And that's just the thing // JJ Brewis

Earlier this year I was on a business trip, staying in a hotel room with three co-workers. Everyone, including myself, would go down to the lobby anytime we needed to “go to the bathroom.” At first it was unspoken, but on the last day one of us commented, “Isn’t it funny that we all poo in the lobby because we don’t want to make each other feel uncomfortable? Isn’t it pretty much the same as all four of us just using the bathroom in our room when we have to go?” Hearing this made us all laugh uncomfortably, but then we realized it was kind of silly to travel down 14 flights to be secretive about something that everyone does every single day.

Is it just an issue of being polite and not intruding on comfort zones? Because then it would seem that the entire structure of our society is a living contradiction. If bodily functions make us uncomfortable then it is equally bizarre to sit in a restaurant watching strangers shove their faces full of food, is it not? Similarly, it’s often awkward riding a bus home at night and watching a drunken couple make out. Both eating and sexuality are bodily functions, so why are we unable to just accept bathroom habits as something we all go through daily, and do not need to be ashamed of?

I didn’t think I’d be sitting down today to write about people’s bathroom habits, as I am probably just as uncomfortable writing about shitting as you are reading or talking about it. But reading, much like going to the bathroom, is an everyday human function, so where does the shame come from? Talking about it doesn’t need to be low-brow, and in terms of a technically scientific and necessary function, it is about time we open the floor to discuss just why going to the washroom is so embarrassing.

One of the most memorable 'bad tattoo ideas' that I have stumbled across online is a “biohazard” warning label marked right above a man’s buttocks. This tattoo is an extreme example of the student who farts loudly in class to a chorus of laughter. When it comes to excrement, the suppressive nature of our society creates people who take satisfaction in exposing others to poop in one way or another.

And that’s just the thing. Much as you don’t like to picture certain people doing other behind-doors acts, everybody shits. Shame should be applied to things that actually have a negative connotation for a reason, not something that healthy human beings are physically required to do at least once a day for our entire lives. By not being comfortable to address this issue, we open a gateway to social and physical problems. For those of us who feel too ashamed or uncomfortable to get in touch with their bodily functions, complications can arise.

Because we see doing a number two as taboo even in its regular format, it makes people with problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohns disease, or similar afflictions even more stigmatized. This can lead to self-consciousness and shame, as well as the potential for not addressing health concerns in a timely manner. Television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz has said that we all should be passing gas at least 14 times a day, just to keep our bodies healthy. “It's so important that we start creating a ‘no embarrassment zone’,” he says. “We need to pass this much gas!”

What I've come to realize is that mature people don't give a shit about poop. They eat reasonably healthy diets, they poop and fart, and they talk about it when necessary. Immature people deal with the taboo around defecating in one of two ways: by
pretending they don't poop, or by yelling about it excitedly and presenting it in the palms of their hands to their favourite class mate. We don’t need to talk about our bowels all the time, but we need to be comfortable and open enough with each other that we don’t feel shame in our bodily functions. Because, come on, who wants to hold in their poop when they're on

// JJ Brewis
Art Director

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: