The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Who Told You Not to Poop in Public?

I was at Borders bookstore on Saturday, and as much as I would rather not have, it became apparent that I must use the bathroom for "number 2." I went in, hoping no one else would be there, but someone else was in a stall. I assumed the position on the toilet, and by looking at the foot action of the person next to me, I began to suspect that she was probably wrapping things up, so to speak. Maybe I could get the bathroom to myself if I could hold out for another minute or two.

I was right, and she left. Actually, with the noise created from the flushing of her toilet and then the running of water as she washed her hands, I was able to get things underway before she was all the way out of the bathroom. I wasn't experiencing any kind of catastrophe or anything like that. Just normal stuff needed to come out, and it came out in a timely manner, and then I was done. But as I sat there for about a minute or so, feeling the time crunch of not knowing when someone else might enter the bathroom, I had a flashback.

I was about 10 years old, and I was at a Bob's Big Boy restaurant with my mother and one of her friends. I had to use the bathroom, so I excused myself and went. I don't think I knew until I was sitting on the toilet that I could poop. But from that position, it became apparent that I could. It wasn't like the above experience from Saturday where I knew going in that the stuff was at the gate and ready to come out. It was more like my body said, "Oh, it's a toilet. Let's see what we can come up with." I remember sitting there, and I contemplated just getting up and returning to the table, but then I thought, "Nah, I'll just stay here and wait it out." As things took a bit of time to work their way down, I remember vaguely feeling the time crunch, but dismissing it by thinking about how long my mother could be in the bathroom at home. The woman took a book in there and it could be 20-30 minutes until she exited. So I decided that I would just stay there until things were done.

When I returned to the table 10 or 15 minutes later, my mother joked, "I was about to go see if you fell in!" Her friend laughed. I felt that I should be embarassed, but I wasn't sure why. I said, "You spend lots and lots of time in the bathroom sometimes." The smile slipped a bit from my mother's face as she glanced sideways at her friend, and then she said, "Yes, but that's at home."

And that was basically how I learned that one should not poop in public. As I washed my hands last Saturday (the bathroom still thankfully empty except for me), I wondered if everyone had an experience like the one I'd had at age 10. Did everyone need to be told? Or did most figure this out without a somewhat explicit social tip like the one I got from my mother?


  • I've never really understood why we're not supposed to poop in public restrooms. I can't tell you how many times we'll be out and about, and Rob will tell me that we have to go home NOW, because he has to poop. We all do it. We all know it happens in a toilet. So, what's the big deal?

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 3:16 PM, July 25, 2005  

  • Well, I don't know if you're not supposed to but it sure isn't a comfortable place to accomplish said business. What with the (usually sparse and hard to roll out) scratchy toilet paper and the dirty, often "sprinkly" seats and the wide open spaces between stall doors, the ambiance and hospitality leave something to be desired. And then there's the oft times empty soap dispenser, etc.... ~:^{

    By Blogger foxymama, at 5:34 PM, July 25, 2005  

  • Try taking a poop in a men's restroom. "Sprinkly" doesn't even begin to describe a toliet seat covered with layers of gummed up, days old, orangish urine and an unhealthy spattering of pubic hairs. Of course, I'm not much of a pooper to begin with. I can usually go a week or more without feeling the urge to purge.

    I'm AWESOME!

    By Blogger Dan, at 10:04 PM, July 26, 2005  

  • There's just something funny about a good poop story. I just look at public restroom usage as an adventure. You never know who you're gonna sit next to, what's going to be written on the walls, etc.

    Do you know what you call someone who never farts in public?

    A Private Tooter.

    By Blogger Wheelson, at 7:19 PM, July 28, 2005  

  • Kerrie, There's no way to argue with your logic. I don't know why it's okay at home but not out. I guess the best I can come up with is a fear of bacteria from strange people and the unpleasant smell.

    Foxy, Yes, all of that factors into it, I agree. But for me, the worst part is the audience. If left to myself in a bad bathroom, I at least feel like I can make the best of things. Adding all the factors that you mentioned to the time crunch/audience's amazing anyone can poop in public!

    Dan, You are awesome! That goes without saying, of course, but I'm always happy to hear you (read you?) saying it. Yes, mens bathrooms are disgusting. When I worked at a McDonald's when I was 14, I had to clean the mens bathroom once or twice, and I was horrified. It was all the things you described and worse. But that almost leads me to believe that mens standards are so low that they would not care about pooping in public.

    Wheelson, The one thing public restrooms have going for them is the interesting reading material on the walls. I have to admit that I'm disappointed when I find myself in one that is completely bereft of graffiti.

    By Blogger Oz, at 4:25 PM, August 01, 2005  

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