Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Unravelling life's mysteries

I had an epiphany the other day as we drove to get our Christmas tree. I finally understood a mystery I have been contemplating for about fifteen years now. Let me explain.

One night when I was just out of college, a huge group of us were sleeping in a small mountain cabin in Austria. Boys on one side, girls on the other, so we could hear them. The entire trip, the guys had been reveling us with details of their late night shenanigans. Extraordinary accomplishments in the art of blue flames, an exemplary extra loud fart, feces in the toilet that were particularly fascinating.

The night we were all together, the guys just could not stop farting and laughing. It seemed to go on for hours and they laughed harder and harder.

**Warning: Graphic potty humor abounds below. And some huge sex stereotyping. Stop now if that last paragraph grossed you out.**

I remember lying there thinking to myself "Its not that its gross or anything. It just really isn't that funny. I have absolutely no idea why they are laughing so hard. NO IDEA." It has haunted me ever since then - why do guys think "potty humor" is so hilarious? What gives the toot its comedy power?

As I had babies and became surrounded by poo 24 hours a day, I did find humor in how bizarre it was - potty training Saben was definitely not something I was even remotely prepared for.

I also remember thinking how funny it was that most women/moms are not that grossed out by their baby's poo & toots - but often the dad really struggles with it and grimaces every time they change a diaper. I mean, it is gross, but I feel pretty much over it - its poo, what else is new?

So the mystery deepened - guys think poo & farts are soooo funny and spend their adolescent years taunting us with it, but when it comes down to it, it seems like moms handle the reality of it much better than dads.

Seeing how I don't really find poo & toots funny or all that gross, I figured I'd have no problem at all being one of those moms who just goes along with the kid's potty humor. No stifling giggles, my dream was to be matter of fact & honest about it, laugh sometimes, but no big deal. You know, the cool mom.

Then Kyle taught my sweet innocent 3 year old to call his poo "logs". And to say "take a monster dump". And I'll admit, I cringed. I told him to knock it off. I mean, I'm accepting of it and all, but seriously, does he have to start him in at such a young age? But for some mysterious reason, it stuck and Saben still always uses those phrases....

So we're on our way to get our Christmas tree this year, and Saben and Kyle were singing the song "Jingle Poop". (Jingle bells with poop instead of bells) I don't even remember which one of them started it, but I cringed again and told Kyle to knock it off. Its CHRISTMAS and we're getting our CHRISTMAS TREE. Please stop singing about POOP!

And guess what. They laughed harder. And harder. Every time I made the slightest response, it got funnier and funnier. And suddenly it hit me, the only thing funny about poop for boys is that from the very first potty joke they remember, mom has told them knock it off. It is pure rebellion, and its hilarious to watch mom get mad.

Potty humor has no comedy on its own, or at least a very limited amount. But throw in someone (most likely a woman) getting angry, embarrassed or fed up, and suddenly it is very funny indeed. And its not that women are grossed out by potty humor, its just so STUPID that they often don't see the humor in it. Because the humor is actually themselves & their reaction. Its a vicious cycle, and I am not sure its a war you can win.

Even if you think you are fine and cool about potty humor, your husband and son's main goals in life will be to push the edges of poo comedy as far as they can until they get a rise out of you. Because even if your husband says he wants you to be cool with it, what he really wants is for you to tell him to knock it off. And he will go to any length to get that response. The cooler you are, the more hideous things your husband will teach your son, until you finally break.

So really, you might as well just be mean, and make them stop at the first outbreak. Not sure it will help, but worth a try. Consider yourself warned.

Yes, I know girls laugh about poo too, (I certainly do on occasion) but much more fun to complain about men and pretend its all their fault.


Kelsie said...

AWESOME! I loved this post. And I must say I find the "logs" and "monster dump" rather hilarious, but probably only because those phrases are being said by YOUR husband and child, not mine. :o)

Poks said...

Hmmm, I thought you almost had it there at the beginning, then you lost me. I myself find potty humour to be very funny. Often, when I am having an inner monologue and poop comes up, I will be amused and smirk. If I am caught by a female that I know would disaprove that asks me what is so funny, I lie out of shame. I will say something like "there is food stuck in your teeth" to distract them. You almost hit on it at the beginning. Women have an innate acceptance of it, while men are not capable of being serious. When I change diapers, my wife accuses me of being overly dramatic. Your thesis is lacking the fact that you have not observed men joking about it in the absence of women. Yes, making you mad has an effect, but it is simply adding to the base that is potty humour. Both Robin and I think "Monster dump" and "logs" is hilarious, but when I say "Riley crapped his pants" or "is pinching a grumpy", she corrects me. It must not be as funny for women when it is their kid.

Kari said...

There are flaws in your arguement as well. I still argue that you only find it funny, even when you are alone, because you know if your mom heard what you were thinking, she'd disapprove.

The woman doesn't actually have to be there, and you might hide it from certain women. But you know its a taboo subject and it would make your wife/mom grimace, so it is just that much funnier.

I would also laugh if someone elses' kid said "monster dump" and yes, it is different when your own husband is teaching your innocent child such language. At such a young age. Sigh.

toddv said...

So, I was writing up a comment to this which tried to draw an analogy between what you are saying and a really gross poop story. After writing it, I read back over all of the graphic details I had added and thought, "do I really want this comment on a blog my mom reads?" and deleted it.

So, I guess the moral of the story is, it gets better someday... it might just take 30 years. :)

Jenny said...

Wow, you really hit a nerve with some male readers! ;)

I think poop & toots are funny when the male is a baby and child...but it's just gross when they're an adult. And I hate the double standard...most men can't stand the idea of a woman pooping or tooting (not that we do that or anything).

Well written, Kari!