I'm not trying to stir up, er, poo, but I have to ask: How often do you really need to drop a deuce on a date? Isn't this precisely the sort of thing you would do before a date, like, as part of your whole getting ready for the date thing? Shit shower shave is not just for dudes, k? But a book out soon promises to illuminate the path of righteousness on exactly this matter. Should we call shit shenanigans?
The Book: How to Poo on a Date: The Lovers Guide to Toilet Etiquette
Release: May 14 (in the U.S.)
Its Purpose: "Not an instruction manual" but a "practical guide":
... toilet etiquett-sperts Mats & Enzo have turned their attention and extensive experience to what is surely one of the most important questions that has played on the mind of mankind for centuries: how to poo on a date. Not an instruction manual as the title might imply, this is a practical guide to confronting every possible problem or eventuality one may encounter when wooing. Inside you'll learn exactly what to do (through explanatory text and useful diagrams) in a variety of practical, real-life situations, from feeling the call of nature as you walk in the woods with your paramour to what to do if you block her toilet with a monster mud-out.
Random Trivia: The book just won the Diagram Prize for "Oddest Book Title of the Year." The 36th annual Diagram Prize, to be exact. (Noteworthy: This board of judges loves some poo, because in 2012 the award went to Cooking With Poo, a Thai cookbook by a woman named Saiyuud Diwong, whose nickname happens to be "poo" which happens to mean "crab.")
But ok ok so let's back up here. Call me naïve, but I guess I just really thought everyone involved in a date at the very beginning would poo first or wait it out. Or do the other thing: Say you have to go to the bathroom and then go find one. I realize you can't always do that AT FIRST. I'm not saying it would never be embarrassing. Just that it's probably so rare that you're unlikely to deal with this a lot. Later on when you're hanging out and you're deeper into levels of intimacy, it'd be fine, right, or you could navigate that? It's just four weeks of dodging the deed 'til you're in the clear.
Wrong. The authors claim very facetiously that after five years of research, they determined that 97.8 percent of ALL breakups are because of mistimed poop. (Is this a straw poop man?)
Keep in mind I do realize in other situations where you have to poo, like at work, that it is another matter altogether. Yes, they also cornered this market when they wrote How to Poo at Work. (I hate the word poo and yet I can't stop using it.) And in the search for the efficacy of the revolutionary new poop-muter PooPourri, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten nailed the particulars of Poop Shame and just how far we will go to disguise the action in a column last year:
These lengths range from the mildly neurotic — for example, concealing that you have reading material when you enter or leave the bathroom — to the truly bizarre. One man keeps a second, distinctive pair of shoes in his desk, which he smuggles into the bathroom and puts on in the stall so that no one knows it is him in there, doing that awful thing.
Women have confessed to participating in excruciating standoffs: bathroom duels, where two or more find themselves in neighboring stalls, each holding off on The Act, waiting for the other(s) to leave. It's sort of the opposite of the shootout at the O.K. Corral.
At one place I worked, there was a phenomenon that involved people taking elevators to different floors so they could poop more anonymously. A coworker disdainfully called such cowardly people "turd burglars" — though I always thought that, given that they are leaving something rather than taking it, that it was a bit of a misnomer.
But How to Poo on a Date is off the clock. And dates, I remind you, are deliberate and voluntary and scheduled and unless you pull an all-nighter, you're in and out in like four hours. Most people — barring the unforeseen jumper cables of pooping — spicy, exotic-to-you food, getting mugged — can get by for that long with a little advanced planning, the sort no more involved than what we expect of our children. GO BEFORE. I guess you could go on marathon dates, and by marathon I don't mean an all-nighter, but rather, an actual marathon where you get runner's trots?
But sure — yes — people definitely get together planning on watching a few Youtube vids and then stay up all night talking the night away. People definitely do meet for the first time to travel together for 21 days without any luggage. That would involve some mad bathroom time, yo.
But this is a WHOLE BOOK of advice. Who needs a whole book of advice on how and when to poop during your free time? Pshaw, piece of cake:
Walking in the Woods
Hold it? Pretend you're going to look for wild berries and just happen to need some alone time? Go before?
One Night Stand
Hold it? Pretend you're going looking for wild ber—see how my 'go before' works so well? Or leave before you need to the next morning?
OK wait, hold the phones, now I get it. THIS IS A BOOK FOR DUDES. The intended audience of this book is the fictional New Yorker cartoonist Miranda dates on that one episode of Sex and the City who takes a dump with the door open and DOESN'T ACTUALLY KNOW IT IS BAD, aka an IDIOT.
Proof: In the book intro, we meet Tom G., a lovable louse who committed a fatal misread of the sitch when he thought he could just take a dump with the door open. NOW HE IS SINGLE.
Perhaps that is one more thing us gals have mastered that we get no real-world cred for, the stealth poop. The authors actually have to lay out rules obvious to anyone in the universe about how to act before and after you go to take a dump, like:
Don't announce it. Duh.
Never ask her to join you. Duh.
Don't say what you just did when you come back. Duh.
Um, yeah. Duh.
Dudes, tell me: Are you insulted or grateful? Only time and that distinct smell will tell.
Seriously, malodorous missteps aside, everyone has to get comfortable enough to do the deed while still in seduction mode. That is a real thing. So I suppose if you are the adventurous type who dates far away from bathrooms and can't go before or hold it in until it's NBD or at least less of a big deal — the book offers suggestions while rollerblading, ice skating, in a pedal car, bonfire at the beach, in a SAUNA, jogging together (like I said…) — then you're going to need all the help you can get, and the good news is: help has arrived.