words: Kari Rosenberg
Recently, a close friend – we’ll call her ‘Bridget’ – was traumatised while taking a toilet break at work. No need for euphemism here, she was taking a shit. Or at least trying to.
Having sussed out an isolated loo for her daily turding needs weeks ago, she wasn’t accustomed to having company while she shat. And neither, by the sounds of it, was the mystery -pooer in the adjoining cubicle. Waiting in suspense, neither could pop until the other had dropped.
As Bridget sat tight, reaching level 3 on Angry Birds, there came an incredible thud on the flimsy separator between them. A few seconds passed… and then another!
While she clenched, the mystery- pooer continued to bang furiously on the dividing panel. Vulnerable, her trousers and knickers hugging her ankles, Bridget was bullied out of the toilet. Having only caught site of her tormentor’s black loafers, she spent the rest of the day in fear – her eyes kept close to the ground in the hope of identifying the crap conqueror’s exceptionally large feet.
Flying the flag for all Crohn’s disease sufferers, I was inspired by Bridget’s ordeal. Knowing a thing or two about the art of public pooing – the euphoria of making a great getaway, the rising panic at a row of occupied doors as the hot wave approaches – I sympathised.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to public toilet etiquette. But I do harbour some tips and techniques that only an expert can reveal. And I am willing to share…
1. It doesn’t count if they don’t see your face. Realistically, they’ll never know who you are. Just keep the door locked.
2. Keep footwear simple in muted tones to avoid being identified
3. Stake out. Get rid of everyone else in the place. Hover around the mirrors, make lots of eye contact, creep people out using the mirror! Smile – showing your teeth – maybe a bit of tongue. As you linger, their fear of molestation will conquer any cramps and they will leave.
4. The cough and splash. A tried and tested method but none the less effective. However, if timed wrong, the post cough inhale can achieve the opposite of the desired effect.
5. Stage fright can be a bitch. The poo is ready, you’re desperate but – no joy! The pressure to perform has ruined the moment. Taking a newspaper in with you is far too bate BUT playing Tetris on your phone does the job a treat! [Don’t forget to turn the sound off. ]
6. Do NOT double flush. While some may pull the chain to muffle the splash-sound, you will regret it. Not only will you spend the day sporting a shit-water arse-sprinkle, but the flush won’t work when you really need it, leaving you in poo purgatory.
7. Don’t forget you can always do the funky chicken. It requires leaning forward with your legs, clasping the toilet trunk. Employ hands for cheek spreading.
8. The one who denied it supplied it. No matter how tempting, never protest if caught out by the whiff.
*When she’s not writing about excrement, Kari is the features editor at The Jewish News. Follow her @karirosenbergxx