The Pooping In Public Bathrooms Debate: Do You Or Don’t You?

Li'l pooper.

The coolest, most confident women I know, the ones who get up in arms about slutty Halloween costumes and binders full of women, very often don’t even feel comfortable enough to poop at work. “I just save it up for when I get home,” they say. I can’t help but picture their insides as some sort of macabre, shit-filled cookie jar.

Thank you, Rebecca Jane Stokes. No truer words have ever been written on the matter of pooping at work, or in any public bathroom for that matter, but yet despite the vision of a “macabre, shit-filled cookie jar,” a lot of women still refuse to drop trou and do what everyone does. Everyone shits, so what’s the big deal? Seriously.

As Stokes also points out in her brilliantly written piece, women are not supposed to talk about poop at all. Poop jokes are for guys, and while they’ll get a laugh for them, women will usually receive a completely different response should they try to play the poop-is-funny-game: “Ew! Gross! That’s disgusting.” And sometimes these responses even come from men, too.

Exactly when it became uncouth for women to have a bowel movement, let alone acknowledge it, probably goes back for hundreds of years. It’s hard to imagine some French royal sitting around talking about the great dump she took, or telling her husband that she’ll be right back, she needs to take a shit before dinner. Luckily for French royals, the debate over whether or not to poop at work was never an issue.

So how do we feel about pooping in a public bathroom where, god forbid, someone might hear and/or smell it? Are you more likely to do it a coffee shop, if need be, than work? Or are you a holder-inner with that shit twisting and turning, making a semi-permanent home in your intestines?

Sorry! This poll is now closed.


Photo: Ihasahotdog

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    • Sabrina

      At work is no biggie because you’re there all day, it would be cruel to your body to hold it in all day! However, I must say that I am thoroughly disgusted whenever someone poops in a bar. Can’t they just hold it an hour until they go home? I don’t need to walk into an un-ventilated bathroom that stinks of poop in a place where I’m already likely to puke anyways :)

      • Shevonne

        Hahaha agreed!

    • Pascal

      As a person who reads both Jezebel and TheGloss, it is a little disheartening when the two are EXACTLY THE SAME (even if you do link to their articles). The overlap is grating. And you all are definitely the slower ones on the uptake.

      • lala

        Oh my god I agreeeee! Although I don’t think I’m as annoyed as you are. I’ve started choosing one or the other. I usually like The Gloss’s take on things better but Jezebel has a higher volume of posts. Both get everything from Buzzfeed anyway…or at least a whoooleeee lot of it

      • Amanda Chatel

        Welcome to the internet, kids.

    • Samantha Escobar

      As long as it’s not at somebody I’m banging’s house. That is the general rule.

      • Samantha Escobar

        (Well, the general rule for me. It’s actually a pretty stupid rule, haha.)

      • lala

        Not a stupid rule…until you’re in a legit relationship that’s just awkward. Too much info. I wouldn’t expect a guy I’m banging to poop at my place…I don’t want to smell it if you’re not my boyfriend. Don’t want to smell it either way, but at least with a boyfriend there are enough redeeming qualities and attachment so it doesn’t matter.

    • HM

      I think the main issue is etiquette. If you’ve got to go, then you’ve got to go, but for the love of fuck don’t leave a mess, or ‘forget’ to flush the toilet. If you have to wait a few minutes in there for it to be able to flush again, then do it.

    • Jules

      The one and only time I ever pooped in public was because I had eaten a dinner of all different meats and started feeling sick on the subway. I felt like I was going to vomit or shit myself if I didn’t get some fresh air so I got off and walked around outside. For a few minutes I felt better but then started feeling sick again… and that’s how I ended up shitting my brains out in the GW Bridge bus terminal bathroom. It was pretty late at night and the only other person there was a cleaning lady who was listening to music with headphones on, THANK GOD.
      I’ve always had issues with doing my business in public. When I lived in a college dorm, this was a major stress factor for me.
      The bus terminal incident happened almost two years ago and I still get panicky when I think about it :-/

      • Adriene

        I’ve never been able to poop in public, college dorms were a nightmare, used to get up a 5am so I could have the bathroom to myself otherwise I just couldn’t go. The worst thing was that there was a girl who had the same idea, we used to sit there for ages waiting for the other one to leave. We actually met one day, she was doubled over by the sinks because someone else was in there and we actually chatted and found out we were causing each others misery. College was so much better after that day because we could agree times to go and look out for each other.

      • Jules

        I totally know how you feel! I never felt comfortable in the dorm bathrooms. During the first few months of college, I had the same system as you but fortunately one day I found one of those private handicapped bathrooms hidden behind the mailboxes in my dorm lobby. Every day I’d go down there, pretend to check my mail and then sneak into the bathroom to get things over with as soon as possible.
        Such a pathetic time in my life… lol

      • Adriene

        I know how you feel, but you know you weren’t alone, did you ever get to the loo at 5 am and find someone already there? My stomach tightens just thinking about it… it was dreadful, used to have to wait in the corridor doubled over in pain waiting

    • Andrea

      I just simply CANNOT poop anywhere but my own bathroom, my parent’s, my sister’s and a few select trusted friends’ bathrooms. I just can’t. For one, I cannot poop quickly. For two, I have to have my own space, my own reading material, my own air freshener, and some peace and quiet. NONE of those things can be found anywhere but in a few select bathrooms.

      When I worked full time, this was a major source of stress for me.

    • Tania

      I have quite literally gone days without pooping because I’m away at a friends, or have a friend from away over. DAYS. I’m not proud of it, but I cannot poop unless no one else can smell it. I even wait until my own family has settled down for a movie or something when visiting.

      • Adriene

        This is me too

    • bee

      Wow – is this a thing?? I have IBD & have memorised the location of all the toilets in my area when I go out. I often don’t get a choice in when I need to go & can’t hold in up to 20 times per day. Get over it – your body needs to get rid of what it doesn’t need to use. There’s even a book – ‘Everybody poops’!

    • Isana Leshchinskaya

      i just don’t like my porcelain ass coming in contact with a public toilet seat. unless, of course, i have explosive diarrhea. also, it’s gonna stink up the room for the next person, so i try to avoid it. but i’m not ashamed. i once did a two-day cleanse and took and sent out a photo on my phone of what has to be the largest bowel movement of my life to three or four of my closest friends, including a dude, and texted my mother about the girth of said poop.