Office Bathrooms: Confessions Of A Modern Day Assaphobe

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My name is Michael, and I am an Assaphobe.

It should be said that “Parcopresis” is the actual term for “a fear of public pooping,” the affliction with which I so greatly suffer. However, I have been referring to my syndrome as “assaphobia” for so long, we are going to stick with the term – after all, it is so important for people like me to be comfortable.

Just to be clear, this is an ass issue. I am not threatened by clean public restrooms (meaning they’ve never been used). Rather, I am terrified by the excrement of others – moreover, the revolting disgust associated therewith. In short, and with very few exceptions (Jessica Alba, 2003) – I hate your assholes and what they do. In fact, I hate mine as well.

Certainly, I am not alone. The thought of squatting in a public facility must be paralyzing to more than just me (by God, there’s a whole phobia named after it) – even if we must suffer in relative ambiguity. You see, there’s only one thing an assaphobe detests more than pooping publicly, and that is discussing their poop habits with others (and yes, others’ poop habits with them). I mean fuck off, please, seriously. (I am typing with a blanket pulled over my head to make me feel secure and it’s barely helping.)

Sure, public restroom pooping is something we all must face at some point — even assaphobes. You see, no matter how repulsive we find the thought of a bowel movement in a high-traffic public restroom is, so it goes with pants shitting, “wet gas,” and the like. There is some truth to the adage “nature calls.”

As an adult, I have shit my pants just once … it happened in my late 20s. It was June. I was in my car waiting in the left turn lane at a traffic light – the mere distance of one unraveled TP roll away from my own, pristine apartment toilet. I let out what I thought to be a “scout” fart, and well, you can guess the rest.

How do I explain the poor timing?

It was simply a dastardly result of my own unwillingness to pull over at myriad possible dumping sites along the way home.

Lesson learned. There had to be another way.

My solution (to be fully detailed later) first began to take shape when I worked in the resort industry. Yes, the right slider card (coupled with server access to the housekeeping log), meant carte blanche to christening some of the world’s cleanest toilets – think “Presidential Suite Throne” just minutes after white-glove-assisted disinfecting. Shitters paradise, I kid you not. But, you weren’t always in the right department for that kind of access. And most of us, outside the hallowed walls known only to resort universal-key card bearers, will likely never know such Assvana.

So then what?

As they say, desperation is the mother of invention. I already knew I didn’t want to crap in the employee locker room. Fuck that. That is fucking disgusting. Locker room shitting is deplorable. This required some serious contemplation.

At night, the ballroom bathrooms are wrecked, or at least they could be if there’s a function. The same can be said for restaurants and other high traffic area on-property facilities. But, what about at 8 a.m…Hmmmm?

Sure, there might be one or two fellow Assaphobes who already know the trick, but it is possible to find one of these places gleaming and nearly sterile at this hour, with a triangular fold in the TP still in place – the blessed sacrament of the wee hours housekeeping scour.

We shall revisit in a moment …

Office bathrooms the worst

Unlike universities or other public places, office bathrooms present a whole new realm of “I’d rather die” scenarios. Not only are they vile, they are occupied with people you know, people you work closely with. You may even know who is doing the damage by their shoes. Or worse, they’ll just saunter in, acknowledge you and begin the “grunt and fart” routine like they’re home in their empty house. They go at it like that is acceptable social behavior in the confines of a public restroom.

It’s not. And fuck them for thinking that it is.

Wait, I have to say this, “If you take a shit in your office restroom (languidly with grunts and sighs) while others are in there, I fucking hate you, you disgusting fuck of a fuck.

Within the last year, I made an industry change. Yes, I am still a marketer, but I moved over to the technology industry. I know, smart. That being said, I left the proverbial “seat of thought up” when it came to considering the secondary and tertiary affects that such a decision would have on my daily comings and, well, “goings.” Yep, there was one item I failed to consider, particularly for a defcon5 assaphobe such as myself.

Working in technology is the closest thing in the human world to working in a zoo. Tech nerds come in all shapes and sizes and are known for diets that are downright scary – and that’s just on the way in. Within a twenty foot radius of my desk, sits a grizzly bear, a Jurassic-sized hippopotamus, a manatee, African elephant, an angry rhinoceros, a gorilla, a wild boar, and an entire community of sloths (save a few lizards, deer, birds, lemurs, and myrrh cats, etc.

About a month after my hire date, I went into the office bathroom to take a whizz (I don’t like public urinals either, but I can do that.) Low and behold, I had barely broken the threshold of the door, and there it was. I froze. Before me was the megalithic hippo, neck rolls and all, hastily tearing at his trousers’ fastener. This was to end badly. No way did I wish to be an olfactory (much less aural) witness to an event with such potential for epic atrocity. I whirled a quick 180 degrees to retreat.

Shit!

Another victim, unbeknownst, was right upon my heels. But, was he like me? Or was he a member of the wretched subspecies who is content to have a urinal chat while just feet away, a sub humanoid was delivering fecal Hiroshima just beyond a flismy stall door?

I did what I had to do.

I feigned retarded, acting as though I always do a pirouette upon entering a restroom. I mean, this was the house of tech nerd, how could he ever know that I don’t suffer from Asperger’s? I mean, roughly 30 percent of the office does. How else would all that programming get done?

Alas, like a bad dream whence your voice and limbs are summoned by forces of the beyond, fate lured me to the urinal like a small craft caught in a Klingon ship’s tractor beam. A barrage of explosions reminiscent of Desert Storm’s Shock and Awe rocked the damned porcelain pot behind us. The hippo was wailing. Fumes of Agent Orange Chicken angrily licked the pale green tile walls of Satan’s shit cove. My piss, and likely that of my counterpart’s, could not be forced out fast enough.

“Fuck this shit,” I said (I think, aloud.) I called back my own stream with a strong clench and bolted, not even a touch of the soap dispenser. I couldn’t take another millisecond. Disgusting fuck. I wished only that the hippo heard. He should know how disgusting and reprehensible he is – that shitpig of a man.

Aside from the Googles and Apples of the world (and I am not-so-sure about them either), technology-based business bathrooms have been removed from my list, hereunto forward – no longer acceptable EVEN FOR EMERGENCIES.

“So then what?” you ask. Where the hell am I (or anyone in my unenviable position) going to go, when home just isn’t an option?

Well, let’s think about what we’ve learned. Remember, the condition of certain resort bathrooms? Sure, not all are ideal, but even the worst ones are light years ahead of the office pot. Lightfuckingyears.

Down to the nitty gritty

Here’s what you’ve got to do. Open up Google and type in “hotels near me.” It’s going to give you a list. Rule of thumb: The nicer the hotel, the better the bathroom(s). Now, keep in mind, big resorts are going to be better than little business hotels because there are going to be more options – clean options. Generally speaking, the restrooms near big ballrooms in resorts go untouched and are virtually private by day.

Keep in mind; most hotel bathrooms are going to be an improvement, merely because you do not know the people shuffling in and out. Moreover, their main concern for repeat business is aesthetics. Clean bathrooms and glistening common areas are paramount to brand and image for these businesses … yes, assaphobe Shittopia, where they literally have people on patrol to maintain the facilities.

Does your office?

Maybe. But not nearly with the frequency or diligence of a hotel or resort staff. Not. Even. Close.

9 steps to Assaphobe liberation

  1. You identify the need to “go” while you are sitting at your desk. (Recognize this feeling as early as possible – you do not want to do this in an emergency. It adds pressure and panic and can actually affect the outcome on a variety of different levels. Yes, that includes the quality of the bowl movement and resultant wiping factor.)
  2. Find a good moment when there is little attention on you.
  3. Stand up, grab your keys, and walk out of the building. Have the “I am working” look on your face.
  4. Do not tell anyone you are stepping out. I mean it. Speak to no one. Is that clear? (Unless you have an off-premise bathroom co-conspirator.)
  5. Get in your car and drive to your selected hotel (you should have them pre-ranked and hopefully already done some walk-throughs.)
  6. Park inconspicuously at your destination, particularly if it is a smaller business hotel. You don’t want the staff to really recognize you after your first few visits.
  7. Get out your phone as you walk in and either fake a conversation, or pretend you are texting. Make no eye contact with hotel employees, look business busy, and repeat the following sentence in your head, “fuck you I’m staying here” or “don’t bother me.” Keep saying these words in your head, until you become comfortable with the idea that you are bathroom crashing. (You may never. Dis-ease in the face of public pooping is the norm for the classically diagnosed assaphobe.)
  8. Go to the bathroom and remember: You are clean. You are safe.
  9. Smile. Isn’t your life better now?
  10. Oh yeah, if it is early morning or late afternoon and you are at one of those mid-tier places where they provide breakfast/snacks to guests, its okay to help yourself to the occasional muffin. That being said, I don’t recommend it at your top-rated place. No muffin is worth the peace of mind offered by a top-tier office bathroom substitute. No. Damn. Muffin.

That’s it. Now, if you work in a busy business area, I recommend a three-hotel rotation – at the very least. I mean, if you’re already an Assaphobe, you probably aren’t going to have to make more than one trip per week … in fact; most of us have this kind of thing timed out for home. So, a three-hotel rotation (I currently have a four, but I am a professional) sets you up so you probably are only in one facility once or twice per month.

The key to it all is a business-like approach. You go do your thing, and you get back to work. This is not a break; this is to go to the bathroom. You pray to the bathroom gods and you say “thank you” to the property and then thank the gods again, with each successful visit. You never ever take such an opportunity for granted.

For example – I have been going to the number one in my rotation for several months – like 8 or 9 months, at least. It probably rates a 7.5 in quality, but it is just 2-3 minutes away so it’s a favorite. It’s a perfect 3.5 star business-class hotel with an easy-to-approach lobby entrance, a separate, post-crap exit door where you don’t even have to walk past the front desk (these are a godsend), and an occasional muffin to boot (shhh) … this place is deservedly my number one.

Get this. A few weeks ago, I walked in and heard my name called. A lady I used to work with back when I was in resorts, runs the front desk. Un-fucking-believable. I was terror stricken … this couldn’t be happening. Surely, this is a curse summoned by the Dark Lord.

Hi, Yvonne. I called upon the deepest recesses of my imagination to summon some plausible story about how my work often puts clients up here from time to time. Yes, that’s it. I was waiting for someone. I come here up to two, three times a month … Yes! Now, I didn’t have to cross it off the list, not completely anyway. But, she freakin’ ruined it for me – at least, inasmuch as frequency and the delicious anonymity was concerned. Again, remember to pray to the gods and say thank you. You cannot be grateful enough. Trust me.

Okay assaphobes, I hope this lesson about off-premise bathroom crashing was helpful. Remember, you are important and there is nothing wrong with you. It is them (those who don’t have a problem with public shitting) that are not fully evolved human beings.

No go. Journey forth into a world renewed, my assaphobic comrades. Harken unto my word, and embrace this life-changing solution to the greatest problem of the Plumbing Age. And do so with NO GUILT. Your peace of mind – in this, the most compromising and vulnerable of all human moments – is at stake.

Update: Since I wrote this, Yvonne is gone. My number one for number two is back. Thank you, thank you, thank you! TC Mark

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  • http://www.pretendtobenice.com Kevil

    Reblogged this on Pretend to be Nice and commented:
    Lots of people have phobias. I dodn’t think I have any but my husband begs to differ. I prefer to call them ick issues (feet, saliva, body sounds that my imagination turns into really horrible scenarios…) But Michael Rosenthal from Thought Catalog described his phobia to a tee! Marriott Courtyard – here I come…no, I’m just visiting a friend.

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