I’m letting a family secret rip here, so mum’s the word if you run into anyone from my house. Deal?
There’s an issue I’m sure many people struggle with but few people are willing to discuss. Since I have a button on my now missing messenger bag that reads “Say what everyone else is thinking” you can believe it’s safe to assume I’m one of those people who does not have problems discussing it.Why are people afraid to poop at someone else’s house? I know I am. I know my sister is. Heck, my dad will hold it in as long as possible just so he can get back to his ivory throne in our master bath. And just so you’re all well informed, this action is called “hoarding.” I’m not joking in the slightest.Even though I suffer from this odd phobia (I’m sure along with many other people), I have no idea why. Is it because there’s an unspoken rule against spending more than 95 seconds in the bathroom? Is it because I want people to believe I have no need to rid my body of solid waste? Is it because I’m embarrassed of the smell? Heck, everyone farts and the male half of the earth thinks it’s hilarious. Why isn’t poop as funny? Is it because it’s messier? And if you mentally answered yes to that last question, did you know that air from flatulence carries tiny poop particles which is what makes it smell? (Now are farts funny?)

A few years back, there was an article published about highschool and middle school students damaging themselves from “holding it in” while they were in school all day simply because they didn’t want to use the school facilities. Actually, many studies have shown that hoarding of any sort is very very bad for you. An acquaintance of mine went nearly a week without a bowel movement while on a hiking trip because he just couldn’t relax enough without his familiar porcelain under him. The pain eventually became so excruciating he couldn’t get out of the fetal position. Hoarding can stretch out your colon, cause infection in your intestinal cells, and induce extreme constipation. And no one likes constipation. So to stay healty, if it’s time to poo…it’s time to poo.

I’d say for me personally, my biggest fear in using other people’s toilets comes from personal experiences. So I’ll buckle down and tell you one of my most utterly humiliating moments. (Hey, if Pooka can admit to picking her nose…)
When I was two, I had a kidney disorder similar to E-coli. And with my perfectly hilarious timing, it was at this age I took to stool hoarding. Maybe it was because I was just embarrassed about my excremental doings being so interesting to all the doctors. Maybe it was because I wanted to stay in my comfy hospital bed and not have a nurse accompany me to the toilet. My mother thought it was because I was too distracted and couldn’t be bothered with small things like going poop. Whatever the reason, I became a little hoarder. It didn’t do major damage, but my colon got stretched out a little bit. Not a lot. Just a little.

Fast forward 19 years. I’m 21 and on a retreat with my fellowship at a house. All of the girls are staying downstairs and all of the guys upstairs. Naturally, there are about 15 girls and one bathroom. I made it all the way to Sunday in a normal digestive pattern (using the toilets in public areas such as Fred Meyer…which for some reason I find safe…) but here we were about to embark on a nearly 3 hour tour back to the school and I had to go. Go…go. Like take a dump-poo-load go. (Now keep in mind I am telling you all of this under the understanding you will not tease me. Or I will thrash you.) So I went. I didn’t want to sit in the car in discomfort for an extended drive when I could be enjoying myself. Unfortunately, my history worked against me. Either that, or the poor toilet had been overwhelmed and decided to take it out on me. Or more literally, not take it at all. Yes. It was plugged. And by the time I was done, there was a line of my fellow women standing in the hall waiting for the facilities. I was doomed.

I considered my options. The family for some reason had no plunger in the downstairs bathroom. I was too afraid to try and flush it again – what if the toilet got even angrier and decided to overflow? There was no way I’d be able to hide that. Plus, I was a senior in college and the former president of the fellowship. I’d just have to take it like a woman. So I opened the door and told my friends (very beet faced, I might add) that they might want to move upstairs. Which they did, with many odd looks. Then I went in search of our host. He was a freshman at the time, so maybe that explains a little of what he did next. Although when I think about it, I still want to murder him. I tried to discreetly explain what happened and ask for a plunger, even volunteering to fix it myself if he got me the necessary tools. (In my house, this is a common occurrence, don’t ask me why because I don’t know, myself.) And instead of helping me out, instead of being kind and catering to the fact I’d actually had the courage to ask instead of foraging the other bathrooms for a plunger or even getting desperate enough to use the soap bottle to shove the darn thing into the hole in the bowl…he took the worst route imaginable. He marched up the stairs and proceeded to tell everyone I had clogged the toilet. In a loud loud humiliatingly loud voice. I died.

Not really, but I wanted to.

So this is why I don’t like pooping abroad. I’m terrified I’ll clog another toilet.
I’m starting to get over this fear a little bit. Which should inspire all of you who are afraid of extreme pooping. As with most things, our fears are usually a lot worse than what will really happen. Of course, you could find yourself standing over the bowl with your trousers halfway down saying “PLEASE GOD! I PROMISE TO DO ANYTHING YOU WANT IF YOU JUST MAKE IT GO DOWN THE HOLE!!!” But if everything goes smoothly, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something. Hey, everybody poops. And with the exception of the gentleman at the aforementioned house, pretty much anyone will understand if you have to come out and discreetly ask for a plunger. Trust me. Having to ask for assistance is better than a) living in agony for several hours, b) making up a lame excuse to find a public toilet to use, or c) stretching out your colon so badly that you’re guaranteed problems which will force you to carry your own plunger with you.So. Get over it. Everybody poops. I poop. You poop. My friend, Dookie, poops. My friend, Poopy, poops. Everyone on your buddy list poops. Unless you’re wierd and have SmarterChild on your buddy list. Your principal poops and your teachers poop. Cops poop. I’m sure Yoda would poop if he was real. Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton poop. President Bush and the Pope poop. Now go forth and conquer your fear. Sit down and let em have it.