Alright ladies, I think it's time we had a talk. This might not be easy for everyone, somewhere on the comfort continuum between waxing your upper lip and a dirty neon-colored thong falling out the leg of your pants at your in-law's Easter dinner, but it's going to be worth it. Plomise.
Here's some groundbreaking news from the front lines of science, gird thy loins: Humans go to the bathroom to make waste. Sometimes a private toilet is unavailable, and the aforementioned bathroom is of the shared variety. Unfortunately for women everywhere, this means wading out into the shark-infested waters of doing a poo with other people around.
Men, I know you're shrugging your shoulders right now saying, "What the hell are you talking about? OF COURSE YOU SHIT IN THE BATHROOM. YOU JUST GO IN AND–" Ha ha ha ha, how little you know of the female condition. Men go into the bathroom, drop their pants, and brazenly unleash a flurry of trumpet calls into the atmosphere. Then they laugh and gingerly touch the tips of their willies in the traditional a tribal high-five. "D'ja hear that one? SPICY CHILI ENCHILADAS, BRO." "I KNOW RIGHT? CHEERS."
As a thirty-year-old woman, do you know how many times I have heard another woman release a fart from the prison of her bowels into the terrifying silence of a shared bathroom? Maybe eight or ten cumulative farts in my lifetime, tops. And they were all accidental squeakers.
It's true. The ladies? They have ISSUES with the bathroom, capital I. They also watch the Bachelor. We're baffling creatures. Like wearing a green shirt with a red sweater, few women can truly 'Let It Go' with social impunity. On the other hand, we have boobs and stuff and that's pretty great. Nature's a complex system of checks and balances.
For you free-wheeling easy-dealing types, let me explain how things work in the rest of the world, particularly for those of us trapped in an office, negotiating the same ol' slops day after day:
When one enters a commonly shared bathroom on the highway to Shit City, and observes that the bathroom is EMPTY, one must raise the arms above the head in a cheer of ultimate triumph before making a hasty b-line to the stall of choice.
If, once one is firmly ensconced on the throne and engaged in ruling the nation, a challenger enters the arena, it is their unspoken duty to do their activities as quickly as possible and vacate the area so that you, the chosen one, may continue swinging the royal scepter at your leisure.
So it is not exactly written anywhere, but so it shall be done.
If the challenger deviates from this rule, A Poop-Off* is born. The challenger, driven by what I can only assume is a BLIND MADNESS, makes the decision to try to out-wait the chosen one, who has already both physically and metaphorically marked her territory.
A painful, extended silence immediately follows, where both parties attempt to actively not poop or sneak out a covert ops poop hidden by shoe shuffling and toilet paper sounds, leading to general misery, awkwardness, and occasionally, silent sobs.
No one likes it when this happens; bad feelings all around. The tension is as thick as dat fat ass!
It is instinctual for the chosen one to look upon this interloper with extreme hostility. The person who was there first does not want to give up their rights as primary stall-holder. However as an added complication to an already fraught social dynamic, they will also not continue to do the dew in the presence of the challenger, because FEMALE BUTT-POLITENESS TERROR.
A Poop-Off typically results in one of three outcomes: (a) The challenger waits, but is forced to slink away in defeat, HUZZAH! (b) The challenger waits, and the chosen one gets fed up and abdicates the throne, womp womp. (c) The challenger is a brazen hussy who lets one loose with strangers listening and everything oh my god can you believe she just MADE A POOP and I HEARD IT?!
I can. I can believe it. I had a boss like that once, who would cheerfully pop into the bathroom no matter who or what was going on, sail the brown tides as the wild wind howled, and pop back out to say, "Oh hi, Jamie!" and wash her hands without a trace of shame or sadness. I wanted to hate her but I couldn't, because I wanted to BE her. Oh light, through yonder unencumbered bathroom window breaks! Ye are the East, and I am trapped in the repressed misery of the West!
*Your Poop-Off mileage may vary based on your own shy sphincter, whether or not you are likely to run into the challenger at the water cooler later (if ever), how often your fourth nanny told you 'breaking wind' was the worst shame imaginable go stand in the corner, or if you're one of those people who absolutely refuse to bake biscuits in public and wait until you drive all. the way. home. to preheat the oven with the lights off under a camouflage blanket, bless your poor patient heart.
See what you're missing out on, dudes? It's a carnival of fun! Get your tickets and step right up! Experience shame, humiliation, relief, and sorrow in a matter of seconds!
Completely unnecessary toilet politics aside, my new (relatively speaking) place of employment has a cast of several hundred, with only two shared rooms-of-rest between the lot of us. At any given moment of the work day, the facilities are likely to be busier than a cattle stampede on a Sunday. As a result, I have experienced a life-changing epiphany that has shaken me to my core. Ladies, this is big news that can—and will—change your life:
Stop worrying and make a goddamn fart.
If you have NO CHOICE but to shuck the corn in a crowded barnyard, if the option of ever, ever, ever being alone in the bathroom is just a forgotten dream from a distant office land in a parallel universe... you know what happens? Eventually you get over it and just go to the freaking bathroom. People, this too can be YOUR new reality.
Here, I'll help walk you through it:
1.) Walk to the bathroom.
2.) Ignore everyone or don't. Your call. Hey Susan.
3.) Kick the litter. If it makes a sound, who the fuck cares!
4.) Wash your hands. Always wash your hands. Yes, we notice if you don't wash your hands Yes, we all notice when you only run them under the water for .03 seconds. Yes, I keep a list in my front pocket.
5.) Go back to what you were doing. Fín.
We say "everyone poops" and then we all laugh, but have you really thought about what that means? The state of 'everyone farts' automatically eliminates any person from judging another on their farts, unless their farts are really freaking weird in which case I suggest you voice record it with your phone so you can text it to your friends later.
What happens if someone hears your butt make a sound? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Desperately trying to hold in your bowel sounds? A thousand times more painful than the awkward agony of having to hear someone else make a fart in the bathroom.
If you ease into the pee-stream because you're scared of the accidental fart— if you sit in silence, desperately praying for the person in the stall next to you to go away so you can uncan the soup— if you're shamefaced and embarrassed to come out of the stall because one slipped past the goalie in overtime— STOP.
Ladies: Yes, of course it's difficult to overcome years of FEMALE BUTT-POLITENESS TERROR, but no one gets to judge you for the bathroom sounds you make in the bathroom, the ONE PLACE made SPECIFICALLY for you to make sounds WITH YOUR BUTT. If you're in the hallway, yes, I get to point and laugh. But if you're in the bathroom, I release you from all promises freely given.
Stop worrying and make a goddamn fart.
Thank you goodnight.