Going, going…

I have a sore throat, which has put paid to any practising of the cornet. When I realised it was too painful to even play a ‘g’, I realised I needed to do something else with my time. So, armed with my kobo and my iphone, I went to the toilet. Whilst there, I realised that I actually Needed To Go. I remember a joke once told me by a very dear friend: “what’s the difference between an egg and a good sh*t? …You can beat an egg”. Well, hmm.

Let me explain. I have a love/hate relationship with the toilet. I like sitting on it, because I can do useful things with my time (like play Bejewelled, check Facebook, or read Lynda La Plante novels) uninterrupted, but I have never ever enjoyed going. It’s not the actual act, it’s the debris that bothers me. I don’t want anyone to see, smell, hear or anything like that. It (somehow) came out to my parents a few months ago. Truth is: I’ll avoid it whenever I can.

When I first went to university, I had an en suite. It. Was. Bliss. I could take as long as I wanted, and no one would ever know. Then the inevitable happened, and I had to move out of halls and into the big bad world of a Shared Bathroom. Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. I can do this, I told myself. But of course I couldn’t. I ended up going in the same cubicle in the Parkinson Building the whole time I shared a house. When I graduated, I very nearly stayed up in Leeds, but it would mean sharing a bathroom with only one other person, so I chickened out and moved back home.

I get agonising cramps, owing to my going only every few days. I’m worried I’ll get piles. Or diverticular. I know it’s mad. But shy bowel syndrome is actually quite common. There are other people, out there, who, like me, will plan their holidays, day trips, workdays etc around where the best toilet would be. And we shouldn’t be ashamed: it’s a recognised disorder. Maybe we should all meet up sometime. Somewhere with lots of toilets, obviously.

This blogpost is a bit ‘bitty’ as it were. And that’s because I was unsure about publishing it. It wasn’t the easiest one to write – I mean, writing that going to the toilet virtually dictates your life ain’t fun – but, as before, I feel it’s important to challenge the stigma. It can be absolutely debilitating, but is virtually unknown, and if it is known, then it’s completely mocked and trivialised. Everyone does it, but some people find it harder than others. Why is that so funny?

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