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In an era of toilet selfies and poop emojis, one writer’s fight for decency will not be deterred.

Everyone Poops, But Do We Have to Talk About It?

For Shits & Giggles

In an era of toilet selfies and poop emojis, one writer’s fight for decency will not be deterred.

By Jill Phelan, St. Vincent College


I don’t know about you, but my mom raised me to know which subjects were appropriate to mention in front of others and which were not, and bathroom talk was always on the list of taboo topics.

When I was a kid, my parents used little euphemisms to censor unpleasant words that were deemed unsuitable for conversation, as I’m sure any respectable mother or father would do.

As a result, direct references to bodily functions in blunt terms made me uncomfortable, and still do. Even words like potty, stinker and tinkle continue to make me giggle nervously to this day.

Everyone Poops

Personally, I think that is precisely why children find “potty humor” so funny—they snicker at the words fart or poop the same way a teenage boy would laugh about boobies, because they know that it’s not something socially acceptable to announce to the world.

Or at least it used to be frowned upon.

These days, the millennials want me to know what they’re doing and thinking at every second, which unfortunately includes when they make their bowel movements. Lucky me.

I couldn’t tell you how many times one of my friends just randomly blurted out that he or she has to pass gas, and then proceed to do so right in front of me. And then they would smile like they were proud of themselves for their accomplishments.

To all those people, thanks. I don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t shared that very intimate detail of your life with me. Really, I’m a better human being because of your meaningful contribution to society.

I had a friend tell me once that she and her boyfriend used to fart on each other’s faces just for shits and giggles. Ah yes, nothing says I love you better than popping a squat and gassing your significant other right in the kisser.

I laughed when she told me about their little recreational activity, but only because I secretly thought she was certifiably insane. Needless to say, they are no longer together (which is probably for the best…I would hate to see what menaces their offspring would’ve been like).

Everywhere, someone is letting me know that they have to go take a dump. News Flash: I am not your doctor—I don’t need to be filled in on all of the times you excrete waste.

It’s not something I like to imagine, so for the love of God, please stop telling me. I’m begging you.

A coworker of mine told me the other day that she and her boyfriend Snapchat each other while squatting on their porcelain thrones. I know what you’re thinking: so romantic. Yeah, I thought the same thing when she assaulted me with that information. I will never be able to look at her the same way again.

It seems everybody is proud of their shit—taking selfies on the toilet, openly discussing crap, making foul jokes, etc.

And let’s not forget the poop emoji, the staple of the millennial generation. I guess pooping became such a hot topic that there had to be an icon for kids and young adults to plaster on everything from social media to bedspreads.

To me, painting a smiling pile of poo on any platform you can dream of is the equivalent of high school guys drawing penises on every desk, locker and wall they see. It’s immature and makes me roll my eyes (if not literally, then metaphorically).

I just don’t understand why it has become so necessary to incorporate some of the crudest parts of human nature into everyday conversation. Come on people, what happened to your sense of class and dignity? There is nothing wrong with leaving the bathroom talk in the bathroom.

TV shows nowadays have way more fart jokes than I remember seeing as a child, as if that’s the only form of humor anymore. I hate to break it to you, but there are funnier things in life than cutting the cheese.

Similar to the way separation of church and state exists, I think society needs to better distinguish bathroom talk from commonplace dialogue. Let’s draw the line between personal and public again, because that border is so far gone at this point in time.

What ever happened to simply saying you have to use the restroom, or even excusing yourself after you burp? Instead, people belch and then laugh at themselves, or they explicitly tell you that they have to take a shit. Nobody cares anymore and I feel like I’m the only person who sees a problem with that indifference.

It’s okay to choose not to jump on the poop wagon. That doesn’t mean you have to be a prude or a stick in the mud—it just means you don’t have to resort to potty language every time somebody asks you what you’ve been up to lately.

The way I see it, constantly sharing the details of your toilet trips is like using curse words in all your sentences; it makes you appear uneducated and suggests that you have nothing better to contribute. But I know that you have more to offer. Don’t worry, I believe in you.

As much as I know you want to be, you are not a child anymore and you no longer have to resort to farts and burps to obtain the interest of your peers. It was cute when you were six, but now that you’re in your twenties, it’s just gross and annoying. You have to grow up at some point, Peter Pan.

You’ve learned about more than just what your body does when it digests food. Talk to me about philosophy or how your family is doing or what you plan to do with the rest of your life—literally anything else other than what your craps are like.

Do the world a favor and keep that shit to yourself.

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