November 1, 2010

Letting it all out. In so many ways.

Once upon a time, I woke up in a pile of poo.

It’s true.

I’d flown to Rome to find out if my long lost love was really ‘the one who got away.’ We’d always come back to each other and this trip would finally be the clincher– would we walk away married or just walk away? Since he was unemployed and living there with his family at 35, he had booked us into a—wait for it—-hostel.

I can do hostels. And I don’t think I’m materialistic. But for such a momentous occasion, I admit I was slightly disappointed. We talked awkwardly through dinner, and I figured we just needed the first few days to warm up to each other again.

Warm up we did.

I woke up to my possible future husband as he paced anxiously around the five-foot square of a hostel room. Even though he screamed for me not to move, I of course shifted my body towards him. That’s when I felt the warmth envelope my knee and the smell hijack my nostrils.

He had shit the bed. One side of my body was covered in warm poo. And my maybe-man was pacing around dressed in pajamas sewn from his own excrement.

And we were in a hostel.

There was no calling for new sheets, and the shower was a crusty spigot over the toilet. I knew I had to act fast or I would also lose control and add a pile of vomit to the situation. I gathered the heart-print sheets and threw them out the window. That’s right. I pitched those babies into the courtyard and watched the stained hearts sail to the snowy ground below.

Thankfully, the hostel had been prepared for this and had equipped the bed with one of those romantic plastic sheets. Perhaps bed shitting is a popular sport in Roman hostels. I don’t know. I took those stained hearts as a sign though, and I decided not to elope with this man that weekend. I promised him I wouldn’t tell anyone about the unfortunate affair.

But during a writing class in 2008, I stood up and told the tale to twelve other students. It felt so right to tell this story. A relief. An awakening. A release of something I’d been holding in (too many poo jokes to choose from right here). Corey Podell, my friend and a fellow comedian, insisted on reading after me. She stood up and read a piece about how SHE had woken up one morning in a pile of poo. She, unfortunately, did not have a plastic sheet on her bed and had to throw out her mattress. And her man didn’t fess up to it. Instead, he blamed it on her, told her she was gross, and left in a huff.

We’d both been shit on.
We knew this was a sign.

We started talking to other people and collecting poo stories. Everyone seems to have one, and with a bit of encouragement, they were all happy to share it. One friend shit himself on a drive during a cold Detroit winter and had to walk himself through an icy self-serve car wash. Another friend pooed in a French train and had to use his sock to wipe. I’ve shit myself twice while running. Recently.


And so it was. We went along collecting poo stories, on the road to making the biggest poo anthology in the history of man.

But then I wrote this piece about my father’s suicide.

It was also a story I had been holding in for so long, and writing it transformed me. Writing it helped me let go of it. I realized then that poo stories are not so compelling because bodily functions are funny. Bodily functions are just funny because nobody talks about them. When society says we musn’t converse about something, it’s hard to ever say it out loud even though we desperately want to. Suicide, poo, fetishes, disease, obsession, whatever. If it’s something you wouldn’t normally share at tea time, it’s taboo. And the more taboo stories you hold inside you, the more you feel ‘wrong.’ Ashamed. Both take a toll and really fuck with your self-confidence. Nothing is wrong with anyone. We’re all fucked up. We all just need to talk about it more. The moment you let it out, it loses its taboo.

Corey and I decided to collect a variety of taboo stories instead. We put the word out around LA, and the submissions rushed in. Our inbox became a safe haven where taboos could congregate. People sent scandalous stories about smuggling drugs in maxi pads and fantasizing about orgies with boy scout troops and accidentally promoting lynching on a bus full of black people in DC. Nothing you’d normally hear at the dinner table.

We chose eight brave souls and invited people to hear them read their taboo tales aloud.
Last Thursday was the Taboo Tales debut show, and it couldn’t have gone better. Over 100 people filed into the theater. It takes an open mind to hear and share taboos, and we had the perfect crowd of magical, interested, and uninhibited strangers. The storytellers rocked that microphone. And we read anonymous taboos from the audience as well. Lots of adultery. Lots of masturbation. Holy calamity– I am still shocked at all the masturbation. So many people touch themselves on the freeway. Seriously. They should give out Driving While Masturbating tickets. In the end, we all felt closer. And relieved.

Taboo Tales is a live, more detailed, non-anonymous, adult version of Post Secret for people who don’t like to decorate cards. And it’s here to stay. People need to share. Once we all admit to picking our nose in the car, then we won’t have to hide it anymore.

It’s an LA show for now, but it’s also a movement. So, wherever you are, I encourage you to share your taboo tale. Maybe it’s about how you secretly think your son is ugly. Or how you didn’t feel anything when your mom died. Or how you love to smell your own farts. Whatevs. Make it something we can laugh about. Because, not to be a self-promotional whore or anything, but… humans are funny. Even under the most dire circumstances. If we could only just admit it, we’d all feel so much better. So get it out. Put it on paper. Let it free.

Send it to our safe haven email [] and, no matter where you are, we’ll try to fit it into a stage show or our anthology. Yes, anthology! We’re gonna publish a book. A SERIES of books, each with a different taboo theme. And then what’s Snooki going to say? Well, she probably hasn’t heard of the word ‘anthology,’ but she’ll surely be, like, jealous.

Rahul Subramanian reads his horrifying story about the time he lost a battle to a tampon. Other storytellers were Jean Black, Liz Brown, Marilyn Friedman, Stirling Gardner, Melinda Hill, Vanessa Carlisle, and Michael Kass.


Christin November 2, 2010 at 8:28 am

I had no idea so many people had been shat on. I've been pissed on and no, not in a 'golden shower' kind of way. The kind where my sorority sister had too much rumplemintz and pissed my bed because she insisted upon sleeping with me. I had to get new sheets, a new featherbed and mattress pad and she got "queen of pissing the bed" in the rumplemintz is not a mint facebook group.

nickaboy November 2, 2010 at 8:40 am

When I was a kid, I was in love with Princess Diana.

I simply could not imagine her – Diana the beautiful, Diana the graceful, Diana the untouchable, sitting on a toilet with her panties on her knees and her face all screwed up and going gnnnnnghhhgnnnnn!!!!, trying to squeeze some poo out of her rectum into the toilet. And then having to wipe her arse afterwards.

So I told myself that she does it differently. There is a little flap in her side that she opens once a week, and then it disgorges a little plastic bag with freeze-dried poo in it, which she daintily takes between forefinger and thumb and hands to a butler to dispose of.

That was a much better way, I say.

Brooke Farmer November 2, 2010 at 8:49 am


My sister stayed with the man who shit her bed and had babies.

My dad shit the bed when my whole family was on a cruise.

And my best friend once got so drunk that on a one night stand she walked to the corner of the bedroom and squatted down as if hovering over the toilet and peed on his clothes.

I have attributed all of these stories to various levels of alcoholism. But maybe it's normal.

I am definitely going to submit something for Taboo Tales. Love it!

Rahul November 2, 2010 at 8:49 am

I love this post mainly because it ends with a picture of me. Oh, right, this is about you. But seriously, what about me?

I'm glad you didn't tell this taboo story at the show because it would have upstaged me considering its awesomeness. I mean, not awesome you got a hot toddy on your person, but awesome in story telling.


Doesn't everyone in Europe live with their family? My brother would be King of England.

Hipstercrite November 2, 2010 at 9:02 am

Wow! What a brilliant idea! That sounded like so much fun. I wish I was there. Unfortunately I do not have any poo stories (I tried to poop myself once under dire circumstances but I just couldn't do it!) I do have plenty of stories about masturbating to Elton John and other shit though.
I have a question? Why did your bf poop himself? I didn't know it was that common for people to poop themselves in bed…unless they were shit-faced?

laurenne November 2, 2010 at 9:09 am

Yes! I am inspiring more poo stories. Nothing like a poo story in the morning.

Christin – I think Rumplemintz is actually grosser than pee!

Nickaboy – That's EXACTLY how it happens for girls. Nice crush choice.

Brooke – Glad to hear there's so much poo in your family! Nice. We have so much in common.

Rahul – I love you. Oh wait. This was about me. I love me.

Hipstercrite – He was genuinely sick, and I felt horrible about it. He was of course embarrassed. And I was super supportive of the whole thing.
It was mainly the unemployed, unmotivated part that annoyed me about the trip.
Still, poo makes for a better story.

lalizzire November 2, 2010 at 10:09 am

Thanks for bringing awareness to the plight of the shat upon everywhere–and for giving others the chance to share their own stories of mortification.

Brooke Farmer November 2, 2010 at 10:24 am

"I didn't know it was that common for people to poop themselves in bed…unless they were shit-faced?"

Everyone I know who has had this issue was, indeed, shit-faced. I just assumed that was always the case in a story like that. Gotta feel a little bad for the guy now. It's funnier when the person totally brought it on themselves.

Adria November 2, 2010 at 11:44 am

This is the best idea I've heard (read) in a long time! The Princess Di comment is HILARIOUS!

In college my friend's visiting boyfriend came back from a night of drinking, shat himself, wiped it ALL over the walls, floor, himself, etc in her apartment. THEN tried to get in bed with one of his girlfriend's roommates. It was not funny at the time, but now its the best poo story I know (well, until I heard yours)!

The Incredible Woody November 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm

I almost shit myself at Vons last week. I blame it on the chinese buffet for lunch.

Jimmy November 2, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Hearing how other guys have had these kinds of issues makes me feel better about my drunken nights because I never reached that point.

::pats self on back::

Nicole November 3, 2010 at 8:03 am

I've never shat on myself (as an adult) or been shat on.

Strangely, I feel inadequate and disappointed in myself. I want to be part of the club too!

I did however get shat on by a horse just this summer! And of course I blogged about it, with a re-creation video of the incident. Click here to check it out.

alonewithcats November 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Hipstercrite and I are clearly kindred spirits. Masturbating and Elton John? Two of my most favorite things.

I've never been shat on. I don't have any gray pubic hairs. I haven't started any movements, bowel or otherwise. Sometimes when I come to your blog, I can't help but feel inadequate and left out.

Sabrina November 4, 2010 at 2:49 am

Amazing! I love it. Can't wait to witness some taboo tales in action when we get home. Which is way too soon by the way.

Gorilla Bananas November 5, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Well, at least he didn't shit ON you to obtain sexual gratification. The other thing women have to watch out for is men who like to watch them pee.

Alexia November 6, 2010 at 7:15 am

What a brilliant, brilliant idea!


I don't know how to work this in so I sound witty, but that's what I thought of when I read this post- that taboo poo tales can be called 'tapoo'.

I don't have a poo story but I was amused that 'I need to poo' were my first words yesterday morning.

Also, Rahul, yes, it's true. Everyone in Europe (well, Mediterranean) lives with their parents. I don't though. I live in the bungalow in their garden.

Nikki November 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm

The next time you do a show, please let me know – I'm in LA and would LOVE to come. Sounds a lot like "Mortified" but more cathartic.

Lindsay November 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm

OMG! Love it!

I mean, not that you rolled in poo. But the stories. The stories!

Take THAT Snooki. Hmph.

Anna Metcalf November 10, 2010 at 11:03 am

I've been following your blog, Laurenne, since reading your Venice article on Huff Post. Thank you for this – inappropriate behavior is one of my favorite themes to write about. Looking forward to collaborating with a fellow oft-inappropriate Venice hippie chick.

lex [lexinthecity] November 13, 2010 at 12:56 pm

1. I once ate rabbit poo. I had a rabbit, and I had some of those delicious nerds. I dropped the nerds and accidentally ate a terd instead of a nerd. For real.
2. I love poo stories, I even had a poo calendar. So I'll be looking forward to more taboo tales!!!!

Brooke Farmer January 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I almost shat myself on my morning walk today. It made me think of you and I thought I would stop by to let you know that.

I was wearing a skirt and a thong. Would have made for a very bad day.

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