#418: Toilet Anxiety

#418: Toilet Anxiety

Some of us have, errrr,  a few personal hangups.  Perhaps you don’t like spiders, or snakes.  Many have a fear of confined spaces.  Others, myself definitely included, hate crowds.  A few lucky ones like me can tick off multiple boxes in the anxiety category.  A lot of people will nod and understand if you say you’re afraid of spiders, but nobody seems to understand my toilet anxiety!  Specifically, public toilets.

I’ve never liked public toilets, ever since I was a kid.  Someone in my family, a musician who shall remain anonymous, loves to try out every different kind of toilet around.  The first time she went on an airplane was an exciting moment for her.  She can’t wait for the days of spaceflight when she’ll get to take a 0-gravity dump.  She was always fascinated with that scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, when Dr. Floyd is trying to figure out the instructions to the space toilet.

My debilitating toilet issue is that I just can’t perform if someone else is in the room.  I remember the year before we got married, Jen bought me Rush tickets for my birthday.  It was the Snakes & Arrows tour.  We had a whole evening planned including dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  The restaurant was packed with Rush T-shirts.  I had to make a pit stop, but the washroom was wall-to-wall dudes in Rush shirts, peeing.  I found a urinal but could not squeeze a drop.  Not one drop.  I began to worry.  “What if I can’t go pee before Rush?  The washrooms there will only be worse.”

Without options I waited it out, and eventually the washroom completely emptied.  I was able to take one of the most relieving pisses in my entire life, all the while cursing my own idiotic hangups.

In some ways work toilets are even worse – at least where I work.  Here, people will likely to strike up a conversation with you, while doing their business.  It took me a while to get used to taking a dump at my current job.  Unfortunately, my toilet anxiety became publicly known.  After walking into the washroom, and then walking right out again, I was asked what was up so I explained that I have a toilet anxiety and I’d rather wait for the room to empty.  Embarrassing, yes, but I couldn’t come up with a better lie on the spot.  I’m a terrible liar.  So I outed myself as a Shy Shitter.

Since then, I have been pranked at the office numerous times.  Most often, someone just turns off the lights when I’m doing my thing.  Once, a pile of boxes was placed in front of the door while I was inside, forcing me to knock it all down to escape.

Once, I almost had a heart attack in there.  I was in the stall, doing my business, when somebody snuck into the washroom quietly.  I heard nothing. While I was sitting there reading my magazine, this person reached under the stall door, grabbed my feet, and tried to pull me off the seat!

Thankfully no mess was created, but I sure was given a shock!  You have to admit it was pretty funny, even though my public toilet fear only got worse in the short term!


  1. I hate public public toilets like in a city center, they’re always full of junkies and feel like danger.

    I also hate public toilets in places people will never be again (eg. Motorway Services ((truck stops))) becuase people just de-strooooy them.

    The place I hate most is pubs, the floor is just inch-deep pools of urine and everything is in a fine film of puke….. ughhh.

    Thank goodness noone’s grabbed my ankels though, I’d not be ok with that ha ha

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I must not go into very many public washrooms because I have never run into a junkie! When we’re driving, I might say to the wife, “I gotta pee real bad.” She’ll say, “Well do you want to pull over to truck stop?” NO! No way. I’ll hold it. But I get the toilet first as soon as we get back to the house.


      1. Here’s a story to quell fears…

        We went to New York City a few years ago. We were in Grand Central Station and there was no leaving to find anywhere else, I had to take a leak now! So I held my breath and went into the washroom.

        Now, think of what you’d imagine of a GCS washroom. Pretty bad, right?

        Ha, no. The place was spotless. I’ve been in fancy restaurants where the washrooms weren’t as clean as that was.

        I think it has a lot to do with when Giuliani (the mayor) went on a big campaign to clean up New York. It’s why we saw workers in city-worker vests using push brooms to sweep up cigarette butts everywhere we went. It’s why Times Square looked like Disneyland. But yeah, that bathroom was a pleasant surprise!


        1. That would have been quite the scene. You sitting on the toilet, him pulling out a Brannock device from his bag, and measuring your foot, amd then stating “I think I have a pair that size in the back.”


          Liked by 1 person

  2. Let me preface this by saying, I don’t know how dudes can pee in front of each other. That would understandibly be problematic if you were a shy…That is a whole thing that I never could understand. Everyone deserves privacy, especially when you are vulnerable with your peter out, but the culture has ignored that. And thus you guys get to pee in front of each other. My condolences – this can’t be easy for you!

    I have had pee problems since I was a little girl, in that, when I wanted to pee I couldn’t, and when I didn’t want to pee I couldn’t control it. I do have a medical problem, but I was also traumatized when I was in elementary school. I needed to go do more than pee, and the bully girls would hang out in the bathroom during recess. I remember they would listen to every drip and plop anyone did in there and would tease them afterward for it. When I think back now, that is pretty gross, I mean who wants to listen to someone shitting unless it’s in an American Pie movie? I think I developed PTSD from those events. I am dead serious.

    Because of my problem, I have had to retrain my bladder, and adapt. I now have no problem using a public toilet, because I had to adapt! I would worry myself into a UTI / constipation otherwise! But, the fallout from it all is that I spend as little time going as possible – number 2s included. No newspapers for me! If someone is in the washroom at the same time as me, I plug my ears. This seems to help because I am meditating on my breathing, not on someone else doing their biz. For number 2s, I always flush while I go. This muffles the sound, and reduces the smell. And I am fast with the 2s, because I only go when we’re at a point of no return, so therefore no reading required!

    I know this is a bit of TMI, but seriously, maybe my tips will help? Sorry I can’t help with standing at a urinal. Thankfully, I have privacy behind a door. Seriously, though. You guys don’t have it easy in that regard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, and I guess plugging your ears wouldn’t help either, if you’ve got one hand directionalizing “the flow” if you catch my drift. lol


    2. The worst one, Sarca, is at a Blue Jays game. It’s just a big wall-long trough (with no dividers) and everybody walks up and let’s ‘er rip. Even worse are the guys who’ll come in after you’re already started and try to lighten the awkwardness of it all by saying things like “So THIS is where all the dicks hang out!” or “How’s the water, still cold this time of year?” Ugh.


      1. They used to have the same thing at the Kitchener Aud. It wad called “The Trough”.
        I hated that thing.

        ” Is the water cold?”

        “No, but it’s deep”

        I remember seeing the really old dudes urinating. It must have been a rule way back when that they don’t touch their own junk when they urinate. They always kept their hands behind their back.

        When I was is high school I remeber the saying was “If you shake it more than once, you’re playing with it”.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hair dryer on the junkall region. Owww. At least he wasn’t pressed up against the wall trying to use the mounted dryer. I think one of those new blaster dryers could cause wind burns on your junk. (I would love to be a fly in the wall in the emergency ward triage room when he explained that one).

          The “shaking it” thing got me thinking in grade 9, but when I got older, I cared less about what others thought.

          When I was in grade 9 the older dudes hung out there trying to give young dudes the “birdbath” (getting thrown into the hand washing basin) or the “rose bowl” ( getting your face shoved in a toilet as it flushed)

          I had a different kind of bathroom anxiety back then. They only tried it.on me once, but because I had a sweet Led Zeppelin shirt.on, they let me go. Once again, Led Zeppelin can make all right in my world. :)

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I have yet to see old man wang, I just see some old dude’s back and his hands on his hips. I didn’t want to be near him in case he had to jump up and down to shake the excess out.


    3. I don’t even wanna get into my own childhood stories. I’m sorry to say they’re not much different than yours! Kids can be so cruel, and I went to Catholic school too…

      Anyway that’s cool that you shared it, and thanks for doing so. As much as I try to have a laugh with posts like this, I much prefer when something resonates with someone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And thank you for sharing what you did! I lived in my embarrassment for years until I finally understood my issue. I still have problems, but at least I am able to confront using a public restroom! And, I am so over it so talking about it gives me power over it. That’s how I feel about that!


  3. If Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13, there ought to be a similar term for fear of public toilets – it’s real, they’re gross, you’re not alone Mike!


    1. I’m sure there is a term, but I’ve been trying to Google less lately :)

      To touch on what Sarca said, this goes back to childhood for me. I’m not brave enough to share the stories though. I will say that I am glad, as an adult, I know that this is a real thing and I didn’t need to feel “weird” about it.


  4. On the way to the Rush concert you could have done “the way of the road”

    I used to work at a place with a guy that had perfect hair. He was always combing it. One day one of the other dudes dumped a pail of water over the stall. He came out looking like a drowned rat.

    I also saw a crowd of dudes tip a port-a-potty over with one if their buddies inside. It was not pretty.
    My buddies tried that one me later in the day and I got the hell out.

    How about a Rush Snakes and Arrows tour blog post from memory(or notes) if you haven’t done one? I did not see that tour, but my buddy (who is the worlds biggest Rush fan) went twice. He said the one show sucked ass, and the other was good. I think it was song selection. Too much of the “new” album I seem to recall.


  5. I’ll just say this: Once you’ve changed diapers for 6 straight years, and potty trained two kids, bodily functions just become day to day whatevers. It must be a real timing issue to get the loo to yourself. Gotta be a way to just ignore them, though. Shame on your co-workers for messing with you. I don’t find the cruelty of prankers funny at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a bit of a timing issue, yes. Sometimes I’m good at ignoring people. It depends. Oddly if it’s somebody I know, I’m usually OK. If it’s somebody I don’t, I’m outta there. Weird.


        1. OK so today I went in, no earplugs. Dude is pissing next to me. “OOH!….ahhhhh…” then his fucking phone goes off. I couldn’t squeeze a drop.


        2. You have no luck!
          I am not sure about the male bathroom culture, but…couldn’t you just use a stall to pee? Or is it always in use by someone shitting?

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Must be. Thankfully, the ladies has stalls. I’ll tell you though, the ones at Humber can be nasty. Girls can be really unsanitary. TP all over the seat, a Picasso in the toi toi. Blech! I almost want to go in with lysol and a toilet brush before using the facilities!

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I worked in a hospital for 12 years total, and smelled and have seen all sorts of na-ked junk, as well as numbers 1 thru 4 lol. Imagine delivering a food tray to a corpse…done that a number of times too…anyhoo


      1. Also, I know #1 and #2… what are #3 and #4. Puke? Blood? Pus? Inquiring minds want to know! Because let’s face it, if you’re out at a restaurant and some classless meal-mate says they’re off to the loo to drop a #4, I need to know how much repulsion is appropriate…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I am going to come out with a machine that dispenses earplugs, latex gloves, hand sanitizer in the stalls. it will also have a little juke box that drowns out the disgusting noises from the stalls next door. I should make millions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you can also devise a machine at the door that detects when a-holes haven’t washed their hands, and then maybe gives them an electrical shock for being a dumbass, you’ll double your millions.

      Also, I found this:

      Liked by 2 people

        1. If you can rig up a Junk Shocker ™ with a camera to capture the dumbass’ looks of pained regret as well as their yelps of horror, my friend, you’d be rich in money and soul.

          I watched that video and thought, “well, that escalated quickly!” Hahaha

          Liked by 2 people

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