Everyone Poops

18 Mar

This post is going to be all about—you guessed it—the British obsession with pooping, or rather the enjoyment the Brits seems to derive from a successful bathroom experience.

Picture it: It’s 16 August 2010 (over seven months ago). I’ve just arrived in London, England after the most terrifying seven-hour plane journey of my life to be greeted by relatives I’ve only heard of and seen pictures of on Facebook (who were very nice, incidentally). I’m jetlagged—there’s a five-hour time difference—and emotionally drained. I’m given a tour of the house—kitchen, living room, my room, laundry and finally, as the grand finale, the toilet.

There’s a whole host of literature for your reading pleasure, I’m told. And indeed there’s a thick stack of magazines and a couple of books haphazardly thrown atop the pile. Groggy, I don’t think much more of this encounter until I’m shuffled off to another relatives’ home a few days later where there’s even more literature and in a three-hour visit with my cousins, the bathroom reading is referred to at least half a dozen times. My one cousin remarks that he’s learned quite a lot from the hefty fact book and quotes lines from it.

I later learned from a non-relative that bathroom reading is referred to as “shiterature”. A quick peak on Urban Dictionary defined shiterature as “Any book, magazine, letter, pamphlet, or any other type of literature one may take to read while sitting on the toilet.”

My non-relative informed me that he planned to have an excellent collection of shiterature in his own bathroom one day. A good enough life aspiration I suppose since a UK study suggested that more than 14 million Brits read books, magazines and newspapers while on the toliet. Considering the population is 61, 838,154, that’s a whopping 23% who seek written entertainment in the bathroom.

Another Brit provides me with regular updates of his bowel movements. He’s quite proud of himself when he can come up with unique ways to describe his account on the toilet. The week he came up with “broken babies” I must have heard him repeat it at least four or five times, on the phone to various people.

Now perhaps my eyes have been closed to the pooping habits in Canada but I don’t imagine anyone spends nearly as much time talking about the toilet preferences in my homeland as the people of the UK seem to. Fellow Canadians, feel free to point out if I’m misinformed here, but I’ve also yet to hear of Canadian equivalents to institutions such as the British Toliet Association and the Loo of the Year Awards.

Disclaimer: I apologise if any Brit feels that my post is not truly representative of the approach to the pooping experience in Great Britain. Please consider that this is my own personal account and thus do take into consideration my own biases, which include, among other things, a tendency to interact with men more than women.

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