Instruct me in the ancient art of SBDs.
September 14, 2007 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Instruct me in the ancient art of SBDs.

Are there any not-so-obvious tricks to pulling off a successful one cheek sneak? Do you have tips, techniques, or traditions handed down from generation to eye-watering generation? Do you have a particularly foul exercise regime? Did you step on a duck?

Here’s the deal: I’m no more flatulent than the next guy (seriously – I’m not really in need of tips on how to pass emissions), but try as I might, I seem totally incapable of a subtle presentation. I can hold it in better than most, I suspect, which at least keeps me from becoming a social pariah. But once I manage to find a private place to let her rip, the results can be spectacularly vocal. From a practical standpoint, this occasionally leads me to hold in any building pressure while I’m in public to the point of becoming quite uncomfortable. The periodic partial (downwind) valve release would be a real relief if I could only discover the secret of the whispering wind.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's all about the muffling quality of the chair you sit in. Hard surfaces reflect and amplify. The chair I have at my desk is the most effective silencer I've ever encountered. It's got a lot of cushion and is well sculpted to my butt due to a professional chair-fitting. Nothing escapes the magic chair.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:53 PM on September 14, 2007

I believe there are even charcoal-lined seat cushions available for just such occasions. A friend of mine received one as a gag gift from her husband, but I have absolutely no idea where the item was purchased...

Might help with the noise and any other, er, side effects.
posted by Womanscientist at 4:02 PM on September 14, 2007

The trick is to start letting it out before you start getting uncomfortable. Then you can control it more. When the pressure builds up for a long time, as soon as anything comes out, it's all coming out.
posted by number9dream at 4:05 PM on September 14, 2007

O to be young and trusting of farts.
posted by acorncup at 4:30 PM on September 14, 2007

This video instructs on different techniques to escape the scent, finally convening on a palatable solution. The Japanese really think of everything.
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:34 PM on September 14, 2007 [3 favorites]

Practice. Seriously. More than likely, you know the foods that will make you flatulent. If you're like me, you'll be loath to give them up, as they're some of the tastiest things in the world. So instead, pick a night -- say, Friday, so you won't have to go to work the next day -- to load up on one or several of them. The next morning, take a trip to a public area where silence is held in fairly high esteem: a library, a museum, or a coffee shop you've been wanting to put out of business. Meander around until the spirit moves you, then sit in a chair and, you know, practice.

To go with that suggestion, here's a perhaps unnecessarily graphic pro-tip: when you're about to let fly, place your weight on one cheek and shift your hips in the opposite direction. Your anus will stretch just a bit and the gas will come out more smoothly. Once you, get really good at it, it'll simply appear as if you're adjusting your posture. This has saved me public embarrassment more times than I'm willing to admit.

(There, I've just advised a stranger on how to avoid notice while farting in public. I'm beginning to feel that my internet journey is now complete. No, wait, this is a different feeling. Ahhhh.)
posted by cog_nate at 6:42 PM on September 14, 2007

Heh, I'm not sure if these are the kinds of tips you're looking for, but I'm offering them anyway...

There's two things I do. If I'm walking somewhere, alone, and need to let loose, I'll stop suddenly and do a half turn, as if I just suddenly heard a strange noise behind me and needed to take a look at what it was. This sort of half-turn stance spreads the cheeks enough so that any passing gas doesn't make a sound. It's worked for me every time. Your cheeks may vary on this one, though, dunno.

Also, if it's not a good moment to do that little trick, but it's too uncomfortable to hold it, I'll just go to the bathroom and use toilet paper to muffle the sound. It's kind of annoying to make a trip to the bathroom just for that, but man sometimes I hate holding it in, that it's worth it.
posted by Squee at 8:23 PM on September 14, 2007

Step 1: Select a chair with arm rests. Lock them at precisely 2 inches above the navel.

Step 2: Sit squarely in the chair, with good posture. Position your legs at a precise 38 degree angle.

Step 3: If right handed, lean slightly to your right, placing your spine no more then 9 degrees out of plumb. If left handed, lean to the left, but reduce the lean to 7 degrees to account for the additional length of small intestine leading down from your stomach.

Step 4: Take a deep breath, and, if possible, wait for a distraction. Do not attempt this maneuver while speaking.

Step 5: Apply precisely 7 newtons of force with your diaphragm for 0.3 seconds, then begin slightly relaxing your sphincter muscles. Too much energy or too much sphincter relaxation will likely lead to either high pitched buzzing or undesirable ejecta. Insufficient sphincter relaxation will likely cause reddening of the cheeks and ears.

Step 6: When the flatus concludes, it is critical that you do not shift position for at least 45 seconds. Unexplained shifting will reveal you as the culprit once the sulfites begin to percolate through the room.

Step 7: Remember the tagalog phrase, "Ang nag-amoy, siya rin ang gumawa." Attempts to shift blame will likely raise suspicions.

Step 8:
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:26 PM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Step 8: Blame the dog.
posted by cog_nate at 8:35 PM on September 14, 2007

Gonna have to say, do it more frequently (in a safe place if possible, of course.) I think it's a matter of gas pressure. A low pressure can bleed off silently if you just relax and let it vent by itself, no pushing. If you wait until the d/p is high, there's not much you can do.

Also, when you do it, go for the full open channel, rather than the pursed lips effect. No throttling. You want your colon open to atmosphere all the way. It's difficult to describe, but once you get it, it's repeatable. Once you can do that, you'll be surprised how it feels like you can put out a very large volume with no noise at all.

None of that is going to work if your ass is wet or sweaty. For some reason, that's always going to make a trumpet. I don't know why that is.*

Are you a reactor operator, by chance? This is typical of the disgustingly but entertainingly graphic conversation we come up with to keep us awake on the midwatch. *The key feature is the open-ended observation at the end that gives the next person room to hold forth.
posted by ctmf at 10:42 PM on September 14, 2007

Blame it on barking spiders.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:50 AM on September 15, 2007

Just chortling at Squee's "your cheeks may vary" and wonder who's going to be the first to use YCMV in future answers :-)

I'll second the half-turn maneuver as being effective, though.
posted by Lionel d'Lion at 1:32 PM on September 15, 2007

Nthing the half-turn technique. On a hard floor, the squeaking of your shoe as you swivel on it can mask some of the report, too.

Also try dropping things, if you can get the timing right. The trouble is that you then have to linger in your own cloud to pick up the dropped items, but you can hold your breath, right?

If you get the timing wrong, of course, nearby victims will have time to triangulate the source of the shockwave *before* your clipboard clatters to the floor, and it'll then appear that you let loose with such force as to surprise yourself. Of course, that may be the actual case!

Cog-nate's anus-biasing advice is sound. If you "walk" your cheeks apart with an alternating double seat shift, you can greatly reduce their tendency to slap and flutter. Just be careful not to overdo it, as too much lateral preload leads to squeaking.

I think the neglected factor here is muscle tension. You want to open the valve during a moment of minimum pressure, not maximum. Just relax and stop anticipating it so much, and let nature take its course.

Ctmf, I think the moisture in your situation reduces the effective surface texture of skin, which prevents gas from slipping between the cheeks. It's forced to "bubble" out, which results in the inevitable lack of subtlety. One possible solution would be a loose "nonwoven fabric" spacer, not unlike continuous ridge vent material, placed in the gap. Since it would keep the cheeks from adhering, and maintain some air space in any situation, there'd always be an unrestricted path to the atmosphere.

Of course, the nonwoven fabric air-gap may be achievable with liberal application of Rogaine, or suitable genetics. This could probably be verified empirically, come to think of it, but I'm not volunteering to gather the data.
posted by Myself at 2:37 AM on September 16, 2007

That's a fantastic idea, a cheek silencer. You could sew a thin, short sponge into your drawers perpendicular to the back panel.

I bet I can get someone to test it next patrol. For Science! I could make dozens of dollars hawking them on late-night TV.

I guess you could also jab a hollow tube up there, like a bic pen shell or short length of Tygon and just keep the whole thing vented all the time. No gas build-up. There would probably be unpleasant side-effects to that, though, and finding testers would be more difficult.
posted by ctmf at 10:26 AM on September 16, 2007

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