When I returned home from a two-week European vacation with my (fairly) new beau, after the tales of our journey from London to Paris, the revelation that pigeon tastes actually not that bad, and the admittance that, oui, Paris women really are the most stylish femmes on the planet, my girlfriend, Lauren, asked me:
“OK, but you have to tell me: How did you… poo?”
Just so you know Lauren’s not into poo, or anything. I mean, I think she composts, but she’s not into scatology or those DIY fecal transplants. The reason for her inquiry into my bowel movements was in regard to a common problem that plagues many women in new relationships.
“A lot of women actually get sick during the first six weeks of the relationships because they don’t poo around their partner,” Lauren told me matter-of-factly, as if she had actually researched that sh**.
Now, for the life of Google, I could not verify her claim for the sake of this article, but I did find various blog posts and forums where various women commented that pooping is forbidden when it comes to dating. It seems when you’re in the midst of that “Everything is perfect, I’m perfect, you’re perfect” stage of a relationship, nobody poops. Or, at least, you don’t want to imagine that the area you want to do dirty things to is, well, dirrrrtttty.
Prior to my vacation, I hadn’t thought about the problem of pooping around a partner. Probably because it had never happened when I was around him. I think the closest I came to revealing an unpleasant bodily function around him was when I almost choked on a fishbone.
Truth be told, I was more concerned about revealing my 45-minute, five-lotions-applied-to-my-face nightly routine or that I get super hangry if I don’t eat every three hours. Even though going to the bathroom is perfectly natural and habitual, it didn’t even occur to me that I had to be worried about it while on our trip.
That is, until my first vacation coffee finally hit me.
Now, normally, in my regular morning routine, I would just go to the bathroom like a normal human being and do what I had to do. Obviously. But, there we were, together, in our hotel room. Sure, it was spacious, but when I entered the bathroom, I was immediately aware that a –- plunk! –- had the chance of being heard, and I freaked out. I didn’t want him to hear THAT! Those kinds of noises are private and intimate and are not to be shared with anyone except your mom and anonymous strangers in a public washroom when you really have to go, and maybe one those scatology people if they were going to pay you in pizza. But not the guy who thinks you’re beautiful and beguiling. Not him.
I hovered over the toilet, and I thought. “No, this can’t happen today,” and it didn’t. I know that was a pretty unhealthy choice of mine, resisting the call of nature and all, but I believed I was choosing dignity over dropping a deuce, and I was OK with that.
Until I had my next vacation coffee. And the next one after that. And that Greek salad. And the cheese in Paris -– OMG, the cheese! After a few days of being incommunicado with my colon, we both finally had had enough.
But I still didn’t want my beau to know. Like in those old black-and-white films, I preferred to him to think that whenever I ventured into the bathroom, I was powdering my nose.
So I devised a variety of ways to poop on the DL. Firstly, I made every attempt to go whenever he was either not in the room or asleep. Those were like bonus days. The minute he would leave and/or I woke up and noticed he was still in deep slumber, I would RACE to the bathroom, drop trou and pray to the toilet gods that my bowels and I synched up. But I wasn’t often that lucky. So, I had to come up with other ways to go in secret. Running the faucet was a good disguise for a while, but if it’s been running for over five minutes, it’s not only mighty suspicious but also a waste of water, so I couldn’t use that one a lot.
I soon discovered that lining the bottom of the toilet bowl with toilet paper silenced the drop. I turned the fan on. The minute I heard TV and/or music, I was in the bathroom like a flash, hoping and praying that it was a good time to go. I even tried –- heck, I preferred –- to attempt to poo in public bathrooms. But, here’s the thing: you don’t tell you to poo, your poo tells you. I was at the mercy of my digestion system, and because I had interfered with its natural progression, I was, well, backed up. Stuck. Yep, I was constipated. And it suuuucked.
It’s funny how life works –- the minute I was so desperate to do business out my backdoor that I wouldn’t even care if the bathroom door was open (OK, maybe I would), I couldn’t go –- for five days!
It wasn’t until we had returned from our trip and I was at his apartment, writhing around in pain so much that he asked, “What’s wrong?” when I decided to finally get real. I blurted out, “I’m constipated, OK?!” And dear reader, I can’t tell you how liberating that was to say loud and proud. It was freeing to drop the pretense of being perfect and, instead, embrace being human in front of the person who you most wanted to connect with. Because, here’s the thing: it’s our dirty little secrets that keep us together. It’s in the sharing of the Swiss Cheese sh*tshow or the Indian food farts that make us better communicators, better compadres and, yes, even better cuddlers.
After my confession, the one that I had been, literally, withholding for weeks, he simply said to me, “Relax,” and then offered me a laxative.
It might be worthy of belonging on a cheap T-shirt, but the truth of the matter is, everyone poops. So, just relax.