Shit! Crap! Even just good old Poo, these are not polite words. Pejorative terms of abuse, expletives to emphasis the negative emotion and not something to mention at the dinner table. It’s not just the lexicon of swear words which cause us to shudder, even terms like “feaces” or “excrement” conjure up the matter they describe in an almost visceral way. It is as if I can smell the very word.
It is such a basic human function, to empty the bowel. We eat, we process that food, derive the sustenance that keeps us alive and defecate the waste. We all do, it is fundamentally human and yet remains taboo in a way that is almost inexplicable. Im not embarrassed by anybody else’s bowel movements, I understand that even the Queen has to poo. I have had two children, mini humans who arrive in the world without the skill of controlling when the body should empty away what is no longer needed and as such have changed many a smelly nappy with the blasé indifference to shit demonstrated by most young parents. I was a nurse, I had to regularly deal with this most normal of bodily functions with patients, I have administered medications into various orifices’ to help it on it’s way and have cleared it up for them if it arrived unexpectedly in the wrong location such as their bed.
So it is not the faecal matter itself which is the problem. It would seem it is only my turds, my waste and the realisation that other people know that I am producing them which fills me with acute, crippling embarrassment. It is something I must do on my own, something private, hidden away behind a closed and locked door. It is done in the security of my own home and not in a public toilet, they may be a convenience for some but I have always been able to hold on and wait. I could not bear the awkwardness and discomfort of being behind the tiny door of a cubicle, trousers around the ankle clearly visible as the barrier does not extend all the way to the floor, struggling not to let a noisy escape of gas reveal my presence as members of the general public are washing their hands. It is done with the toilet window open to let any identifiable orders escape, whilst whistling loudly to mask those inadvertent and comic sounds. Above all I don’t want to talk about it. I do not announce to the world in general that I am about to go and unburden myself, I go quietly, covering my intentions by mentioning something about needing to clean my teeth and then hope and pray nobody notices.