Editor’s Note: Each week in “Apparently This Matters,” CNN’s Jarrett Bellini applies his warped sensibilities to trending topics in social media and random items of interest on the Web.
Shreddies are a flatulence-filtering underwear made in the UK
Designer used Zorflex, activated carbon cloth traditionally used in chemical warfare suits
Bellini: They work
The other day I was engaged in a rather thoughtful conversation with one of my CNN co-workers, an Ivy League-educated, award-winning journalist who’s admired for her compassion and charm. She asked me to fart.
Now, I don’t want to embarrass this individual by sharing her name, but it was definitely Jessica Ravitz.
The conversation went like this.
Jessica: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I sort of want you to do it.”
(I fart. It was silent.)
Me: “How’s that for you?”
Jessica: “No! You didn’t!”
Me: “Oh, I did.”
Jessica: “Really? Seriously? I can’t smell a thing.”
We give each other high fives.
You see, I was wearing Shreddies, a new flatulence-filtering underwear that recently made news all over the Web. It was actually trending several weeks ago, and I was hoping to write about the product then, while it was still a big talker online.
However, I’m a serious journalist with literally hours of experience, and I felt it just wasn’t enough to simply mention that these things exist. I had to actually try them out.
So they shipped me a fresh pair from the UK. At least I hope they were fresh.
Either way, they’re not now.
Eventually, they arrived. And after a three-day trial run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, it’s finally time for a serious conversation about farts. Which is great, because it’s basically my beat.
“We’ve got breaking fart news! Bellini, you need to fly to Pittsburgh right away.”
“Will this assignment require pants?”
So, yeah, we’re talking about farts. And I apologize for nothing.
In fact, if you think this topic is gross or lowbrow, just consider some words by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In June, while speaking to an audience in Australia, he explained that, at our core, all people are the same. And then he shared this wonderful anecdote.
“When in aeroplane, sometimes this gas problem comes,” he said. “Then, you see, it is difficult to let out. So, occasionally, you see, look around, then you go like that.”
His Holiness leaned over to the side as though he was letting out a big ripper and then proceeded to laugh like a 12-year-old boy.
Because farts are funny. Even to the Dalai Lama.
Shreddies were invented by a British industrial designer named Paul O’Leary, and the name comes from a colloquial term used for underwear that originated with the British Forces. I was told that soldiers would literally shred their underwear from marching so much.
But these Shreddies are nothing like the worn and torn undies that the name suggests. Or the ones I bought from Target in 2003, which are still clinging to life.
Here, O’Leary actually worked with lingerie designers from De Montfort University’s lingerie design course (where the hell was this when I was in college?) and utilized something called Zorflex, an activated carbon cloth that has traditionally been used in chemical warfare suits.
So, basically, it’s like attaching a military-strength Brita to your butt.
Though you definitely don’t want to try this at home unless you long for an awkward conversation at the emergency room.
“… and that’s how it happened.”
“Sir, I’m not a doctor. This is the cafeteria.”
But there doesn’t appear to be anything bulky or dangerous about this Zoflex cloth, which is perfectly comfortable, sewn naturally right into the rear of the underwear. And as you release gas, the stink particles – that’s a technical term – get trapped in the magic science filter, allowing you to confidently eat all sorts of horrible things and fart in the company of friends and strangers.
Which is exactly what I did.
Day One started out like any other: sad and mired in self doubt.
But after peeling myself out of bed, I made some coffee, had a banana and drank down some dark chocolate almond milk before leaving for the office. This would be my standard breakfast throughout the experiment, a more or less healthy start to the day.
Everything else was pure terror.
We’re talking pizza and tacos and soda. And when all that wasn’t working, I thought, “Welp, a heaping pile of roast beef ought to do it.”
And it did. A little.
But, how was I to know if the Shreddies were actually working? This experiment needed a control.
So, I did what absolutely had to be done. I cupped one.
(Pause for completely unrelated question: Why don’t women like me?)
Now, for the sake of the more puritanical among our audience, I won’t go into too many more details.
Just know that the experiment was working and, over the next two and a half days, I would continue this aggressive line of eating, consuming everything from shepherd’s pie to a dank, soupy bowl of cheap fast food chili. All in the name of journalism.
And here’s the end result: These things work.
I put Shreddies through the ultimate endurance test, and they lived up to their promise. And Jessica was right there to back me up.
“I can’t say I’ve ever asked someone to fart for me, and I’m not particularly proud that I did,” she said. “But someone had to fact-check what Jarrett was doing. Thankfully, those undies work.”
I apologize for nothing.
Follow @JarrettBellini on Twitter.