As you, I, and the perennially popular children’s book of the same name know, everybody poops, everywhere, at every hour of the day — a scope which, of course, includes pooping at work. People poop at work. Often. How often? Well, consider the fact that most humans poop anywhere from three to 21 times a week; consider also that most Americans spend 47 hours a week at work. You don’t have to be a professional mathematician, or even a professional poop analyst to know that that equals a whole lot of work pooping going on. And yet, anecdotal evidence would suggest that there is a very high level of pooping-at-work anxiety afoot — particularly among women.
Stories about women pooping on different floors of their office buildings than the one they work on abound, and articles about women going to extreme measures to disguise their work pooping (like pulling their legs up so they’re not visible under the stall, as if they were hiding from security guards) are more common than I’d like. Theorists draw connections between women’s reluctance to poop at the office and inequality in the workplace.
On some level, I get it. Communal bathrooms are strange — there is something inherently weird about being able to hear the intimate bodily functions of people you’ve never even had a casual elevator conversation with — and single occupancy bathrooms, which are often placed somewhere inconveniently attention-grabbing, can make exactly how much time you spent in there (and thus, what you were most likely doing in there) an open secret. All of these factors certainly make pooping in public more of drag than pooping at home, where you’re free to kick your shoes off, dig into a new issue of Us Weekly (cover story: “Famous Babies: Better Than Regular Babies?”), and really go to town.
Though there are many guides that aim to allay anxiety by teaching you how to draw minimal attention to yourself while you work-poop, I’d like us to take things one step further: Let’s stop being anxious about being “caught” pooping at work. It doesn’t make us look unprofessional, and no one is judging us for it. Let’s take back the bathroom, sisters!
Here are seven reasons why you should absolutely poop at work.