First dates are nerve-wracking enough. Will the guy be a creep? Will it be awkward? Will you get food stuck in your teeth? Will one of you forget your wallet? Now, add to that the anxiety of a little flatulence — and your potential dream date could spiral into a total nightmare, fast.
Considering most of us pass gas more than 10 times a day, this is essential strategizing, ladies. Believe it or not though, you can actually rebound from a rogue toot! Here’s how to overcome a fart on a first date and still (fingers crossed) win over your crush!
Excuse yourself momentarily
If you feel the telltale rumbling of gas of your belly about to erupt, excuse yourself to the restroom if you can. If for some reason you can’t get to a bathroom (like, if you’re on a hike or something else outside), pretend you have an urgent call and excuse yourself to take it a few yards away. Afterward, apologize profusely for taking the call and explain that your sister/great-aunt/boss never ever calls you unless it’s an emergency, and that it ended up being a butt-dial.
Comedian Greg Behrendt, author of dating bibles He’s Just Not That Into You and It’s Just A F***ing Date, got real with me, saying, "We all know that smells change the mood in a way that is visceral and they leave an impact. Wherever you are, if you feel that this is gonna be one that is potent, if it’s the two of you alone, try moving the person to someplace else if you can."
Ignore it if you can
Relationship coach and author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex, and Conflict, Tiya Cunningham-Sumter, recommends keeping mum. "If it’s the non-smelly kind, say and do nothing. Act like it never happened." If you’re in a crowded place, you can definitely pretend it didn’t happen. That sound could be anything! That smell could be the weird looking guy at the next table!
If you act oblivious and your date brings it up, you can quickly turn it around by pointing out, "I don’t smell anything, but you know what they say: whoever smelt it, dealt it."
Mask the sound
Think it’s going to be a loud one? If you can camouflage the sound of your fart, do it.
Adjust your chair, which can ostensibly make the same sound (or at least one close enough to it to be believable). Grab a tissue and fake a sneeze, or a coughing fit — then blame it on allergies, or your wine going down the wrong pipe. Tap your feet. "Accidentally" put your glass down a little harder than normal. Pretend to drop your fork on your plate so it clangs a little bit. Laugh a little more loudly at your date’s jokes. If you’re at the movies, wait for a noisy scene. Out in public? Head to a louder area of wherever you are. Do whatever you can to drown out the sound of your toot!
Hide the smell
Relationship coach Cunningham-Sumter has a genius way to potentially cover up the odor of a fart on a first date: pretend to be a germaphobe for a moment. "If it is the smelly kind [of fart], pull out your hand sanitizer, soak your hands in it and wave your hands, so they air dry," she recommends. "This will allow the sanitizer smell to fill the air instead of your butt air."
Lotion or body spray will also work, notes professional matchmaker Nefertari Nelson, who says, "I would immediately neutralize the odor with some handy body spray. Men may be able to handle the sound and the actual event but we all know the smell will haunt him forever!"
Use the Shaggy defense
"It wasn’t me!" Your crush may claim to have heard, smelled, or even somehow seen you fart. Now, no pun intended, it’s time to gaslight them: it wasn’t you. No matter what, it wasn’t you. Hey, maybe they’re just insanely projecting their own gastrointestinal insecurities onto you.
And there’s a legit reason to plead the Fifth. According to gastrointestinal studies by researcher Micheal Levitt, women’s farts pack more hydrogen sulfide, meaning they typically smell worse than the male strain. So, no need to throw in the towel just yet! But make sure you don’t ever dodge this again throughout the course of your relationship, because — well, in any other scenario, it’s pretty evil and potentially mentally abusive.
Own up to it
Marriage, sex, and relationship therapist Courtney Geter insists that honesty is the best policy, even when it’s awkward. "I never recommend lying to anyone else, especially if it’s for certain you farted," Geter warns. "Yeah, in a dark and crowded movie theater you can pretend it was the person in front of you or the baby behind you. However, there are some times when denying is just not possible. Now, you not only become the person who farted on a date, but also the person who can’t tell the truth! Not a good way to start a relationship off."
Comedian Behrendt agrees, noting, "If you’re sitting there and you know it was awful and you don’t acknowledge it, and the other person knows it was you, that’s weird."
Maintain a sense of humor
There’s a lot that’s funny about this. And, if it all works out, you’ll have a pretty amusing story to tell your grandkids someday. If there’s absolutely no denying that you’re the one who cut the cheese, break the tension and awkwardness with a joke. Psychologist Helen Odessky has a good, down-to-earth response, "Glad we got that out of the way — we can both pretend to be human now!" Relationship coach and MD Dr. Mo’s line of choice is, "I’m clearly comfortable with you — that’s grounds for a second date already!" Dating and relationship coach Christine Baumgartner suggests saying, "I bet you’re relieved I went first!" And I’ll let you snag my personal favorite, "Believe it or not, that’s actually a mating call for some species. Is it working?"
Behrendt strongly recommends cracking up at your cutting the cheese. "If you’re on a first date and things are as heightened as they are, that sound’s gonna change the mood of whatever’s happening," he told me. "It’s gonna really change the focus of whatever’s going on — unless you’re laughing. If you’re laughing and then you fart, and you keep laughing — a laughing fart is forgivable, especially if that person’s making you laugh and they make you laugh until you fart. That’s almost a meet-cute!" He added, "Own it and say [jokingly], ‘Oh my God, I just farted, so we don’t have to see each other anymore. I accept that it’s over.’ Acknowledge it and be funny about it."
Alternatively, if you’re shy, or don’t have the best comedic delivery, you can also just try to blush and giggle demurely because you’re just so cute!
Don’t freak out if he farts, either
The very fact that you’re reading this implies that you’re human and concerned about what would happened if you passed gas on a date. You’d never do it on purpose, and chances are neither would your date (unless you’re both into that sort of thing), so don’t hold it against him.
If he farts, ignore it, as Miss Manners herself recommends it’s only polite if passing gas goes unmentioned. If you can’t, or if he’s visibly flustered about it, say something like, "What?! You’re actually human? What a relief!" Then move it right along, unless you want some really bad intestinal karma.
Don’t sweat it if he’s a jerk
Clinical psychologist and author of Not Lonely At The Top, Dr. Mark E. Sharp, advises that if your date freaks out over a fart, he probably isn’t "the one" anyway. "Might it ruin the date or chances for a second date? Sure. But you’ve got to ask yourself if you really want to date a guy who would use that as a reason not to date you," he noted. "Do you really want to date someone who can’t admit that everybody is human and subject to certain biological realities? No. You need someone who can accept you as a real person. And real people fart." Dating expert Alison Blackman agrees, saying, "If you fart and your date smirks or calls you out on it, she or he is probably a jerk, or immature, or socially awkward."
Therapist Geter says you may literally want to go with your gut in terms of gas on a date — especially if your date is a jerk about it. "You never know," she said. "Maybe your digestive system realized this person is not long term material and is just giving a girl a hand (or whiff of fresh air!) to get her out of a horrible date!"
Behrendt concurred, "Some people are not going to be able to accept your gas at this early stage. Some people, it will be one in a series of things they’re using in a decision about whether or not they want to see you again." And if he doesn’t call you because of one toot? Well, chances are he’s just not that into you — and sooner or later you’ll find someone who is!
Prevent it from happening again
Dr. Lawrence R. Kosinski, a spokesman for the American Gastroenterological Association, says that if you’re concerned about getting gas (on a date or otherwise), you can avoid trigger foods, including beans, lentils, dairy, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, high-fiber foods like bran, whole wheat, starch-heavy foods, fruits, fructose, and the artificial sweetener sorbitol. Drinking carbonated beverages, eating too quickly, and chewing gum can cause you to swallow air, which can also lead to gas. Unfortunately, if you avoid all these things, you may end up starving to death.
What to do now? Exercise can reduce gas and bloating, and popping an over-the-counter remedy, like Beano or Pepto Bismol, can keep your nervous stomach from betraying your first date jitters. What also helps? Trying to relax, because stress can also make you swallow more air than usual. "Often people aren’t even aware that they’re gulping down air," Dr. Kosinski explained to WebMD. "If you’re feeling anxious or [are] under a lot of stress, look for ways to relax. Or talk to your doctor about stress reduction techniques."
Now go fart — er, forth — and conquer the man of your dreams!