General Question

girlofscience's avatar

What happens if someone farts at work?

Asked by girlofscience (7550points) April 13th, 2009

I’d always wondered what would happen if someone were to fart really loudly when it was quiet in the office. Or in some other setting in which there were a lot of people he/she knows, and everyone was quiet. It’s bound to happen because people fart all the time, but the concept of someone embarrassing him/herself to that degree was previously baffling to me.

But today, it happened. Someone in my lab farted! Loud! There were about 8 of us in there working at the time, and everyone was quietly sitting at their computers. As soon as it happened, I turned around immediately, expecting him to acknowledge the fart and laugh or be embarrassed or something! But no – nothing! He sat there, still facing the computer and working away as if nothing had happened. Even more surprising is the fact that so did everyone else! Not a single person even flinched or laughed or made any indication that they had heard the fart occur. (And we’re all friends who regularly joke around during the day!) I mean, I know we’re all adults now, but come on. Farts are always funny.

Is this typical protocol? Are farts always ignored to this degree? How common is it for someone to fart in this type of setting? Should the person feel embarrassed at all? Should the person acknowledge the fart and either laugh or excuse him/herself, or should he/she act as if it didn’t happen? Should the other people completely ignore it as well? What is the benefit of treating a fart in this manner? Why not laugh about it and acknowledge the obvious humor in the situation?

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55 Answers

ru2bz46's avatar

It was a joke on you. They all discussed it beforehand to check your reaction. You’ll see the video being circulated around the office tomorrow. ;-)

Blondesjon's avatar

Did anyone yell ”Doorknob”?

flameboi's avatar

Everybody should laugh and make a comment like… Mmm, so the burritos were not that good! And, keep laughing jajaja

TjHare's avatar

Laugh histerically

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I worked with a lady who’d say “that was my shoe” in reference to any fart noise which made everyone laugh and not be so serious or awkward.

jrpowell's avatar

In high school I took a lot of drafting classes. This was before everything was done on computers. I had my walkman on and leaned forward to get to the top of the document… Annnd. I let a huge one go. I was listening to loud music at the time (NoFX) and didn’t hear anything. I looked around and everyone looked normal.

But after class a buddy let me know just how loud it was.

girlofscience's avatar

@johnpowell: Haha, everyone looked normal?! See, that is the weirdest part. I am totally not understanding why people have 0 reaction to this. Like, when it happened today, I turned around immediately to look at the guy and laugh with him and the rest of my coworkers and was shocked to see everyone else completely ignore it. What the hell.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Wow.. your office is friggin boring.

If it happened in our office there would be all manner of name calling and fart smell comparison.

Blondesjon's avatar

@girlofscience…So you are disappointed because you were unable to single out and ridicule a member of the group that did something each and every one of the rest of you have done?

nobody laughs with the person who farted

aprilsimnel's avatar

I worked in a small office where a guy farted inadvertently during the weekly meeting and we had to end it as the laughter became uncontrollable. Poor thing, he was mortified.

filmfann's avatar

I work in construction. If anyone says excuse me after passing gas, they are belittled.
That said, I used to work with this guy who would constantly fart, and say “Breathe through your mouth. They taste better than they smell.”

girlofscience's avatar

@Blondesjon: Oh come on. That response was uncalled for. This post said nothing about ridiculing anyone. I also did not say I was disappointed.

I said I was confused that no one found humor in the situation.

That is very different than saying I was disappointed that no one ridiculed the farter.

God.

girlofscience's avatar

@aprilsimnel: lol! See, now that is more what I would expect! Poor guy, though.

Did anyone say anything to him after that? Was he always remembered as the guy who farted? Or did everyone forget after a bit?

filmfann's avatar

No, you misunderstood me. I am not saying we should belittle the farter for farting, but ridicule him for apologizing for it.

girlofscience's avatar

@filmfann: I did not misunderstand you. I was talking to @Blondesjon.

filmfann's avatar

whoops sorry… here’s some lurve. lol

Blondesjon's avatar

@girlofscience…My apologies. May I rephrase?

Why is it so important to you to know why the group, as a whole, didn’t share your preconcieved notion of what should happen?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I would laugh. Regardless if I simply heard someone fart or it was me who actually farted. It’s funny. Especially when it sounds like your ass is trying to talk to you. :D

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Yeah I have seen similar phenomenons with farts, but if one person has the courage to mention something usually the rest of the group will finally break their silence and start joking about it. But yeah its so weird when everyone acts like they didn’t hear anything.

girlofscience's avatar

@Blondesjon: It’s not “so important.” I found it strange. I was surprised at the reactions of my group. I did not agonize over it; I was simply slightly confused. I thought it would be interesting to ask the collective’s opinion on the matter. I was curious about what regular protocol was in reacting to a coworker’s fart. By asking what “should” happen, I was asking the opinion of what the collective believes should happen in this situation. Many questions on Fluther are structured in such a manner. What’s my crime?

Blondesjon's avatar

@girlofscience…There is no crime. I am simply exercising my right to bring a counter-point to this discussion. It gets kind of boring when it’s the same fart joke over and over and over and…

lighten up

girlofscience's avatar

@Blondesjon: It would be boring if this person farted everyday. But this has never occurred before. First time. Still funny. Definitely funny.

Dr_C's avatar

let us not forget the age old snippet of wisdom: “He that smelt it… dealt it”

Blondesjon's avatar

@girlofscience…Perhaps this person does fart every day. In his case the farts have always been of the silent variety. Since he has gotten away with this public faux pas for so long, he has become less and less concerned with the rate at which he “lets one go”. In your example he pushed a little too hard and <insert loud fart noise>.

The lack of response from the others may be explained like this. Those that sat around this fellow, within the “stink zone”, have probably also gotten used to his daily “exhalations”. Perhaps a closer examination of their reactions would have exposed some resigned expressions?

As for the rest of the folks in the room, they looked back and saw that nobody was acknowledging the fart. Even though they may have wished to laugh, the overwhelming herd mentality kicked in and told them, “Nobody else is laughing. Do you want the room’s attention shifted towards you?”

i would have laughed and pointed

girlofscience's avatar

@Blondesjon: Haha. Our room is a big open space. Everyone sits facing a different section of the wall. I turned around when it happen. I would have seen if anyone else turned around, but they didn’t.

But yes, when I saw that no one else turned around, the overwhelming “herd mentality” kicked in for me, and so I did not laugh, but turned back to my computer.

gimmedat's avatar

I would have cracked up. I admit.

But, I live in middle school, where farting occurs with some regularity. I am never shy about it (especially in a classroom of all boys). I come right out and ask, “Who was that? That’s nasty. Excuse yourself. If you’re experiencing an upset stomach, please go to the hallway and handle your business.” I understand the necessity, the importance if you will, of flatulence, but I don’t need to marinate in it.

When a co-worker lets one rip, I will fall out laughing. I work with a very distinguished, very serious, very professional counselor who let go one afternoon. Four of us were in her office. As she was headed to her chair she bent down to grab a piece of paper that had fallen to the floor. She killed it. Loud and long. She looked at the three of us and said, “Oh, I made a poopsie.” We all fell out, even her. We cracked up and still give her grief over it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@girlofscience – After a while it was forgotten. Maybe after 3 weeks or so. I think what made everyone laugh so hard was that the guy was well over 6’, barrel-chested, etc., and it was this tiny POOT! that cut through the soft-spoken sales department head who was talking at that moment.

eponymoushipster's avatar

shit my pants laughing.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

I would probably try to hold it in (the laugh, not the fart), but would fail and make a loud snorting sound before completely cracking up.

Blondesjon's avatar

What if you laughed so hard that you farted? What if this in turn caused another to fart from the force of their laughter? What if this continued until all of a sudden you are in a room filled with methane and an errant spark from a power strip ruins everybody’s afternoon.

Farts are nothing to fuck with people.

paid for by the committee to re-elect Blondesjon for sanitation commissioner

jsc3791's avatar

If a man farts in his chair and no one is there to see it, does it make a smell?

hahahahaha

casheroo's avatar

Different scenario, but at my job, this girl would cut the nastiest farts sometimes. They were always silent, so I was unknowing of the smell that I was about to endure. And she’d fucking walk away! Like I didn’t know it was her that farted! And if anyone came over, I’m sure they thought it was me. That pissed me off the most.

I probably wouldn’t have turned around and looked, I wouldn’t want people pointing and laughing at me. Men don’t get as embarassed from farting it seems.
My husband tells me about his fart competitions at work, and how he and his buddy fart so much that no one will enter the kitchen. So gross lol

jsc3791's avatar

@casheroo Lurve for “fart competitions”!! Ha! =D

i’m so mature

aprilsimnel's avatar

Oh, geeze, you guys. It’s another one from Bob and David.

Mr_M's avatar

I think the people got their cues from the person who farted. In the environments I have worked in, it’s considered rude to fart in front of others. It sends a message “I think so little of you, I’ll fart in front of you”. It’s rude. I’ve worked in clinical labs. It’s just not done.

Certainly the person who farted was embarrassed. By not acknowledging it, he essentially tries to say “It wasn’t me.”. As I said, everyone took their cues from him. If he would have laughed about it, others would have too.

cak's avatar

Well, sometimes people just really can’t help it. We are supposed to try, as adults, to ignore it. I know, it’s difficult. It’s the polite thing to do. Truly, some people, no matter what the “polite” thing to do is, cannot help it. For their sakes, try not to laugh.

When you are out with friends – and they are not offended, go for it. Laugh. Just in that work setting, try to hold your response in. Hanging out at home…go ahead, laugh it up!

And yes, farts are funny. ;~)

charliecompany34's avatar

we laugh at the sound and smell and keep on working.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Someone step on a duck?

Lightlyseared's avatar

Where I work you could probably blame it on one of the patients.

Seriously, I spend my days telling people who are sitting there in agony because of wind to fart.

Poser's avatar

This is possibly the best question ever. Lurve x 1000.

I had been dating my GF for a couple of weeks, when I first farted in front of her (that she knew of). We had just eaten lunch, and were leaving the restaurant. I was walking in front of her between two parked cars and couldn’t hold in an SBD. She said, “Did you fart?”

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to lie, but I was admittedly embarrassed. My hesitation was all the answer she needed. She started laughing and said, “Gross! My mouth was open!”

After that, it was game on. Pull my finger jokes and dutch ovens galore (she’s the only girl among seven brothers, so it was ridiculous of me to think she’d be uptight about farting). It’s now to the point that I sometimes forget that I’m not in private with her when the urge strikes, and I’ve found myself being less than discrete at work and other places. Hasn’t been a problem yet, but I have to remember to reign it in in certain situations.

Lupin's avatar

I grew up in a culture where we considered that private – on par with belching. We did not strive to excel in those departments. Imagine a brain surgeon. Now imagine the folks on My name is Earl. Which one proudly displays the CO2 and methane squirted from their bodily orifices? Sure, there are exception to the rule but if you had to vote which one would you pick? Now which image of yourself do you you want to present to others?
The class act is the person who ignores the noise and does not embarrass the coworker.

Poser's avatar

@Lupin Funny. My GF is in medical school. She wants to be a surgeon.

Lupin's avatar

@Poser I’m willing to bet the people she hangs with are more discreet. Reputation and professionalism are important in that setting. We all know it happens, but after you’re about 12 years old you’ve heard ‘em all. She can let it all hang out with you.
If, on the rare occasion a silent emanation manages to pass its way through well trained and powerful sphincter muscles, I will, by Geneva Convention law, notify all close acquaintances within a 1 meter radius of said sphincter.

ShauneP82's avatar

We get fired.

filmfann's avatar

@eponymoushipster That is so crude! Why does it surprise me?

Dr_C's avatar

@Lupin & @Poser the doctor theory was put to the test last night during my shift @ the ER. We have a pregnant co0worker who has trouble containing her methane emissions and we had ordered tacos for dinner. She as well as several others let one rip on occasion as discretely as possible.. in her case silence was not an option. One guy laughed his ass off…. strangely the one guy no one will leave alone with a patient.
The rest.. quiet and discrete.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@filmfann i dunno, but if they come up with pants that twitter every time i get a stiffy, i’m in real trouble…

CMaz's avatar

Funny fart story. I am the boss, so I can fart where ever and when ever. I do try to be covert about it. The cleaning guy was in the other day. I was at my desk and cut loose one of those silent but deadly ones. Just then he came in my office. He said nothing, did his thing. I left the room. (yes it was that bad)
There is no question he had nightmares that evening of my ass chasing him around the office.

Da_Wolfman's avatar

My farts don’t smell AND my shit don’t stink!

Arooooooooooooooooo!

deni's avatar

In my 7th grade math class this girl farted SO LOUD and everyone heard and started chuckling but the teacher refused to acknowledge it. She was so appalled that WE acknowledged it that she began to yell at us. “Is something wrong?!!!! Do you all want detentions?! If one more person laughs, you’re all going to be in trouble!” It was ridiculous. She farted, loud, and it was funny, and my teacher just would not accept it.

Although I’m sure the girl appreciated it.

Val123's avatar

I have never understood what is so funny about flatulence. It’s embarrassing, sure, but I don’t get the giggling. I think the most polite response would be to ignore it, so you don’t add to the person’s discomfort.

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