Photo via Flickr user Elvert Barnes
For the past several years I have been experiencing very sudden urges to poop. I know what you're thinking: everybody poops. But nobody poops like me. I can’t control it—when I have to go, I have to go. Now.
It started during my sophomore year of high school, and I suspect it had something to do with my decision to start having anal sex with my then-boyfriend, who I’ll call Jay.
We fooled around, of course, but we’d never had sex. I wasn’t ready for actual intercourse, plus birth control pills were expensive and I was allergic to latex. But straddling Jay's lap one night, I found myself wanting it… maybe somewhere else?
He half-jokingly/half-truthfully told me that anal sex opens up the lower intestine and acts as a cleansing agent, expediting the digestion process and even helping you lose weight.
“Plus, you already like spanking,” he said.
I should mention that if you do it correctly and safely, using lube and not getting too rough, anal sex doesn’t cause incontinence. And I haven’t gotten a diagnosis from a doctor that says that my pooping problem was caused by my teenaged extracurricular activities—probably because I haven’t figured out how to tell her about it yet and also because I tend to throw out any reminders that I need to come in for a “feminine matters”-related check-up.
All I know is shortly after Jay and I began making love in a very uncomfortable place, I started having to request a lot more bathroom breaks from my teacher. For the average student, holding it in after lunch period wasn't much of a challenge, but unfortunately my digestive tract was not that of the ordinary 16-year old.
“Madame Richards_,_” I would coo in my best French accent. “Can I please use le toilette?”
By the time I returned, Mrs. Richards would be tapping her heel against the floor and staring at the clock.
“Seven minutes,” she said.
“If you accounted for traveling time, seven minutes isn’t very long—”
“We’ll speak after class.”
After the door clicked behind the last student, she told me she was concerned.
“About what?” I replied dumbly.
“About your class disruptions. Do you expect me to believe that you are going to the bathroom at the exact same time every single day?”
“Yes, that’s what most people do.”
She wouldn’t let me go, implying I was sneaking out for a liaison with my “petit copain” until I finally blurted out:
“I had to poop.”
“I had to poop.” Her facial expression warped as I explained.
Upon graduating from high school, my boyfriend and I broke up, but the sexual relationships that followed didn't help my lower digestive tract. I just got better at making excuses.
At restaurants I'd go between the appetizer and the entree and then again before dessert. My dining companions would suggest cutting back on fluids; I’d reply that I had difficulty staying hydrated. I'd race out of savasana at the end of yoga class to be first one to the bathroom. My instructors would suggest deeper breathing; I’d tell them I needed to be somewhere. My boss would ask if I could wait until my break to go; I'd lie and say I drank a soda while walking to work. My mom would suggest a support group for bulimics; I’d blame a stomachache and the Mexican place we ate at the night before.
By the time I hit 20 I could have published a book filled with explanations for hyperactive bathroom use. I was able to talk my way out of any intervention, skillfully changing the subject with the experience of a frequently interrogated criminal. The only situations that couldn't be rectified by my quick excuses were dates.
I remember one evening in particular. We were sitting at a corner table away from the rest of the restaurant, there were candles burning in between us, and his eyes sparkled with that “this is going surprisingly well” look, when it happened. I had eaten only about half of my bowl of udon, yet already something was working its way irresistibly through my lower intestine. I thought fast and pulled out my iPhone.
“Gotta take this call!” I said, trying to simulate my phone ringing.
On my way to the restroom I realized how many more excuses I'd have to come up with if these dates continued going so well.
Two months later he asked me point blank if I was regurgitating my meals. I told him no and blamed my frequent bowel movements on a “fast metabolism,” and he’s grown accustomed to my habits. I even started keeping the bathroom door ajar so he could see I was sitting on his toilet rather than retching over it. (I guess we’re a couple now.) I like to think that he's accepted my incontinence the way we all accept our partners' foibles, and I’m going to tell my doctor about my problem. Any day now.
Find more of Zoe's work in the latest issue of 12th Street_, the New School's Honors Literary Journal, and on its website._
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