Monday, August 11, 2014

79. Belching

I don't know when it became unladylike for women to belch, but I consider that moment the beginning of the slow decline of humanity. 

Everyone burps. I have the fortune of being friends with the sort of people who reward particarly robust burps with high fives and praise, but I think it's because I only rarely do it, and thus it's startling and makes people laugh. Forgive me for generalizing here, but I feel like a lot of the guys I know can just burp without anyone feeling the need to comment on it. But when I, as a female, let loose, it's either a triumph or a horror, depending on who I'm standing next to at the time. One time I accidentally burped when I was in my art history professor's office, in the midst of discussing my 30-page research paper on Artemisia Gentileschi. She kicked me out of her office. 


This is not to say that I feel that we should all belch constantly. Even I, a purveyor of all bodily functions great and small, would eventually get a little annoyed if everyone marched around all day letting stinky air trumpet out of their faces. It wouldn't necessarily make conversation more difficult, but communication would take on a different sort of shape... The sort of shape that has to work its way around the regular yet unpredictable expellings of face gas.

When you're on a long distance hiking or camping trip, the first few hours are characterized by people still clinging to the general mores of civilized society. In other words: everyone's trying to just be cool, man, don't be weird. 

But the longer you stay out there the more you are able to differentiate between social rules that are legitimate (e.g., don't steal from others, don't bite others) and ones that are just unnecessary (e.g., don't eat food off the ground, don't scratch your butt). Burping is one of the latter group. There's no reason not to belch, especially if you're in the woods. Other hikers don't care, animals don't care and the trees don't care. 

The greatest is when you get one of those really satisfying belches that starts deep in your belly. You can feel the rumbling beginning like distant thunder rolling up the landscape of your torso, growing in strength and velocity until it erupts from your echoing throat tuba in pure basso profundo. You don't even need to be standing on the edge of a cliff for it to echo, this burp is so powerful that it echoes off the walls of itself.

And this is much better received when you're standing at a campfire than when you're standing at Sunday mass.

Clever Girl

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