I remember my first panic attack. It was at the Summer Rush concert in Alderney landing. I was fresh out of grade nine and packed in with hundreds of sweaty strangers, I was with friends who I was slowly growing apart from and about witness the raw musical talents of Pitbull himself. Then, out of nowhere, my heart starting pounding and my lungs couldn’t breathe fast enough.
It was a run of the mill panic attack and for years after I told myself and friends that I had to leave that day because I was “dehydrated” or “over-heated” or “coming down with a flu or something.” Years later when I came to terms with my anxiety, I realized it was probably a panic attack. Until recently, I didn’t know what caused the panic attack to occur; but alas, a revelation.
I think I just had to poop.
The churning of my bowls triggered a Pavlovian response of danger and panic. Because how could I, as a young respectable female teen admit to having to poop? Girls don’t poop. They just don’t. They’re too dainty, too pretty, too delicate to unleash absolute hell fire burrito shits into the porcelain throne.
You see what I’m getting at. The societal ideals that suggest that it is unladylike to experience a bowel movement is utterly absurd. All too often women have to speak about their natural bodily functions in hushed tones. All the while it seems that the men get to have the privilege in Snapchatting their friends the wicked deuce they just squeezed out.
Women are conditioned to be ashamed of their farts, burps, and poop because we have been told that it is unladylike and gross. We feel that our bodies, doing what a healthy body should do, is something that goes against what it means to be a “lady.”
“Our association [of poop] is deeply tied to the devaluation of femininity,” said Margaret Denike, professor of political studies and co-coordinator of the Gender and Women’s Studies department at Dalhousie.
“I raised this question to a class I’m teaching in Burnside and I was actually really quite surprised to hear how many women had given much thought to this topic and have lived in some kind of way that is constrained by a peculiar or difficult relationship to bodily functions and excrement,” said Denike.
For now, we must still contend with all this bullshit (pun intended). Women’s Health Magazine – and let me reiterate that, a HEALTH magazine – published a real winner of an article called “How to Poop Politely at Work, on Planes and at a Guy’s Place.”
This article offered women nifty tips on how to give birth to the food baby in the most polite and secretive way possible so that no one will ever know that they have working, healthy bowels.
Tips like, flushing while you are pooping to cover up any fart noises or putting down a base layer of toilet paper, like a soggy fireman’s safety net, to muffle “the noise poop makes when it hits the water and creates less of a splash” are shared because we think that we should be ashamed of our bodies and its excrement.
Also, I would be more concerned if I was in a public restroom and I walked by to hear a string of flushes echoing from the same stall. Girl, that’s a waste of water. Same goes for the toilet paper trick, its wasteful and honestly if I am at the point where I’ve decided to defecate in a public restroom chances are, I already have to go pretty badly and don’t have time to lay down a soundproofing system.
I’m hoping to leave you ladies with a newfound sense of empowerment of entitlement. You might be thinking, “wow, I CAN poop wherever I want, but where should I go?” Fear not! I have compiled a short list of the best places to poop in Halifax.
- Stubborn Goat Gastropub: Okay so most of these suggestions will be restaurants but hey, they have really nice washrooms. The Stubborn Goat is a nice washroom to try your first public poop in because its close to the main dining room and the noise drowns out the brown sound. Also the décor is nice.
- Athens Family Restaurant: This is nice because the restrooms are up on the second floor so you can really separate yourself from the hub-bub downstairs and enjoy maximum serenity. Bonus points for the air freshener they use there.
- Suzuki Sushi House: To quote my friend’s little sister after she used this bathroom “wow it’s like a palace in there.”
- The Emera Oval Complex: These stalls are close to everything in the Commons, and since that place is still somewhat new they are still relatively clean. Also there is something endearing about the rubber floor and fluorescent light.
- Lord Nelson Hotel: Ah, one of my personal favorites. Up on the second level there are public washrooms like no other. They’re the kind of stalls that are their own room with a legitimate door and everything. The bathroom itself is huge with ornate mirrors and great lighting which are perfect for those #nofilter selfies. This is the HRM’s best-kept secret for your butt. Plus when you go in to the hotel, there are doormen and they open the door and you get to feel like a princess. Right before you wreck their washroom.
So go out there ladies, the city is yours, paint the town brown.