Since working a nine to five job, I’ve learned a lot about human behavior. Most of the awkward exchanges I’ve had in my life have been at my various work places over the years.
There are the people you pass down the hall who make eye contact, but won’t return an “acknowledgement smile” (definition: a brief smile that replaces saying hello or hi. Often used when passing someone on the sidewalk or in a work environment. Can be accompanied with a subtle nod).
I probably give the acknowledgement smile more than actually saying hello.
The weather and weekend activities are popular topics of conversation and usually end with someone saying, “yeah, so….” and then an awkward smile.
But the crowning awkward exchanges take place in the bathroom. Now what I’ll be discussing will surround the women’s bathroom. I imagine the men’s bathroom has a whole bunch of uncomfortable situations and exchanges of their own that could be a book someone could read while sitting on the toilet at home. So let’s get right to it.
Women don’t want other people to know that they just took a poo. It’s true. And I have observed this first hand and have been guilty of doing the same on occasion. Some women will wait until the bathroom is empty before they make their exit. Then there are those who prefer the quick escape. Avoid all eye contact, wash hands, and get out. Others will desperately try to cover up any bodily noises; coughing, crumbling toilet paper.
For something that is integral to our health, it’s amazing how uncomfortable people get. Grant it, taking a crap is not a pleasant act nor does it make for good conversation (unless you’re between the ages of three and eight). But it’s something that every one does, if not, then something is medically wrong.
I’m not advocating that people start talking about their bathroom activity, but rather we shouldn’t be embarrassed because of a completely natural healthy act. You pooped, so what? The pope has probably done the same today. One should walk out of the stall like they own it. “Yeah, I just took a shit. It felt amazing. It was gross, but now I can go eat more food, Take that!”
So next time you’re in the stall and you’re planning the great escape, say, “enough of this anxiety. I am human and I poop.” Then walk out, wash your hands (please) and get back to the world that awaits you.