Public Restroom Paranoia

7 Mar

Are you all as paranoid in public restrooms as I am?

I’m not so sure this applies to men.  Men are usually pretty proud of whatever heinous acts have been committed during their bathroom stays and so I imagine there isn’t much to be anxious over.

But I gotta tell ya – I’m anxious.  I worry a lot.   I don’t typically like to use a public restroom to do the dirty deed, but when you have to go, you simply have no choice.

While I’m in there, I like to be quick about it.  I wait until the absolute last minute until what I dub The Decision Hour, which means I have to either decide to use a public restroom to poo, or I have to poo on myself.  There will be poo either way.

I almost always opt for the first.

But I really hate it when people know that I’ve been in there.  Like if it smells. I hate that.  I’ve considered carrying a personal anti-poo perfume just so that I can eliminate all evidence that I’ve been in the bathroom.  And it doesn’t just stop there – I don’t like to be spotted.  Which means that I will sit in the stall as long as I have to in order to exit the restroom without anyone witnessing my being there.  In large restrooms ( a la truck stops, rest areas, mega malls) this is of no concern. No one can possibly trace a smell in there and there’s too much traffic to be able to pin it to one individual with any degree of certainty.

It’s those intimate bathrooms that are tough – like one with just 2 or 3 stalls.  Or worse – one with just one regular stall and one handicapped stall.   If the regular stall is taken and I’m in The Decision Hour, I’ve gotta go to the handicapped stall.  And once I’m in there, I feel an intense amount of pressure to hurry in the event that someone disabled comes in.  They’ll be waiting on me and will be  incredibly focused on my every sound and movement.

I can’t poo under that kind of pressure.

Far more intense is a situation in which I’ve been found out.  If I enter the restroom needing to poo and am followed directly by someone I know and recognizes me, I will quickly shuffle into the restroom, pee, and leave.  I will then reenter as soon as possible after they’ve cleared the area to do the actual business I arrived for the first time.

There was a time when I thought that I was the only one with this hang up.   And you know what?  It could be the bathroom conspiracy theorist in me (see The Underground Bathroom Society post) but I seriously think I’ve spotted this same pattern of behavior in others before.  Perhaps they’ll stick to their guns if they’re spotted by a friend  instead of attempting reentry, but I’m fairly certain that women have lingered in the stall for me to clear the area before showing their faces by the sinks.

Maybe, just maybe… I’m not alone. 



12 Responses to “Public Restroom Paranoia”

  1. egills March 7, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Oh dear.. I have enough difficulty going in my own home never mind elsewhere! Honestly if I go away for the weekend I can’t go, during a two week holiday I am in agony by day 4 and have to turn to desperate measures.


    • Adriena September 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

      This is me, going at home is bad enough, if someone comes past the door, thats it, i’m in pain sor the rest of the day


      • Jackie September 27, 2012 at 1:54 am #

        that sounds like a terrible way to live. you aren’t even safe in your own homes? surely there has to be a pill for poop anxiety. maybe I’ll make one.


        • Adriena September 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

          We get used to it, usually I have my time alone to do it. Its going on holiday when the problems come


  2. knotrune March 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Well we’ve all got to do it, so I just get on with it if I have to. But yes, smells and sound effects can be mortifying! Conferences are bad, as the opportunities are time limited and everyone has to take advantage of the same brief windows of opportunity. Not just queues, but finding yourself in the next stall to someone you need to impress… not good! 😀


  3. Cindy March 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    You don’t know about “Poo-pourri”? Now you do!!!


    • Jackie March 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

      ooooh this changes a lot for my life.


  4. Bobrick February 13, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I’m not nearly this bad, but I will avoid the public restroom as best as I can. If I have to use the handicap, I never really think of it as a big deal.


    • Jackie February 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

      Well you should consider yourself lucky, sir. Because being in a constant state of personal trauma over public bathroom use is exhausting.


  5. Faith Othello March 15, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    I actually wish people were more anxious like you. Several times this past week I was stuck in the bathroom while someone in the stall nearby very loudly did their business. I waited not for my sake but theirs in the stall.


    • Jackie March 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      ahaha there’s this high level executive at my workplace who casually inserts comments about her bowel movements into conversation with coworkers and it makes me wish others were a little more anxious too. 😉



  1. Toilet Day! « Knotrune - March 7, 2011

    […] not just one but two of the blogs I subscribe to picked today to blog about public toilets! So there you go, […]


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