SocietyJuly 2, 2019

Keep Poop Private: A Spinoff campaign to let the world shit in peace


A week later, that Queensland house with a glass-walled ensuite bathroom is still giving Emily Writes nightmares.

In this confusing and chaotic world we live in there are so many issues that are legitimately outrageous. There are so many things you see online and offline that just shock you to your core. There are so many matters that demand our attention, our advocacy, our action. And yet we can rarely agree on which fight is ours.

I am here to tell you there’s a fight we can all join. One that we can share no matter who you are, where your from, what you did – as long as you love…a good private shit.

Our rights to poop alone and uninterrupted without an audience are under fire. A group of people are coming for us – they want to take away our God-given freedoms to do a number two on our own in an actually properly designed loo.

No, this war isn’t against our toddlers (though I hear you on that one), it’s against adults who have gone too far, too many times, for us to just turn the other cheek.

Interior designers and architects need to be stopped.

We must protest against their quest to put shitters into lounges across our great nation. We must demand they put proper doors that you cannot see through around our toilets – be they in our homes or in hotels. Their covert and malicious intent to encourage us all to watch each other poop is an attack on our very core.

If you think this isn’t a problem (and a growing one at that) then you’re wrong. Dead wrong. The open-plan bedroom and bathroom ensuite abomination has been popping up everywhere in new builds and luxury hotels everywhere. I’ve stayed in many hotels over the last few years due to work, and I can assure you the glass-walled pooper is common as shit.

The bedroom and ensuite at 18 Alverna Close, Wynnum, Queensland. Picture: Sotherby’s International Realty

Seeing an article yesterday from Australia about a Queensland house with an open ensuite had my heart pounding – they will not get away with this. The real estate agent selling the House of Horror, Joseph Lordi, told Perth Now there has been mixed responses. Which is to say some interior designers and architects who have shares in scented candles are posing as buyers.

“People are either really loving it or wanting to put some walls back up,” he said. “I get some people who are saying ‘we do everything else together, we’re a married couple, it’s really no different to everyday life’.”

Oh yes, married life – when you just give the fuck up and shit wherever you fancy because what’s the point. Are these people married long? I think not.

If you’re wondering why I feel so passionately about this issue it’s because I carry the scars of these bathroom atrocities. Six years ago I married my partner after ten years together. In the morning, after our wild wedding, I woke up feeling hungover but exhilarated. I’d had an incredible night with the love of my life. We’d stumbled home in a happy stupor, bumped uglies, then fallen into a deep sleep.

I woke on my first day as a wife and looked up at the ornate ceiling. I’d barely been able to catch a glimpse of our hotel in the chaos of our big day. I sat up, stretched, smiled – then made direct eye contact with my new husband as he dropped a massive load into the toilet that had no door. After watching him destroy a bowl, I realised I’d be next – naked, sweaty, with an audience. I knew then and there that I’d devote my life to ending open-plan toilets.

That was my introduction to married life.

It’s like some people actually believe being married calls for watching each other defecate. How do they happen? What is the thought process? The only explanation to purposely choosing not to have a door on a bathroom, and angling it toward a bed, is that the designer wants people to watch other people shit. You can talk about natural light all you want but ultimately, nobody is sitting on the throne thinking “Yes, I’m going to drop a log in front of my work colleague that I have to share a room with, but at least I don’t have to sit directly under a lightbulb.” That’s just not happening.

Look, I know everybody poops. I say this every day to my kids and they love nothing more than to watch me poop. It’s their favourite show after Vegetarian Minecraft. But come on –  if I’m in a hotel with a lover, I don’t want to have the anxiety of knowing if I shit then it’s going to be our third room-mate. There’s not much mystery left when you’ve been together more than half your life, but that doesn’t mean you just give up.

And it’s not just your partner you need to consider. How many of us have been forced to share a hotel room with a colleague? Work is shit enough as it is without actual shit.

I recently stayed in a hotel with a friend for a writers festival and had a frantic time trying to figure out how the fuck to have a shit without her seeing it. We’re best friends but we don’t want to cross that boundary now or ever. Eventually I found a button that seemed to dim the glass. Why you would have this is beyond me. Lights exist.

I’m not kink shaming – but I also don’t think one person’s fetish should become a world-wide trend in toilet access. In any case, would you not just shit on each other? Lay a tarp down? I’m just guessing here but there has to be a better way and together I’m sure we can work it out.

The last time I shit in front of multiple people was at the birth of my second child. I don’t want to relive that. Yet I feel like before I get hotels booked for me I have to request that they check the toilet isn’t in the lounge. How did we get here? Can we turn it around? I believe we can.

So I stand before you and say: let us come together in agreement. Toilets should have doors. Sound-proof and smell-proof doors that you cannot see through. A curtain is not enough.

We want real doors. And we want them now.

Sign the pledge. End this injustice today.

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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