Image via Enlightened/HBO.

There’s a problem I’m seeing in our office bathroom and—I assume—women’s multi-stall bathrooms around the country (if not the globe). Typically between three and four in the afternoon, all of the stalls are occupied by women waiting for everyone else to leave so that they can use it as their own private pooping palace. Unfortunately—because this is what everyone in the restroom is doing—this causes a massive (apologies) backlog of people waiting to use the toilet.

So shit or get off the pot.

Not everyone is strong enough to poop in public. I get it because I’m not, either. Given the choice, I’ll use my home toilet, where I can take my sweet time and scroll through Instagram or respond to emails (a secret power play because “We’re on for next week’s meeting” takes on a-whole-nother value when your boss doesn’t realize that you sent it while squeezing one out). So let us accept that straight off the bat: Pooping in private is ideal. But unfortunately, as the saying goes, shit happens and you won’t always have the luxury of a private commode.

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Making this more challenging is that, in an office environment, people are constantly guzzling coffee, a stomach irritant that gets things moving in your tummy and butt zone. If you’re lucky, you can slip into your office bathroom at a quiet, unpopular time and you’ll have it all to yourself. Pick a stall, any stall! Linger and lounge! Poop like no one’s listening because guess what? No one is! And when you’re done, you can head back to your desk a little bit lighter, knowing your coworkers are none the wiser.

But there will be times when you will not have the whole of the office restroom to yourself. In this case, I’m sorry to tell you that you gotta either hold it for later (not good for you, so I do not recommend it) or allow yourself to let loose, embarrassment be damned. We are human beings who consume food and, as such, we also need to dump sometimes. It isn’t pretty, but it is a fact of life and any co-worker who would judge you for it is likely the same coworker who’s fucking up the bathroom flow by staking out in a stall and refusing to leave until she has the place to herself. Anyway, she sounds like a real bitch who probably deserves to be grossed out by her coworkers’ turds.

Consider your male colleagues. Do you think they hesitate to shit in public restrooms? Go in a men’s room sometime and you’ll have your answer: a cacophony of audible farts will greet your senses. Not pleasant, but—considering how we women have been trained to never be gross, even when we need to be—also somewhat enviable. But no matter what “society” says, you get (need, even!) to poop and if you can’t get past that hangup and vacate your bowels, then do the rest of us a favor and vacate the stall so those of us waiting can.

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Worth noting, of course, there’s more than one angle to approach office bathroom etiquette. If you’re at the mirror trying to pop the whitehead that miraculously appeared between your lunch break and meeting with HR and you hear the tell-tale signs of a shy pooper—feet shuffling, too many toilet flushes, an absence peeing—get the hell out of there to leave the girl in peace. She’ll thank you for it, though probably never in person. May your act of charity be rewarded by perfectly regular morning BMs in the privacy of your own home.

Anyway, just some classic Maddie thoughts for late in the week. Happy pooping, one and all!