension or even create some, there is nothing better than a little stink cloud to change things up.

-Sheryl

Other posts worth a toot

Did you smell that?

Eating emotions

Setting the mood

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