I was recently confronted with A Clean Person Mystery (I'm just like Father Dowling! Except … not at all!) that I was desperate to solve. So I turned to the internet, because the internet is magic. Here was the question as I posed it:
Last night I helped a friend unpack and organize her new apartment; while we were working on getting her bathroom sorted I came across a mystery bottle and asked what it was. (I asked so I would know what category to put it in, which would then determine where in the bathroom it was stored, because when I organize someone’s bathroom for them I DO NOT MESS AROUND. Also she pretty much just set me on the floor with a glass of wine and was like, “Go to your happy place, Joles.” And I did! Man, I really love organizing things.)
Okay so! The mystery bottle, it turned out, was a product that you add to your toilet water prior to doing your business that renders your business smell-free.
I KNOW, RIGHT?? Are you as stunned as I am that such a thing exists because I AM STUNNED.
She got it on a business trip to Japan, she told me, and happily handed the little bottle over to me so I could figure out what in the hell it was/where to get it (other than, um, Japan). Because of course nothing on the bottle, except for MADE IN THAILAND, is in English, and my Asian dialects just aren’t what they used to be. My first move was to take a photo and upload it to Google Images to see if I could turn up the product website. But no dice. So I’m posting the photo here in the hopes that someone will be able to translate the text for me, or knows of a similar product or or or or or. I dunno! Work your magic, Internet!
As it does, the internet indeed worked its magic. It turns out that this stuff, One Drop, is what I was looking for. But oh the fun doesn't end there! Because the internet also turned up a whole heap of similar and/or related products. Just A Drop. Odors Away. Fresh Drop. Poof Toilet Deodorizer. You Go Girl. Poo-Pourri. (The names. We need to talk about the names.)(We also need to talk about the fact that Poo-Pourri makes a Designer Rhinestone Atomizer Gift Set.)
In fact, the Poo-Pourri was brought to my attention by none other than our very own Jane Marie! Which also brought up something else: why haven't we talked about this yet? Probably the reason is because this topic is sort of a Clean Person thing, but also a Lady thing, and maybe even a Dude thing too, right? And when we find ourselves at the intersection of Clean, Lady, and Dude it means it's time for me to fire up the TLoTH signal and bring in the Trusted Ladies of The Hairpin.
The question I posed this time was a little bit more generic than the last time we got all indelicate with one another, but it sprang from thinking about two things: (1) what else is out there in the Solving Bathroom Issues product category that I don't know about, and (2) to what extent does everyone else have Bathroom Issues? With that frame of reference in mind, let's get to it.
Okay so! There isn't really as specific a question this go as there was when last spoke about period sex. But toilet smells! And sounds! And fears! Do you have them? Do you have a totally healthy relationship to the fact that we all poop? I ... do not. I wish I did! Alas. I also have a wicked shy bladder. Oh God, so many issues.
TLoTH to me.
TLoTH #2: Okay, real talk. I have stomach issues. Never really been diagnosed, but sometimes very suddenly I will have to spend very long amounts of time in the bathroom. Like, once I had to make all my friends get off the subway early and find me a bathroom and wait for me. It took me a long time to get over being embarrassed about this! To that end, pooping in giant, arena bathrooms IS THE BEST. No one knows how long you've been in there! No one is waiting for you! Just sit and poop to your heart's content!
TLoTH #7: I too have toilet fears! The best ever toilet was the one in Japan that plays music and makes noises so no one hears your bathroom business! (It also emits air freshener!) I cannot poo if I think someone might hear it. I have only recently overcome my cripplingly shy bladder but I still have issues.
- I cannot pee in the ocean or any body of water because I just cannot.
- If I do it with a boy and the boy's bathroom is near his bedroom and he can hear me pee, I have to turn on the faucet to cover the sounds.
- BATHROOM FANS. Why doesn't everyone have a bathroom fan? I have been searching for a special bathroom white noise generator but all I can find is the same white noise generator that I use for sleeping.
- Can normal people just pee and poo even if someone hears them? My ex sure could. But not me. The first time we went on vacation I had to poo in the hotel lobby bathroom because I couldn't do it in the room.
- I have a tummy disease and I am always afraid that when I say I have tummy problems, people think it is POO RELATED and it's not, it's just that it hurts a whole lot.
- Have you ever had a colonoscopy? You have to a whole lot of prep to get all the poo out. I don't know how people who don't live alone possibly do that.
TLoTH #2: Oh god bathroom fans! Why doesn't my bathroom have an outlet!?
TLoTH #6: I weep with longing for the bathroom fan in my apartment in Boston. It's inhumane not to have a built-in bathroom fan, methinks.
These are all good things we're sharing! Thank you! Also some good things for me to think about, in terms of offering solutions. (Like? They must make special white noise machines for the potty, right? They must. I will find them.) (Also hey, Jolie here. Kinda hard not to out my TLoTH identity on this one.)
TLoTH #2: Growing up we had a bathroom fan, but any time I turned it on people would hear it and automatically know I was pooping! We just need butt silencers or something.
TLoTH #6: If it makes you feel better, I worry about that people think I'm pooping when I have to run water to make myself pee because of my wicked shy bladder. CURSE YOU, WICKED SHY BLADDER.
TLoTH #7: Since I don't own my apartment and I can't do major renos like installing an actual bathroom fan, I have been searching for a plug in bathroom fan that is both air purifying and also white noise emitting. YOU WOULD THINK THIS EXISTS. But I have yet to find it. I bought a plug-in air purifier once but it doesn't make enough white noise so now I keep it plugged in by my cat's poo box instead.
TLoTH #1: The minute I am alone in the house, my body gets all tingly and decides it wants to luxuriously poop in the glorious privacy. Except, the cat pushes the door open.
When I was a vegan, a relative made A Comment after I used the bathroom before him, and it definitely shame-hastened my transition back to being an omnivore.
TLoTH #5: Co-sign on everything the Trusted Ladies have said. Actually, recently my friend sent out several distress texts about having to poop while the cable guy was taking forever to install in her studio apt. Finally I was like "just go in there and turn on the faucet!" She seemed to be unfamiliar with this technique? That is standard behavior.
I can usually go wherever I have to if it has to happen, but yeah I get a little shy, too. My roommate in college was the opposite of shy when it came to pooping in front of others. I was horrified. Everyone poops, but I don't want to talk about it or share it or take part in it.
And no one should ever make A Comment! That is horrible!
TLoTH #1: RIGHT? Is the social compact not important to other people??
TLoTH #4: I am a two-sided coin:
On the one hand, I no longer fart or address pooping in front of my man. I will pee in front of him since it often happens right after sex and because as of right now we only have one bathroom. When I have to shit at home, I just close the door kind of loudly and he turns the TV or music up or goes out on the porch or does dishes. We've never spoken about it, but it's a very nice symbiotic system we have going.
On the other hand: I can shit anywhere. I don't care. Only when I have, like, diarrhea, do I feel self-conscious, but not even that self-conscious.
Oh, and by "no longer" I meant I NEVER have in front of my man. I blame casual bathroom biz for my last break-up (partially).
TLoTH #1: Oh, I guess that my husband technically saw me poop repeatedly during the three-and-a-half hours I spent pushing his baby out of my vagina, but we do not speak of it.
Hippies like to say "can you imagine they used to give moms enemas prior to labor?" but I totally get it now.
TLoTH #7: I do not think that I will ever have a boyfriend, but if I do, I guess I will take his cues about pooping and the discussion thereof? I guess I will have to come clean about my tummy-hurting issue and that will maybe lead to poo talk. Oh gosh. Better to stay single forever and just die alone with my cat.
Before we turn things over to you all, a few things: I did indeed find a noise machine made especially for the bathroom. However, it is Japanese. Also, I think it would be fantastically nifty if we could help our pals at One Drop get up past 25 likes on Facebook! And finally, TLoTH #2 suggested that we have a "name a toilet smell eliminator contest" in the comments, which I absolutely support because we can be serious and not-so-serious and that's completely fine.
While we're absolutely going to be serious and not-so-serious, one thing we'd all like to ask of you is that you be considerate of the feelings and opinions of others. (I mean, we always want that but sometimes it's good to state it explicitly!) If you're a person who has a totally healthy relationship to your bodily functions that is so awesome! And we wouldn't want anyone dissing on you for that. On the flip side of that coin, if you want to use this space to talk about hang-ups or issues you have, or to ask "gross" questions, we want you to know you can do that without fear of feeling embarrassed or ashamed because of someone who wasn't careful with their words in response.
And when we're all done we'll circle up to sing a round of "Kumbaya" and chow down on some bran muffins.
Previously: Period Sex.
Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Are you curious to know if she's answered a question you have? Do check out the archives, listed by topic. More importantly: is anything you own dirty?