This is an unsavoury topic, a woman discussing defecation. I get it! I come from a family where we never discussed anything, especially bathroom habits, so I understand that not everyone thinks it’s an acceptable talking point. There are many things that women do that may not fit into the ideal image of the perfect woman. We’re all born with the same digestive systems and guess what! These systems were all made for the same thing. Walkin! Just kidding. I meant pooping, they were made for poopin’.
A few years ago when I was a receptionist, one of the girls from accounts (let’s call her Chelsea) came out to my desk and watched the hallway where the ladies bathroom was located.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Oh my god!” Chelsea starts excitedly, “When I was in the loo just now, someone came in and started like… you know… going! It sounded SO GROSS! So I just want to see who it was.” she waited by my desk until the “perpetrator” exited the bathroom.
There were many times in that office when I felt like picking up a ream of paper and throwing it at Chelsea’s head. She had not been a favourite work acquaintance of mine, I could list all of the reasons I didn’t like her but the fact is; I didn’t like her. Dislike turned into something more in this moment, she was now acting like a cruel person. What was her intention? To see who it was that needed the bathroom and tell everyone “whatshername just did a poop!”
She pooped? In public? Heathen! Witch! Does she not know the laws for women? (‘Woman shall not poop in public… because it is foul and women are not to be associated with foul actions’)
The truth is, I’m afraid of bathrooms that are not my own because of people like Chelsea who deliberately wait to see who had the audacity to relieve themselves in the workplace bathrooms.
I won’t bore you with every story of how I have suddenly left a friends house and driven 30 minutes home. Or that when I worked for myself, I would close up my shop and speed home. Or how I would make my partner go to a different part of the house. Or that I would drive to a friends house when there were too many people at my parent’s home when I was home for Christmas.
I won’t bore you with those stories because they are infinite and weaved into my life so constantly that they are barely stand-alone stories, but a habit that doesn’t warrant special mention.
The fact remains — everybody poops. It’s natural! It’s healthy! It’s wonderful that everyone does it! We are young, free and with westernised plumbing and working bowels, let’s take advantage of it! Next time you think to yourself ‘no… I cannot possibly go to the bathroom at work… someone could hear me! What if someone walks in and shouts “GOOD LORD WHAT IS THAT SMELL? IS THERE SOMEONE IN HERE CURRENTLY DEFECATING? REVEAL YOURSELF YOU WEIRDO!”
Next time those thoughts happen, think of the detrimental health concerns that could occur if you don’t allow yourself to “go” when you need to. Think of the risk of constipation, which could lead to other afflictions. Think of people who needed sections of their bowels removed due to illness. Think of the people who don’t even have the luxury of a toilet!
Going to the bathroom every day is a sign of good health. And imagine how mentally healthy you could be if you didn’t have a mini panic attack during your work hours. You know the one I’m talking about, you’ve just had your morning coffee and suddenly there is a movement below deck and a metaphorical small bead of sweat runs down your face as you realize what is going to happen. Your bowels are on the move and you know you must heed their rumbling call. What if someone comes in? Can I hold off until I get home? A mental calculation of what time it is, when you finish work and travel time. But just as the 1998 hit single Shimmer goes… it’s too far away for me to hold.
We need to start believing in the idea that it’s okay to go to the bathroom even when we’re not at home. I’m not saying we need to start charging out of bathrooms and telling all who will listen “hey guess what I just did in there!” or just letting it rip the second you sit down, knowing full well there is someone in the stall next to you. C’mon ladies, let’s lose the stigma of needing to relieve ourselves regardless of where we are. Yes. I have heard someone go to the bathroom before, it was uneventful. If I distributed a newspaper every day, this event wouldn’t make the front page, it wouldn’t even make the cut.
I can count the number of times I have used another bathroom for something other than #1 because I message my bffs and tell them about it, who in turn reply and congratulate me for being brave. “Ladies, I did it, I *poop emoji* at work.” And I didn’t even die.