Everybody does it.

By Thomas de Vries

There is a stigma associated with it even though everybody does it. Following some ‘reliable’ research conducted over a period of minutes, this article will describe why people often “don’t enjoy it very much,” and sometimes “save it for the middle of the night,” when instead it should be a “great experience for everyone involved.”

All sorts of issues arise when someone goes to do a poo in a public bathroom, not the least of which is risk of sound (a splashdown). The first question one must ask when going into the bathroom is “Am I here to break records or would I take my chances and go at a more natural pace?” Often the former is chosen in an otherwise empty bathroom (making noise irrelevant) as a method of reducing the risk of having to poo when someone else is in the bathroom.

Should someone enter the bathroom mid-poo, one must make a choice about whether or not to suspend on push on. Suspension has inherent risks associated, especially if the intruder decides to poo too. As a general rule, poo cannot be suspended for a long time and certainly not if the intruder is as scared of a complete onslaught as you are.

If one decides that they are to push on, tactics such as cushioning can be employed. Cushioning is a way of softening the fall of a poo so that there is minimal or no sound when it drops (see also “Everybody does it: Part 7 – Reducing splashback). Toilet paper is most often used for this purpose but recently people have been reported to have been using Donald Trump propaganda posters.

An important concept to understand is that of ‘pooformance’ (see figures 1 and 2). It is regarded by some academics as being as significant as the theory of gravity as in that the concept is unknowingly practiced by every person on the earth, every day. One leading researcher has defined pooformance as being “the ability for one to poo in a public space with others in earshot.”  This is especially pertinent in the situation where two pooformers have pulled up adjacent poo pews; the person with the best relative pooformance will finish their poo before the other. A number of factors influence a pooformance rating, but most significant is the embarrassment associated with making a sound and others linking the unique sound to your bowel and thus losing anonymity. If two people defecating next to each other both have low pooformance rating, a phenomenon known as the “Candy Crush” effect can occur. This can lead to long and drawn out standoffs “like The Cold War” with both pooformers simply “waiting for the next move.”

Figure 1: Pooformance Formula

tom infographic.png

Figure 2: Performance ratings

Score Rating
<1 Poor
1-10 Hesitant
10-25 Comfortable
>25 Conqueror

Standoffs can be ceased by mechanisms known as sound buffers. These include a shower being turned on, a hand-drier being used, creating your own sound buffer by timing a loud toilet paper rip with a splashdown (risky), or a nearby toilet being flushed by someone who perhaps only came in for a wee. This allows the pooformers time to mask a splashdown. There is risk involved with noise buffers, in that they are unpredictable and should a poo not be prepared, there is a chance of rushing and mistiming the drop, resulting in the splashdown immediately after a short sound buffer (eg: toilet flush), alerting others to a pooformer’s tactics and their cover being blown. In this situation, often “a small part of [a pooformer’s] soul is said to be left in the bowl.”

For some people, preserving their anonymity is almost as important as evacuating their bowels. Techniques such as pulling feet away from the sides of the cubicle so not to be recognised by a neighbouring pooformer and turning a phone on silent before going in for a defecation session to prevent possible instant recognition are both used to this effect. Catastrophic failure to preserve anonymity can occur when involuntary noises are made from a pooformers mouth. Grunts, grumbles and groans in normal pooing conditions are widely viewed as being unacceptable by the community and an effort should be made in this regard to stay mute.

Some unusual pooformer behaviour occurs during a game of ‘Battleshits’, where it is acceptable and even lauded to make sound when pooing. Some regard it “not as a competition, but instead a good time with your mates.” This is most interesting and is in fact quite the opposite behaviour of what is displayed normally by the general population. Though it is more commonly practiced by males, females have been known to be quite skilled at Battleshits, which would provide an explanation for the ‘two-plus’ phenomenon, which sees females incapable of going to the toilet on their own[1].

Pooing in public toilets is a complex issue. While scientists are well on the way to understanding the psychology pooformers, there is still a lot of work to be done to have people “feel proud” of their poos and defecate without fear of being found out and ridiculed.

After all, everybody does it.

[1] The ‘Ping-Pong’ theory is still more widely accepted; two or more females attend the bathroom concurrently so they can practice Ping-Pong together at a Ping-Pong table intrinsic to every female bathroom in the civilised world. When an odd number of females are present, one can act as referee.

Feature photo from freebie.photography.

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