I saw a picture rise to the top of Reddit’s frontpage yesterday (and I wish my Google-fu were better so I could track it down and link it). The tagline was something to the extent of “this is the first time my artist boyfriend has ever drawn the two of us in the same frame.” The picture seemed a perfect distillation of co-habitative evolution. It was set in a bathroom. The female partner was brushing her teeth while seemingly mid conversation with the male partner, who was seated on the toilet. Both of them were bare from the waist down, he clutched an unnamed title from penguin books in his hand, other hand gesticulating. The mood was entirely casual, as if this were the height of quotidian. Just a couple having a conversation while pantless and pooing. How cute I thought, reflecting on how this seemed almost ripped from my girlfriend and my daily routine. I loaded the comments for the inevitable flood of puns.
Instead I found comment after comment remarking how they’d never be caught dead shitting in front of their SO. Things to the extent of “we’ve been married 19 years, I’ve always avoided letting her see me shit.” Or “after seven years together he still half believes I don’t ever poop.” The general consensus was that letting your partner smell your waste was the death of a relationship. “There has to be something sacred”, etc etc.
Really? That’s too much? Are you children? People shit, it’s a fundamental part of being human. Is this one of those if I don’t see it, it never happened deals? That’s some kind of magical denial you’ve got going there. We’re all super messy by virtue of living as biological sacks of fluids and gasses. Opting for obstinate ignorance seems a schoolboy error at best. If you’re in a long term relationship, chances are you’ve put your finger/tongue/penis up there. Is being in the same room while they crap really where you draw the line? Are your delicate sensibilities so fragile? This might be daftness on my behalf, but is someone pooping in the same room really so disgusting compared with the bloodbath of giving birth?
Or possibly I’m just naive and idealistic. Perhaps I’m a romantic at heart. It seems to me that when you’re in love with someone, the small stuff is inconsequential. All the squishy, squelchy parts of someone are just that, parts of that person. They come packaged in the contract of accepting someone into your life. Things may smell a little funky at times, but it’s no big deal. The point during a relationship that I’m comfortable enough shitting in front of them feels like a milestone. You’ve got nothing to hide, no pretensions or facades. You accept who the person you love is. Part of which is understanding that not everything that comes from them will be rosy. We all err, it’s the human condition. Love is baring yourself, showing your hand and hoping that they’ll want to keep playing because they still enjoy the game. Love is the peaks, but it’s also the valleys, accepting that sometimes you’ll dwell at the bottom and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what makes the peaks so bright in comparison.