Life's all fun and games until you get an anal fissure. 

I came to this conclusion after reading The New York Times today (and the Internet giggles it inspired). The paper of record spent 969 words addressing the horrors of having small wounds on your anus, and the number of Americans who are living in fear of their next bowel movement. "Every bowel movement was painful, and the agonizing after-spasms went on for hours," Nashville's Emma Rushton, the Rosa Parks of anal fissures, told the Gray Lady. "Even when I wasn’t in actual pain, it was all I could think about. My work suffered; my life was on hold." 

The problem, as the Times points out, is that Americans are too afraid to talk about this incapacitating affliction. "Anal fissures are not exactly a topic for cocktail party conversation, and the reluctance to discuss them often leaves sufferers thinking they are the only ones affected," the Times explains.

That's some sound social advice, considering the piece includes lines like this one: 

If you’ve ever noticed bright red blood on toilet tissue or in the bowl after a bowel movement, chances are it is a small tear in the rim of the anus. Such tears are commonly mistaken for hemorrhoids, which unlike fissures don’t cause pain with bowel movements.

But that assumption, that we don't want to talk about this also shortchanges all of us. Many of us already know that bright red anal bleeding and wounds aren't exactly the kind of thing people want to talk about while making small talk. But further, it assumes that we aren't already furiously Googling, WebMDing, or perusing Internet message boards about their anal problems. 

If cocktail hour isn't the right time, then when is? Here's our handy guide about the right time talk about anal fissures:

The Anal Fissure Confidante

This is probably one of the most important things to think about when you come out of your anal fissure closet. You probably don't want to drop the A-bomb on a potential suitor that hasn't already seen you naked. Coming clean about your anal fissure might kill that potential.

Instead, find a friend who doesn't want to see you naked and vice versa. That person is the perfect person to talk about anal fissures with. You don't have to impress them, and neither does your afflicted sphincter. 

If you are in a relationship with someone and possess an anal fissure, then it's a matter of how serious the relationship is versus how serious the anal fissure is. The more frivolous the anal fissure or relationship, then the less urgency you should have in coming clean. The more serious the fissure or relationship, then the more likely your partner won't give you the fade-out. Also, if you're engaging in buggery, these rules mean nothing and it's a crap-shoot. 

The Time

Anal fissure talk is a lot to wake up to in the morning. This conversation is ideally suited for the dark of night or some Internet message board at 3 a.m.

The Place

As a courtesy to your confidante, please don't talk your anal fissure at dinner. Don't assume someone can separate a conversation about bodily functions from the chicken penang they're enjoying is a grave a mistake. Thanksgiving is also a bad idea.

Another possibility we thought of is a road trip. By hour four of any road trip, people are already tired and their inhibitions guards have sloughed off, yet as a courtesy to the driver someone must stay awake. It's a perfect time to make sure everyone is alert. And also, like a Catholic confession, you actually don't have to make eye contact with your friends when you tell them about your secret. 

The Alcohol

If you're not driving, have some on hand, and save your conversation for the fourth drink. By then, chances are your confidante will have already revealed something embarrassing about themselves, something possibly more embarrassing or debilitating than your anal wounds. 

The Aftermath

If your anal fissure talk changes your friendship, then that is a friend that wasn't worth having. 

Photo by: absolutimages via Shutterstock.