How Brené​ Brown Can Help You Poop at Work

You know what we're talking about. As our staff writer Mackenzie said, "Everybody has sex differently, but everyone poops the same." The only variation is in frequency, as humans can poop anywhere from three to 21 times a week. That means, of course, that everyone poops at work, and it's time to stop holding in shame about it. As celebrated researcher and America's official cool aunt Brené Brown says, there's power in vulnerability, so speaking truth to power includes getting candid about our poops. As Brown also says, "Don't try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer."

As The New York Times reports, "Poop shame is real—and it disproportionately affects women, who suffer from higher rates of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. In other words, the patriarchy has seeped into women's intestinal tracts. Let's call it the pootriarchy." Child psychologists like Nicholas Haslam even correlate young girls' faster rates of potty training with a burgeoning sense of shame about their body functions.

To combat that, we're serious about harnessing the positive forces of media and Brené Brown's excellent Texas twang to embrace our moments of vulnerability and reject the shameful run-off of being a working adult. Our team drew from our extensive experiences working in midtown offices, theatres, academic departments, restaurants, dog kennels, local smoke shops, art studios, and bars to create this empowering list of Dos and Don'ts for pooing at work (as guided by Brown's beautiful and inspirational prose).


1. Keep headphones in. If you can't hear any farts, then they aren't real.

2. Maybe sing a 'lil song.

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. - Brené Brown

3. Say out loud, "I'm going to poop now" (speak truth to power).

We don't have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to. - Brené Brown

4. Cough loudly to the rhythm of the plops.

5. Pretend you're breaking up with a lover over the phone, so your neighbor gets uncomfortable and leaves.

What we don't need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human. - Brené Brown

6. Slide the children's book Everyone Poops under the stall to explain yourself. Do not respond if you are then verbally addressed.

7. Eat a lot of fiber, so the turd is very long and enters the water like a poised diver. (Eat very healthy in general, so you can be efficient and pebble-like, like a rabbit.)

You cannot shame or belittle people into changing their behaviors. - Brené Brown

8. Bring an extra pair of shoes to work, so no one nearby can identify you as the phantom pooper.

9. If someone else is in the bathroom, say to them, "We're in this together now, comrade," and then just f*cking let it rip. They will bow to your confidence.

The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time. - Brené Brown

10. Place fake (or real) poop on the floor or in the sink as a distraction.

11. Flush as you go.

You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging. - Brené Brown

12. Play "Flight of the Valkyries" and enjoy your victory.

13. Send a picture of end result to friends to express dominance/acceptance of your body.

BONUS: ALWAYS steal some toilet paper for home.


1. Do NOT rush. As sagely related in The New York Times:

"That friend had another friend, at another office job, who repeatedly forced her body to do the deed so quickly — racing from cubicle to bathroom and back, in an effort to deflect attention from what she might be doing in there — that it led to a semi-serious hemorrhoid problem. As her former colleague put it: 'She was pooping at the speed of pee.'"

2. Do not carry a book/magazine/ereader to the bathroom (read on your phone, like a f*cking decent citizen)

3. Never speak to another human being while in the stall. That is a crime against humanity.

If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm. - Brené Brown

4. Don't stand waiting outside the occupied stalls. Take a damn walk.

5. Don't make phone calls on the pot, you monster.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others. -Brené Brown

BONUS: Don't take selfies/video calls, you corporate terrorist.

In short, always remember Brown when you have to go to town:

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. - Brené Brown
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