Damsel in distress…in the bathroom

The other day, after my class at The Second City, I decided to head straight home instead of sticking around for bonus Second City joy like I had originally planned. We had just gotten a new water heater that afternoon, and I was pretty excited to head home for a warm shower. Also, Brian had just been destroyed by our puppy, and probably needed a bit of a reprieve. Mostly, I had a tasty Blue Apron meal with shrimp and peppers waiting for me to cook up and devour.

Leaving the class, I knew I probably should hit the bathroom before rolling out, but I had parked in a 3-hour spot and was drawing desperately close to overtime. I don’t like getting tickets so I raced my ass to my car. It was only a 45-minute drive; I could make it.  (If you can’t already tell, this story is about poop, so fair warning as you continue on).

As I was nearing my home suburb, I happened upon a sign for the second time in a week that reminded me. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc was on sale super cheap at one of the local-ish liquor stores. I knew I’d never make it back there to buy some if I didn’t stop immediately. So I pulled into the parking lot and grabbed a cart. It’s important to always have a backup supply of wine.

As I filled my cart with liquid gold, the urge to poop began to increase. I’m not the kind of girl who can hold it, and I know that when I gotta go…I GOTTA go. I asked the lady at the checkout counter if they had a bathroom (they didn’t), and so I quickly planned my escape. Step one: Pay for wine. Step two: Decide on emergency bathroom protocol.

My options were limitless, but time was of the essence. Could I make it home? Maybe, but there was a risk in that. Could I make it to my parents’ house halfway between the liquor store and home? Tempting, but I decided to see what other choices I had.

There was a small pizza place by the liquor store. But I didn’t want to walk there and chance no public restroom. I got into the car and thought about McDonald’s/Burger King/Wendy’s locations near me, and I knew there weren’t any super close. And then like clouds parting to let the sun shine down on none other than White Castle.

Now, I have a small neurosis about using public restrooms. And it has nothing to do with pooping in public and everything to do with using a restroom while not patronizing the business. And so I always have to buy something when I use a bathroom. Brian has tried without fail to get me to sneak in, poop, and sneak out without anyone being the wiser for as long as I can remember. I almost always leave with a drink…sometimes a full meal.

I decided as I raced into the bathroom immediately next to the entrance door, that this would be the day I do it. This would be the day I opted out of a guilt purchase. Because I’m doing Weight Watchers. And White Castle just didn’t seem worth it.

I hung my purse on the door and sat down on the toilet. Relief was swift, but it only lasted a moment. Until I reached for the toilet paper. Where toilet paper should have been, an empty roll hung in its place. I assessed the situation. No place for a backup roll in this single-use bathroom. No stalls to hobble to with my pants around my ankles. And I was in White Castle. In the early evening. No one was going to be knock knock knocking on this door for hours. I wished I still carried that travel roll of Charmin I bought for my trip to Europe.

As I prepared to bunker down in the White Castle ladies’ room, I realized that I had a golden ticket! I had a freaking phone. I stood up, waddled over to my purse, and pulled out my phone. I waddled back, sat down, and googled White Castle for the phone number.

In seconds, I would be relieved from my public cell. I just knew it. riiiiiiiiiing riiiiiiiiiing

“Thank you for calling White Castle. No one is available to take your call right now. Please leave a message and we’ll call you back as soon as we can!”

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

I pondered leaving a message, “Hey. In the ladies room. No TP for days. Send help.”

Instead, I hung up and called back. The damn store was open, someone had to be here.

“Thanks for calling White Castle. This is _______, how can I help you?”

“Hi. This is awkward, but I’m in the ladies bathroom, and there’s no toilet paper. Help!”

“Oh. Sure. Be right there.”

Commercial toilet paper roll in the White Castle Bathroom

Thanks, lady.

Two minutes later, a knock at the door had me waddling, penguin-style, again. I hid behind the door as I opened it just enough to allow a massive roll of toilet paper past the threshold. I thanked her, and quickly closed the door.

Bathroom selfie in a skinny mirror

I love me a good skinny mirror!

I cleaned up, took a baño selfie in the skinny mirror, and realized I definitely needed to make a purchase now. There was no escaping the employee who rescued this damsel in distress. I made my way to the front counter, and the employee was washing dishes in the back. I could escape. But I took a look at the menu and realized there were a lot of things I needed to try. You know. For research.

I ahemed a few times until I finally said, “Uhh hi!” Two full minutes after she looked at me and said hi, she set the dishes down and walked up to me, giving me a knowing glance. I should have just left. Why was I so embarrassed? Everybody poops. Right? I ordered and ran the hell out of there so fast.

I survived. And had tots hashbrowns with cheese sauce to assuage my anxieties on the 7-minute drive home.

 

 

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

You Pray And You Pray And You Don’t Realize Your Prayer Was Already Answered…

This post was recognized at BlogU as Term Paper of the Year in Women’s Studies. My BlogU roommate was kind enough to capture the video of my reading. Enjoy.

When you’re nine years old, the Grade School Powers That Be separate the girls and boys into different classrooms and begin an annual ritual of education that continues for several years. Girls learn all about getting their first periods, weird hair growth, and unusual body odor. Boys, I can only assume based on my experience, learn about making fun of girls, making fun of each other, and how to change a tire. I think.

After watching an embarrassingly long video about a girl who played Little Orphan Annie on Broadway and her first period, we were given all sorts of pamphlets to bring home to our mothers, including an order form for a giant box o’ lady things…you know, like a period sampler pack. Obviously, I shoved these papers into the depths of my cluttered locker, never to be seen again (until locker clean out day).

Of course, the mom-network message arrived via telephone a few days later, when my mother called me down to lecture me and cry about how I didn’t talk to her about this very important day at school. “You never tell me anything,” she complained.

In my head, all I could think of was my dad’s favorite line, Telephone, telegraph, tell-a-Nudd. Nudd being the collective whole of my mother, her sisters and her mother. As soon as one of them knew something, the world knew. Mass communication that ran faster than I could possibly imagine—probably faster than the internet. I knew that the minute I told my mom anything, the world would know. And this whole period nonsense? Totally embarrassing. I wanted nothing to do with it…until I was in middle school.


For months, I prayed to get my first period. I begged God to let me be like the other girls. This is the crazy thing that happened when he answered my prayer.

When I was eleven, I was already among the very unpopular, invisible kids in middle school, but my best friend in the whole world was a cool kid. And I wanted to be just like her. I distinctly remember when all of my childhood friends started to get their periods. They talked about it like it was a special club that only girls who had been visited by Aunt Flo could be a part of.

And so I prayed. Like the good little Catholic girl that I was, I said my prayers every night. And I prayed to God, begging and pleading with everything I had to bargain, to get my period and be just like the other girls. Every night a relatively similar prayer would follow the common prayers I learned as a toddler. God, I know you’re a pretty busy guy and all, but if you could please let me get my period, I would really, really be thankful. Also send my love to Grandma and Grandpa…Thanks. Of course, this is reminiscent of a strikingly similar prayer that I would eventually repeat several times throughout the course of college and some time afterward…but that’s another story for another day.

I had, in fact shat myself overnight

Even though we ran in different social circles at school, my friend and I still spent lots of summers together hanging out. Of course, on the nights when I slept at my friend’s house unexpectedly, I found myself sleeping in an old t-shirt, without an extra pair of clothes for the next day. On one particular morning, I woke up and went to the bathroom to discover that I had, in fact, shat myself overnight. I had felt stomach pains the night before, but still I was painfully ashamed of my little mishap. I checked the fold out bed and was thankful that nothing had stained that. What baffled me, of course was how my poop managed to make it to the front of my underwear and hardly touched the ass-end of my panties…I worried for the cleanliness of my lady bits, so I wet some toilet paper and wiped them clean.

Embarrassed and afraid to say anything to my friend or anyone in her family, I wiped my underwear with toilet paper, rinsed them as best as I could, dried them with more toilet paper, and put them on backwards. My thought process? The poop needs to stay on the poop side.

I put the rest of my clothes on and feigned illness to get my mom to pick me up and take me home. For the next few days, I continued to discover that somehow I was crapping my pants with some frequency, without even realizing it. Being the quiet and shy, embarrassed little girl that I was, I did everything I could to hide the evidence. I threw at least 3 pairs of underwear away, spent a lot of time in the bathroom wiping myself and wondering what the fuck was going on with my body.

Eventually, the problem resolved itself, and I went back to life as a pre-teen. We weren’t called tweens back then. I continued to pray to God that I would get my period like the other girls and wonder what it would be like when I finally did get my first period.

A few weeks later, though…it happened again. I crapped my pants. Again. And somehow it kept sliding to the front of my underwear. I couldn’t understand it. Was I sleeping on my stomach? This has got to be really bad for me, right? Of course, a normal kid may have gone to their parents for help…but me? I just kept throwing away underwear and spending a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom.

The third time it happened, the brown spots were less brown…and more red. And all of a sudden, I knew what the problem was. Apparently, God had already answered my prayers three months prior, and I was cursed with Aunt Flo for all eternity. It was awful.

First, I had to tell my mom. I dreaded this. I dreaded this more than anything in the world. Not because my mom isn’t wonderful…but more so because I was incredibly embarrassed. And ashamed to talk about anything personal. Everything embarrassed me. I didn’t want to talk about things, I didn’t want to know about things…I just wanted to exist, hidden.

When I finally got out of the bathroom to tell my mom that I think I got my period…I failed to mention the last two months of pant-crapping horror. Seriously. She didn’t even know until she read this story.

I mean…No one TELLS you that it might come out brown the first few times. They just say you’re going to bleed from your lady bits. And that’s that. I saw the movie, Carrie. I knew what I was supposed to expect. This was not that.

You Pray

So of course, when I whispered to her, “I think I got my period…” she practically jumped for joy. Of course, for someone who was anxiously awaiting my period the way some moms await their daughter’s first dance recital…you’d think she would have been prepared. I mean sure, I didn’t ask her to order the period sampler pack when I was nine, but maybe a box of pads under the sink just in case? Yes. Pads. I know. Gross. Don’t even get me started on that. But whatever. I was eleven, and quite frankly, the thought of shoving something up my lady bits frightened the crap out of me. Just not the period crap. That was different.

My mom hadn’t had a period in years, so she didn’t have to deal with pads or tampons or bleeding like a stuck pig sixty fucking days of the year. So she had to run out to the store to get the things I would need. Before she left, I begged her not to tell anyone. I begged her especially not to tell my dad. Within hours, the entire family network knew that I had become a woman. Including my father.

Eventually, I came to accept the horrors of this monthly curse that I had prayed so hard for. I wanted to be a part of the club, but I realized that the other girls just wanted everyone else to be as miserable as they were once a month. These days, I’m not praying to get my period. Instead, I find myself asking, how long until menopause?

Was your first period even remotely as embarrassing as mine? On a scale of one to awkward, where does this fall? Tell me something painfully embarrassing about your childhood, my friends.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Top 5: My Public Bathroom Wishlist

This post is part of a sponsored campaign to promote clean bums and bathroom ettiquette. Thanks to the fine people at Cottonelle, you get to read more about my bum.

I think about this a lot. In fact, I’ve had this post written in my mind 27 different ways a hundred different times. Luckily, I managed to keep it in my mind, because working with Cottonelle has offered the perfect opportunity to talk about baños and pooping and such.

I thought it would be fun to cue you in on the top 5 things I wish I saw more often (or didn’t see at all) in public bathrooms. Because when you’ve gotta poop, you’ve gotta poop.

5. High Quality Toilet Paper

I mean, you knew I was going to go here…I remember when Katie and I went to London…and we were TERRIFIED of the toilet paper situation. So much so that we brought our own. But we rarely think to bring our own around here…and sometimes that TP hurts my ass more than anything. So if I were to be granted a wish (or 5), please let there be soft TP and maybe even a fresh wipe or two for me to use on my one and only bum.

4. Taller Toilets

Have you ever tried to poop with your knees up to your eyeballs? Or even worse pee? At that angle you may end up spraying yourself! I’m sorry for all the shorties out there, but who wants to squat down farther than you did in gym class just to relieve yourself? That’s right. No one.

3. A Happy Smell

Have you ever been inside of a Target bathroom? They have that fresh fruity smell, almost like Trix or Fruity Pebbles (But definitely not Fruit Loops. Those are gross. Maybe one day I’ll tell you THAT story.) Anyways, so every Target has this delicious fruity smell and it’s not crappy or bathroom-y or anything. All bathrooms should smell like that. Always.

2. Wider Stalls

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down on the toilet only to rub my naked ass/hip up against the toilet paper holder. Gross. But it’s because someone thought it would be a good idea to squeeze one extra stall in there. Or even worse, when the geniuses who designed the place thought it would be a good idea to put the toilet about 4 inches closer to the side that the TP is on, instead of giving us that extra space! And screw the ladies over for life. Have you ever gotten poked by the corner of the TP holder? It hurts!

1. Automatic Everything or Nothing—You Can’t Have it Both Ways

I thought about asking for someone to wipe my ass for me, but then I realized that I’m a little OCD, and they probably wouldn’t do it right anyways. So then runner up in this competition is for a public bathroom to make the decision whether to have automatic sinks, soap and dryers or not. Because when you’ve got the automatic soap dispenser without the automatic sink….WHAT’S THE FREAKIN’ POINT? Seriously. Why. And really, I’d much rather have paper towels than the hand dryer. Automatic paper towels please. And a door that opens without having to touch the handle. Or at least a garbage can near the door. I guess that’s like 17 wishes rolled into one, but I’m serious on this one guys. It’s ridiculous.

Blog Friends, what’s on your public bathroom wishlist?

This post is brought to you by the fine people at Cottonelle. If you’d like to continue the conversation on Twitter or Facebook, check out the hashtag #LetsTalkBums!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Monday Memories: Embarrassing Moments

I’ve decided to start making the Monday Memories topical, so that anyone who participates with me has some direction for their posts. The goal, remember, is to make people laugh. So let’s err on the side of caution and leave out sad memories for these posts.

Embarrassing Moments

I’m certainly no stranger to embarrassing moments…I mean you’ve read about my bald spot…and the most embarrassing glamour shots ever…and then there was the incident with the strawberry…and my poop story…so when I tell you that I’ve got more, you really shouldn’t be surprised…

Now, I happen to have another poop story, but I’ll save that for another day. Hair mishaps? Thousands. But not today…And as far as fabulously embarrassing pictures go? Here’s one just for fun.

Embarrassing Photos

Note the dirty socks, the bad hair, the huge forehead, and the old school phone.

That being said, I’m going to tell you the tale of one of my many embarrassing moments…

That One Time (Of Many) That I Fell Down

So last summer, after a painstakingly long stint of unemployment, I was able to revisit a summer job I had teaching reading comprehension to students with learning disabilities, autism, and others who had difficulty with reading, spelling, and comprehension (a truly rewarding position…)

I was training in downtown Oak Park, which is a cute almost-city suburb just west of the city. I had previously taken the train down, but as I was no longer living near that line, it was easier for me to drive in. I had worn my brand new dress pants (which were SUPER cute AND comfortable, which is almost unheard of with fancy pants) and flats. Yes. Flat shoes. Because that’s what perpetual klutzes wear. Flats. So they don’t injure themselves.

Of course, I made it through my second first day with flying colors. It was a short day, so I thought I’d wander the downtown Oak Park area (Read: go to cute fancy cheese shop and buy cheese). I was heading back toward my car, struttin’ along, thinking that I was on top of the world, when all of a sudden, I was falling. And then I was on the ground. And people around me (and there were a lot of them) were staring. And staring. And asked if I was okay. And asked to help me up. And I just sat there. And sat there. And told them that I was fine. And I would be okay. I just needed a minute. Or a protective bubble. Or somewhere to hide.  One of those. Or all of those.

There was a searing pain in my knee, to go along with the throbbing pain in my ankle. I had rolled it. Into one of those sidewalk tree squares.

Sidewalk trees

Image borrowed from Streetsblog.org

I looked down at my knee…Not only was there a nasty cut covered in dirt and blood…I could SEE said nasty cut…through the hole in my brand new pants.

People walked by, stared at me, but moved on… After what seemed like hours, I finally got up. With a new batch of onlookers, I stumbled to my feet and tried to put pressure on the ankle. Nope. Bad idea. So I limped my way to my car slowly, while people watched me with bemused glances. Both the knee and the ankle were screaming at me for the pain I was inflicting on them. It looked like I had another high heel free summer ahead of me. (I know what you’re thinking. This girl has NO business wearing high heels. Ever. But I like cute shoes just as much as the next girl.)

What about you, Blog Friends? Any embarrassing moments you’d like to share?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!