An Open Letter To The Person Pooping Quietly In The Public Bathroom Stall Next To Me

Dear person pooping quietly in the public bathroom stall next to me,

Please don’t feel ashamed. I know. I get it. You’re a person and I’m a person, and as fellow people you and I are both aware that taking a poop in a public bathroom is mildly traumatizing. The ever-present threat of somebody hearing the poop. The constant paranoia of facing the other person in the bathroom when you leave the stall.

But really, I just want to say, go for it. Poop your heart out. Poop like there’s no tomorrow. Poop like nobody’s watching. I mean that. I don’t care if it’s the biggest poop in the history of poops, I promise I won’t think badly of you.

When I was being potty-trained, my mom borrowed a book from the library called “Everybody Poops.” The premise was just that: everybody, everybody poops. Though 75% of me knew that already, the remaining 25% was inexplicably awed that pooping is something that every single person and animal to ever exist does everyday (or multiple times a day, for the overachievers among us) and yet people are still embarrassed to poop in the vicinity of others.

And alas, despite my sympathy with a pooping stranger, I must admit similar shame in a public restroom poop. This is an obstacle I and many others battle every day.

There are a few solutions to this issue. First, and perhaps most obviously, is to hold it. Though not always feasible considering the length of time one will be out of the house, this tends to be the most common route taken.

Second is to take the leap and take a poop. In high school, I learned of a group of people (who I can only hope operated as a secret adventurous poopers society, though I will never truly know) who would poop in school, solely for the thrill of it. The apprehension about a classmate walking into the bathroom at any given moment was their equivalent to cliff diving or street luge. A sort of extreme sport of the bowels.

The third option is one that I’ve only ever witnessed by very small children and old people: shameless pooping. In this form, the person poops in the public restroom regardless of how many people are present, fearlessly. This is the pooping method we should strive for. It truly shows self-actualization and confidence, which perhaps is why it is generally only achieved by the supremely innocent and the old and wise.

Poop is weird. We all do it, and we all know we do it. We are all united in this bodily function, and yet we allow it to isolate us. As a human race, we must come together and banish our shame. One for all. All for poop.

Best,
The girl in the public bathroom stall next to you while you were pooping

P.S. I hope you had a nice poop. TC mark

image – Terry Johnston

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

    This might be the best piece I’ve ever read on TC. The pooping is never an issue for me, it’s the audible gas and occasional stench that emits from my butthole that makes me self-conscious. 

  • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

    This might be the best piece I’ve ever read on TC. The pooping is never an issue for me, it’s the audible gas and occasional stench that emits from my butthole that makes me self-conscious. 

  • Guest

    this is genius

  • Katgeorge

    YES YES YES!!!!

    • Asdf

      Coincidentally that is what I yell when I am pooping.

  • Anonymous

    HAHA YES. i wish i wrote this. i call these people “silent shitters”.

  • your cousin

    When I just walked into my office restroom, all 4 doors were shut and everyone was silent. They were waiting each other out. That’s a game that no one wins.

    • Bandaloop

      In the Game of Thrones, you poop or you die.

  • http://fazed-girl.blogspot.com Samantha

    I’m ugly-laughing. This is excellent. Also going to use this space to admit that I was constipated for my first two days of college because our co-ed (gender neutral) bathrooms gave me paralyzing performance anxiety. But now I can poop almost anywhere. Thanks, higher education!

    • Anonymous

      Co-ed!?

      • http://fazed-girl.blogspot.com Samantha

        Nothing says welcome to UC Berkeley like your first successful poop.

    • Syd

      At freshman orientation, each of our RA’s were asked to share a bit of advice with us that they wish they had known when starting dorm life. One stepped forward and proclaimed, “Everyone poops. Don’t be ashamed.” Definitely the most valuable bit of knowledge I have gained at my ivy league school.

  • http://fazed-girl.blogspot.com Samantha

    I’m ugly-laughing. This is excellent. Also going to use this space to admit that I was constipated for my first two days of college because our co-ed (gender neutral) bathrooms gave me paralyzing performance anxiety. But now I can poop almost anywhere. Thanks, higher education!

  • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

    I take this to the other extreme and never close the door when defecating in a public toilet stall.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      I’ll one up you and poop in the sink. I’ll take pics. I know how people call others out on these things if there aren’t any pictures.

  • DE

    Does anyone do the thing where they poop when somebody flushes so it covers the noise? I’ve employed that technique for years.

    • Kait

      I call that the “courtesy flush”

    • BYUASU

      We call it “tailgating.”

    • http://twitter.com/melvinismad Melvin Alvarez

      that is not eco-friendly!

  • Anonymous

    I need to post this in my office bathroom.

  • C.

    This should also be a “letter to the person holding their poop when I walk into the public bathroom and waiting for me to leave”

    When this happens, I always take my time. I know what you’re doing. Just be a (wo)man and DO IT. I just want to scream “I’M A NURSE AND I’VE HEARD/SEEN WAY WORSE”

  • Syd

    Once when I was stopped at a rest stop bathroom a woman came in with her son who looked to be about 3 years old. While all of us weary travelers were seated upon our porcelain thrones, someone in a nearby stall passed some particularly noisy gas. The little boy immediately shouted, “Mommy, someone POOTED!” Everyone laughed so much that it created the perfect noise barrier to really let loose. It was a sensational symphony of shits.

  • http://twitter.com/kyleangeletti Kyle Angeletti

    Proud shameless pooper.

    Good read! 

  • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

    i can’t say 100% that my love of outback steakhouse is not at least 40% as strong because of the fact they play music in their bathrooms.

    and the fact that that, come on, it’s impossible to eat a bloomin’ onion without taking advantage of said bathrooms.

  • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

    i can’t say 100% that my love of outback steakhouse is not at least 40% as strong because of the fact they play music in their bathrooms.

    and the fact that that, come on, it’s impossible to eat a bloomin’ onion without taking advantage of said bathrooms.

  • http://www.onemoresalute.com One More Salute to Vanity

    ” Poop like nobody’s watching.”

    Poop like you’re never get hurt.

  • Nickjunk6

    Did you write this while pooping?

    • Jrein93

      Unfortunately not, but I can tell you that the idea was conceived in a bathroom in the Container Store when I walked in and realized almost immediately I had misaligned someone’s pooping chakras. I strongly considered pooping despite my lack of need to do so, just to make said person comfortable. I refrained because, as stated in this letter, I became far too poop-shy. It is a vicious cycle, a poop-22. I still feel bad about interrupting this person when all she wanted to do was take a poop and go back to buying more plastic stackable shelves.

  • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

    Is this our punishment (or “back-down-to-earth” reminder) for enjoying the new Douglas Lain article…?

  • Perksofliving

    I’ve never felt happier, or laughed as much, while reading an article about poop. For some reason I found this mildly inspirational.

  • Josh Friedensohn

    textswhilepooping.blogspot.com

    Welcome.

  • Anonymous

    My old roommate showed me and a few of my girlfriends this video called “Cake Farts” a while back. It’s about exactly what it sounds like–a girl farting on a sheet cake. That night, the girls who watched it and I went out to a bar and were in the bathroom together. This middle-aged woman was in the stall while we were at the mirror and she let out a particularly robust fart. One of my friends just yells, “Cake farts!!” before she could stop herself and we all erupted into maniacal, uncontrollable laughter. We all felt very, very badly about it and considered finding the woman and formally apologizing. I know we shelved that woman’s public pooping career, and it’s hard to live with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nattusmith Natt Smith

    The worst is when you’re next to a person in the stall and you know they need to poop and you need to poop and you’re both sitting there in silence waiting for someone to make the first move and no one does.  Awkward.  

  • Sophia

    This article seems so strange, until you realize that you identify with every word of it.

  • TO

    I  think the key to pooping in public is to blur out the actual sounds of the process.  I’d be listening to music on my ipod while studying in the library when I would have the urge to poop.  I shuffle on over to the bathroom and while still listening to my music, I would just let go.  I didn’t hear a thing.  Didn’t hear myself, didn’t hear other people, I wasn’t even AS tempted to look under the stalls around me to see if anyone was around. It was grand, actually.

    • Father_doc

       in japan the toilets play ocean sounds or forest sounds to mask the pooping sounds.

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