I Said ‘I Love You’ Because I Had To Poop
By Heather Haines
I’m a romantic. I’m one of those women who started reading Harlequin novels in junior high and collecting wedding magazines at the age of 12. I’ve not been on the receiving end of too many passionate gestures in the course of my dating life. So the “I love you” moment is big for me.
Few words are as greatly anticipated as those three chubby little piglets: I love you. They hold promise and excitement and endless potential. Often, that twinkling second is well thought out. Occasionally, it’s spur of the moment. In almost every case — one hopes — it’s genuine. Very few people utter the words without the stuff to back it up.
Unless you’re me.
Then you f*** the whole thing up and proceed to build a relationship on the false precept of three words uttered at the airport.
Let’s back up.
My main squeeze, a firefighter and a hopeless romantic, was called home for a family funeral. We’d been dating four months. I met him online. My best friend picked him out. One night we’d been making soy candles (don’t judge), drinking wine, and looking through my current online dating venue. He emailed me the next day and we went on our first date two weeks later.
Fast forward to early-relationship status. We’re not seeing other people and I’ve hidden my profile on all dating sites. The Firefighter was nice, but I found his jokes boring and was coming to realize he talked too much. He also liked Sinatra, which annoyed me. On the plus side, he drove a cool vintage Bronco, liked theatrical scores to movies (nerd bonus) and his legs looked good in shorts and flip flops.
I guess all that saving people’s lives thing was a good leg workout.
However, he was pushy about deepening our relationship. He had that smarmy insurance guy thing going (probably because he sold insurance on the side) and regularly tried to sell insurance to all my friends.
OK. So back to the airport. I tucked my little SUV in a departure spot and hopped out of the car to hug and kiss him goodbye; he was headed to the funeral. After all, four months of dating necessitated I exit the car for a full frontal hug; I’m not a monster. I committed the act out of social courtesy. I really didn’t want to move from the driver’s seat. It was early in the morning and my regular activities were ready to get started.
In other words, I needed to get home to poo.
However, the Firefighter was lingering. He kept talking, trying to make me laugh. It’s like he was hoping for something, I didn’t know what. I felt my stomach tighten and knew I had a limited amount of time. I shifted my feet and hugged him again.
He kissed my cheek again and continued talking about how much he’d miss me.
By now, I didn’t just need to “use the restroom.” That was far too kind and gentle a phrase to describe the biological function raging inside me. I full on had to sh**.
But he wasn’t taking any hints. Three hugs later I was pretty sure I was gonna poop my pants. I wasn’t thinking clearly anymore. I needed this to end. Now. My brain grew frantic.
“Ok. I love you.” It slipped out before I even knew what happened. Forget pooping my pants. I’d just had a verbal shart.
You see, we weren’t yet at the all-too-comfortable phase of our pubescent relationship where I could tell him, Babe, I gotta go. I need to poo. I was still trying to act like a lady and pretend I didn’t have emergency poos. So, while trying to be polite and maintain my ladylike façade, I opened my mouth and a little nubbin of turd popped out instead. I thought I was just going to utter another lingering good-bye, but no, the Holy Grail of Early Relationship No-No’s popped out.
I hopped in the car, unable to fix what I’d just done, and left him standing there like someone had just handed him a bar of gold; he was shocked, delighted.
I did the only thing I could think of. I called my best friend.
“You did what?” she demanded. She knew I wasn’t feeling the Firefighter. I was kinda riding that wave because nothing better had come along. I know, it’s not the most mature thing, and years later, it’s still painful to admit.
“I wasn’t thinking. I had to poop and he wouldn’t stop talking. I was just trying to get him to stop moving his lips,” I explained.
“Well, it worked.” I could still hear her laughing when I disconnected the call.
That was the beginning of the end. It took two years to finish what had started as a verbal crap.
When the Firefighter returned from the funeral, I was there to pick him up at the airport. This time I made sure to go to the bathroom before I left the house, lest I poo-mumble my way into another disaster. I met him at baggage claim — once again erring on the side of extraneous kindness — and realized when I saw him hurrying down the escalator, bumping into his fellow passengers, that he was overcome with excitement. Words bubbled out of his mouth as he crushed his lips to my ear.
“I knew you meant it. I knew it was real because of your face when you said it. You surprised yourself. I love you too.”
Nooooo! I soooo did not mean it. I had to poop! I didn’t mean to say it!
But how on earth do you explain that to someone? He’d think I was lying or playing a cruel joke. For the first time I realized there are moments when honesty simply won’t work.
He was a nice guy. But I was nowhere near in love with him. But instead of telling him the truth, I got caught up in the moment. I told myself I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and there were worse men to be involved with. I convinced myself that my sleight of mouth wasn’t so bad, when I should have been persuading myself to get out of the relationship.
In trying to convince myself that I loved him, I only ended up distancing myself from him, which in turn made him feel alienated. He in turn, began pursuing another woman. I found out and kicked him out of the house.
That is the super short version. My actions led to his actions, which led to his clothes in a laundry basket on the front porch.
All because I was too embarrassed to admit my love-admission was actually poo duress.
The moral here could be any one of a host of different ideas: Always go to the bathroom before heading to the airport, don’t ever talk when you have to poop or . . . do the right thing. Even when it’s uncomfortable as hell and you have no idea how to do it.
But seriously, who tells someone they love them instead of just saying, I’m sorry, I have to leave because I really need to go to that bathroom?
Yep, that would be me. The hopeless romantic, eschewing love one bowel movement at a time.