Brendan Polmer: Smoke-free is still stinky

In the heavily debated issue of smoking in public, along with the recent ban in D.C. on smoking inside restaurants, bars and clubs, one topic has yet to be addressed – flatulence.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about farts. Although I have been labeled as a “humor columnist,” I never imagined the day I would be writing with the sense of humor of a third grader. But dammit, what I’m about to say needs to be addressed, and what better place than the opinions page of The Hatchet to talk about passing gas? (Or would you rather read about the Student Association Senate or the latest antics of the GW administration?)

Ever since the smoking ban in District bars took affect over winter break, everywhere I go smells like ass. The more crowded the establishment, the more fart smells I’m bombarded with. It’s as if people somehow subconsciously turn a valve in their backside as soon as they get drunk, letting loose a collective odor so foul it would make even “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo” from South Park hold his nose.

Or maybe people know they’re farting, but don’t hold back because they think it’s so loud inside that nobody can hear their colon quack.

Maybe it’s just me, but I would much rather smell someone’s cigarette butt than their actual butt.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m no advocate for smoking. As my mother always told me when she would find cigarettes hidden in my sock drawer as a teenager, cancer runs in our family (to which I would reply, “cancer runs in everyone’s family – it’s cancer.”)

The effects of secondhand smoke are definitely real; there’s no doubt in my mind. I know this because back before the smoking ban, I used to always frequent the same bar every weekend, but not anymore. I don’t think I grew tired of it, but rather I’m no longer subconsciously addicted to the secondhand smoke that drew me in week after week. I also don’t crave cigarettes when I’m drinking anymore, simply because the smoke isn’t all around me.

But holy hell – can’t they do something about the ass smell!? Anything!? How about 50 or so Glade Plug-ins all around the place or a big fan with a guy spraying a bottle of Febreze behind it?

And then there are the concerts and dance parties. Nothing screams party more than a bunch of sweaty dudes dancing around the place, stinking up the whole joint by mixing the fart smell with body odor and cheap, fragranced deodorant. Would somebody please just light up a cigarette!? Just one! It won’t hurt, I swear!

I suppose this is a new sacrifice that we’re all going to have to be willing to make for the sake of our health, so long as we choose to drink in the District (or New York or California, for that matter). Hopefully with spring on its way, more bars will be willing to open their patios and allow their patrons to drink outside or at least in better-ventilated areas. But until then, I’m just going to keep making fart jokes.

And for the sake of all of us, please, hold it in.

-The writer, a junior majoring in journalism, is the Hatchet humor columnist. Upon his next visit to a bar, he will be armed with a bottle of Febreze and a bag full of butt plugs.

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