Poop-Associated Guilt Syndrome (PAGS)
Editor's note: Skiddy Poo originated this conversation in the PoopReport Forums.
There really needs to be a label for those who suffer from some sort of poop-related
I've read about shameless and shameful shitting, but this is beyond that.
This isn't some sort of feeling of embarrassment one has while shitting, it is even
more profound and psychologically twisted than that. It is a deep-rooted complex that
develops over time, leaving its victims feeling guilty and estranged when the topic of
poop is suggested.
This complex affects people to a degree that they cannot talk about
pooping and the mere act of pooping in the presence of others is best described as
traumatic. These are the people you see in public bathrooms (they had no choice), who
leave their stalls red-faced and embarrassed as if they had committed a cardinal sin.
These people are much different from the typical shameless shitter in many ways, the
most obvious being their inability to talk about poop.
They do neither condone nor
denounce poop as a legitimate topic: it's just too painful to bring up. When it is
brought up, they begin acting suspicious and edgy ... a symptom of the other "classic"
internal behavior they have: poop-related anxiety. They quickly change the topic or
remove themselves from the conversation.
How this syndrome is manifested is a
puzzlement to me, but I've seen it in a small minority of my friends (mostly women). I
suspect that the basis fo their guilt has some meta-physical cause -- like they were made
to feel guilty about their poop at an early age. I also have my suspicions that Freud
might have been right about some things and this might just very well be one: perhaps
these poop-fearing people are profoundly "anal retentive" due to some distress they
experienced early during their potty training years. Perhaps not.
Have any of the other PR'ers seen this odd, psychologically twisted Poop-Associated
Guilt Syndrome in others? If so, what are the noticeable hallmarks of their behaviors
that you've noticed?
Dakota once said: "Some folks here seem to equate taking a dump with molesting kids. The one
is normal and the other is a fucking crime. So relax and enjoy a good dump. Noone who
knows you is going to think bad about you because of it!"
This is a classic characterization the syndrome. He notices it in others, too. I think
this way of thinking is beyond shameful shitting.
The people I know who dismiss poo talk usually do so saying "that's gross",
"disgusting", "this is not the time or place", etc. so I don't really think it is a
Freudian thing. I just think it has to do with the brown, smelly, gooey, mess that is
Also, for many of the people I know, the red face after leaving the stall is the
embarassment of having to take a dump away from home, somewhere that isn't really
sanitary. I'm sure everyone, shameful or shameless really prefers to use the commode at
home, but the reality of life is you can't always work things that way.
I wouldn't say that those I know who feel this way "equate taking a dump with molesting
kids". Perhaps it is more like equating taking a dump with how many women feel about
men going to a titty bar -- where they are thinking "ewww how could you like looking at
those sluts? It's disgusting!"
I think Brown Streak is partly
right. Folks in the western world are taught from an early age that shit is disgusting
and causes disease. Some folks who will openly talk about every detail of their sex
lives get all coy and embarrassed if the topic of dumping comes up. I guess this is a
kinda learned behavior.
Young kids (and I'm from a large family) have no shame at all
about shitting. They'll sit on the pot quite happily talking away and even giving a
fucking running commentary, e.g., "Hey, that was a big one" and only later will their
folks have taught them that you just don't do this kinda thing.
It's also interesting
that couples (married and unmarried) will often do anything in front of each other
except take a shit. I once posted here about how my girlfriend sometimes comes into the
bathroom to do things while I'm on the crapper. I thought that was pretty cool since
most chicks won't do that.
Also, I think that social class and upbringing make a
difference. Most of my co-workers on the construction crew don't seem at all
embarrassed about taking a dump with others around, while white-collar folks are often
real embarrassed about dumping in a restroom if someone else is in a stall. So it's a
real complex subject and it's great that you've analysed it so well!
I understand the "disgusting" part of poo being a conversation topic that isn't
appropriate at all times (like discussing at lunch that damn puss-filled, itchy bump I
found on my . . . )
The reason I raised the question about this problem is because I have a couple of
friends who find the topic and act of pooping to be distressing. It's wierd. They won't
even say that it's gross or inappropriate. They clam up as if the topic were scraping
up against their inner guilt feelings . . . like it was sinfully "bad".
I think it has to do with the whole theory of masking onesself. People have trouble
understanding death, because everyone dies, and no one knows what happens when you do.
It brings us off of the sort of gravy train of immortality. So does pooping. It makes
people feel so small, and insignifigant. There are so many cultural models being forced
down our throat 24/7, and they never show any of them poop. Imagine if every movie had
the stars crapping, or if on baywatch, pam anderson took a daily shit, and people
talked about how she stunk up the crapper every time. I don't think she would be so
sexy then. (hepC doesn't help much either)
I don't know that taking a shit makes people feel mortal or insignificant. But it
probably is an uncomfortable reminder that they are no better than the animals in at
least one respect.
Yeah, I think thats it.
Interesting phenomenological insights. Poop anxiety = realization of mortality OR =
realization of foodchain status OR manifestation of poop related childhood trauma. I
like them all and they are testable hypotheses. I could develop some surveys to test
out these notions, but the people who are most ashamed about poop might not respond.
Maybe I could mask the survey as some sort of social acclamation scale. I think I'll do
this. Observational science and hypothesis testing meets PR!
Let me know if you are interested in helping with my latest method of procrastinating.
I could post them on the net, so if you have some CGI skills or general thoughts on the
survey, let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Perhaps it has something to do with people's desire to be part of high culture. Like
those people who won't watch TV or listen to pop music... they think poop is so base,
so pedestrian, so populist... its below them to engage in such low culture
conversation. Snobbery, essentially.
I think that can explain some of the aversion, but not the guilt. Thats more
psychological, i'll bet. It goes deeper than shit though --- people who are emberassed
by their bodies, essentially. Shit repression probably stems from the exact same psyche
as sexual repression.
This is all getting a bit deep for me. I guess the last thing I think about when taking a
shit is dying or where I am in the food chain! I always enjoy a good dump, but it has
no special significance for me.
I think Dave has got a good point. Folks who are
ashamed about taking a shit in public are probably the same folks who never get laid! I
take a dump without any of the agonizing that many of the folks here have and I stick
my dick into a chick without giving it too much thought other then remembering to use a
And I bet these "afflicted" individuals prefer wet wipes over good old t.p. By having a
clean baby-wiped ass they can dispose of any remnants that may remind them of their
participation in the "evilest of deeds".
More wet wipes = more disturbed anti-poopers. This is just what Dr. Phil, Oprah and
their ilked (supported by their corporate sponsors at Johnson and Johnson and P&G
It's a conspiracy people! For God's sakes open your eyes not your pocketbooks!