The “Pucker Factor” (PF) is a scale that seeks to measure fear by the force of contraction exerted on the sphincter muscles surrounding the anus during a given situation of danger. The scale is from 1 to 10.

1 is the normal level, while a 10 Pucker, or PF10, is an anal contraction so strong that it’s audible within a 2-meter radius. It is said to sound like a door being slammed. A 10 Pucker is also said to cause popping in the ears because of the sudden change of internal pressure within the body. Depending upon the danger of the stimulus encountered, a Pucker condition can persist for hours, days, or even weeks, causing constipation, irritation, and other symptoms that vary by subject. A permanent state of 10 Pucker is known to exist in certain people. They are commonly referred to in the military as “Tight Asses,” and in spite of their chronic condition, are afforded little sympathy.

There is also a pre-Pucker in which a tingling sensation is felt in the rectal area in the moments prior to extreme danger or in anticipation of it. Persons who put too much hot sauce on their MREs will also experience this sensation as the body prepares itself for an explosive, flaming bowel movement. If pre-pucker tingling is experienced when you look at one of your squad mates, you are advised to go and see the Chaplain immediately. (This has been superseded by the repeal of Title 10, United States Code, Section 654, known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) NAVADMIN 271/11)

A “Pucker” is also expressed as a unit of measure in the scale, as in “What was your Pucker on that one? Mine was about a 6.”

The Pucker Factor is believed to affect decision-making abilities in military personnel. A low PF in a high-danger environment is generally considered to be a symptom of Psychosis as it suggests an inappropriate human response to danger. In some persons, a high PF can induce a state of mental and physical paralysis, or “Vapor Lock,” where the person is incapable of thought, action, or movement until the PF returns to normal. People able to function consistently at PF10 are usually awarded medals for bravery at some point.

A 10 Pucker(PF10) is often expressed in euphemism, as in, “I had a pucker so tight you couldn’t pound a greased BB into my ass with a ten-pound sledgehammer.” In general use, euphemistic expressions of the Pucker Factor are only used at the top of the scale. The scale is believed to have originated in the aviation community of the armed forces and was later adopted by ground units.

What was your worst PF?

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