Everyone does it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It usually hits you when you least expect it: you’re sitting in a 300-person lecture hall or stuck in traffic on the Malahat, and that burrito you ate for lunch finally comes back in a mutated form to haunt you. The pressure’s on. Do you brave the sneers and jeers from your classmates, or do you stay patient like your mother told you to? Do you park your car on the side of the road and make a dash for the woods, or do you keep your eyes on the car in front of you, all the while avoiding the brown bumper sticker that reads, “I like big dumps”?
What’s so taboo about going number two? As toddlers, we’re content to let loose in our diapers and broadcast to everyone in the supermarket lineup that yes, mommy, I just pooped my pants. But as adults, many of us refuse to use public washrooms for fear of what others may think (and for hygienic reasons). Don’t get me wrong — I understand that children have no screening mechanism when it comes to speaking on taboos. And yet, the taboo of poo outside of one’s home seems to have subconsciously worked its way into the architecture of the one place you’d think would offer ample restrooms: restaurants. Most downtown eateries are equipped with just a single washroom. What genius thought up that design? This might work in Europe, where most meals are about the size of a fist, but in North America we love our consumption, so shouldn’t this be reflected in washroom availability? This problematic lack of loos even includes all those fast-food chains popping up around town, serving oh-so-delicious fatty meals that quickly lead to gas and bloating. How embarrassing for the unlucky patron who ordered an enchilada with extra beans or a spicy beef burger with chipotle mayo.
Coffee shops are not exempt from this mucky category. Think of every Starbucks in town, with its single locked bathroom among dozens of patrons. What goes in must come out, and coffee is a sure-fire way to get things flowing. Public poo is so taboo that we end up whispering our request across the counter for the washroom key. Baristas must have a wicked sense of humour, attaching the bottom half of a hockey stick to the key, just so everyone knows about the dirty deed you’re soon to commit.
It’s surprising that no one has made a stink about this yet, but then again, no one likes talking about it or where to go to do it or reasons why it happens so soon after supper. Except kids. They come back from the can spewing verbal diarrhea, gabbing about their deposit’s heft and colour and funny shapes. They’re some of the few in today’s society who don’t mind spilling the beans about bowel movements. Perhaps city council should empower children to give the last sticker of approval on restroom availability in restaurants. Heck, why not give a group of kids a free meal in there and see how well the single-stall idea stands up when 30 tots are jumping up and down with their legs squeezed together?
Let’s rediscover the kid in each of us. Go on — talk to your family and friends about your poo. Embrace the truth of your number two. And let’s break that taboo. Yes, you.