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Wind Burned

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 6/19/2002

Last weekend, my husband and I went camping with two of his friends and their wives. We'd only been married a few months and I didn't know these people all that well, but I was really looking forward to the trip. Well, one of the guys was constantly belching and passing gas right in front of everyone, like it was nothing. I thought it was completely rude and obnoxious, so I nicely asked him to cut it out. He acted like I was the rude one and made a point of doing it even more loudly and more often. His wife and the other woman not only didn't mind but laughed like it was a really funny joke and made me feel like an uptight bitch. My husband also said something to the guy, but it didn't make any difference, so we spent most of the weekend by ourselves. Then, on the way home, my husband was furious with me. He said I embarrassed him, ruined the trip, and I should have just let it go. I'm really upset. I can't believe my husband is angry with me or that he thought it was OK for his friend to behave like that.

Babe in the Woods
Dear Babe:
Honeybunch, you need to lighten up. Sure, his friend behaved like a lout, but for some guys that's what a camping trip is all about--they don't give a damn about the beauties of nature, they just think it's cool to pee on trees. It's a chance to throw off the constraints of polite society and let the wind break, er, blow free, so to speak. This guy probably had been looking forward to this trip for just those reasons; when you asked him, however sweetly, not to do what he had come for, of course he was annoyed. It would be the same if a friend invited you to go shopping and then got all pissy when you wanted to try on shoes.

It would have been nice of your husband to let you know in advance that farting and belching would be part of the weekend's entertainment, but he probably never thought about it and, in the interests of harmony, it would have been much more generous of you to keep your displeasure to yourself and take it up with him later. By making an issue of it, you put him in the awkward position of having to defend you against his friends, creating tension all around.

It may never come up again, but if you do get the chance to go on another camping trip with these people, leave the attitude at home. I'm not a huge fan of bathroom humor either, but in the right setting and the right frame of mind a stupid fart joke can make me pee my pants laughing.

My life totally sucks because my parents are cheapskates. They never buy me anything. I'm 15 and have been a straight-"A" student since second grade. They completely freaked out on me when I brought home a B+ on an algebra exam. I got an A on the next one, but they didn't care. When I asked for a Razor scooter for my birthday, they said it was more important to save the money for college and bought me some crummy knockoff, which was so stupid I never used it. My dad's a doctor and my mom's a lawyer, so they make big bucks. But they always buy store brands of everything because they say it's the same stuff. They even save plastic bags. All my friends have all this really cool stuff, and it's really embarrassing that I have to tell them my parents are too stingy to get me anything. Plus, my allowance is less than any of my friends. How can I make my parents give me more money?

Deprived and Depressed
Dear Deprived:
This may surprise some of my readers, but instead of ranting about what a materialistic little horror you are, I actually sympathize with you. Some. Although we didn't have money, my family lived in an affluent neighborhood when I was growing up, and I can't remember a time that I wasn't aware of the difference. I was insecure on many levels, but being broke around my relatively rich friends was unrelentingly awful. I didn't give a damn about the world's worse-off millions, and I had no appreciation for my mom's difficulties; I resented her bitterly for being unable to give me more.

Your parents, like my (I now know) wonderful mom, are doing the best they can. It may seem like small comfort now when you're so dependent on them, and you may need to laugh at them, bitch about them, mock them or despise them for the time being. Later, though, when you're earning enough dough to buy all the cool toys your heart desires because of the education they saved to give you, I'll lay odds that you will come to respect them. Meanwhile, have you thought about an after-school job? Maybe not yet, but soon, when you're 16? Not only could you earn the cash to buy yourself some of the stuff you want, if you can convince the folks you're learning the value of time and money, it might loosen their purse strings a little. It's worth a try.

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