We’re in the grips of an excrement epidemic. So why do people keep pooing in public?

Serial poopers have been dropping a load on public transport and in the street.

We’re in the grips of an excrement epidemic. So why do people keep pooing in public?
Poop emoji pillow, funny concept, fluffy plush toy
A man was recently captured taking a number two on the back seat of a bus (Picture: Getty Images)

For most of us, defecating is nothing more than a necessary bodily function (and one we’d rather deal with in private). Personal waste management, if you will.

Some, however, see it differently; a form of protest, an act of revenge, or a literaloutlet for visceral emotions which can’t be expressed otherwise.

Recently a man in Shanghai, China, was seen on CCTV pulling down his trousers and unashamedly pooing on the back seat of a bus, and in 2017 an unidentified woman in Colorado, US, was dubbed the Mad Pooper for her habit of pooing in people’s gardens while jogging.

Sharon Osbourne also admitted to sabotaging husband Ozzy’s drugs by taking a number two in his stash, while inmates at Maze Prison in Northern Ireland smeared excrement on their cell walls to make a stand against their treatment.

On the reasons behind this, MBACP accredited therapist Caroline Plumer tells Metro.co.uk: ‘In some cases, the individual may be trying to make a statement, or even protest about something, whether that be a perceived or real issue.

‘There may also be an attention element – this type of behaviour might well draw a crowd or have the potential to be viewed online and in some cases, this may be the objective.’

@metrouk

Unlucky passengers were treated to an unwanted present after CCTV footage seems to show a man going to the toilet on a bus seat. Without a care in the world, he appears to pull his trousers down and squat at the back of the bus, with the driver later discovering the nasty present. If it couldn’t get any worse, the bus company has even revealed that he’d ridden past nine stops, so had so many chances to get off and go to the loo elsewhere. #fyp #viralvideo #viraltiktok #news #chinanews #shanghai #caughtoncamera #bus #transportnews #shockingmoments #worldnews #bustok

♬ original sound – MetroUK

Public pooing isn’t always intentional, though. Who could forget Paula Radcliffe getting caught short in full view of the crowd during the 2005 London Marathon? Clear proof that no matter who you are, when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.

But it is usually a natural response to seek privacy, whether that means dashing to the nearest toilet or sheltering behind a bush. If a more obvious accident does occur, it tends to be a case of extreme gastrointestinal emergency (a la that infamous scene in Bridesmaids) or there may be mental health or addiction issues at play.

‘Believe it or not, how “loose” the stool is can hold some of the answers here,’ says Caroline. ‘A loose bowel movement may suggest someone who is anxious, or indeed unwell, whereas a more solid stool points to intention or even anger. This can help decipher whether the action was intentional and designed to send a message, versus being a very unfortunate accident.’

When done deliberately, public defecation proves to be popular online. But why?

Caroline says: ‘As a society, we are fascinated with anything that is a taboo. There can also be a somewhat childish element of humour to this type of content – which podcasts such as ‘Who sh*t at my wedding?’ do a good job of leaning into.

‘However, there is also a very fine line between what is a bit of fun, and what is potentially crossing a boundary.’

If you don’t know the context and the person is easily identifiable, Caroline recommends thinking carefully before whipping out your phone if you witness a public poo, unless it’s absolutely necessary to ‘record them for your own safety/and or evidence’.

‘Clearly there is a desire for some sort of attention – and by viewing online and sharing this kind of content, we are essentially reinforcing the idea that this type of behaviour not only works in achieving its aim, but that it’s acceptable,’ she says.

‘If you feel this might be dangerous behaviour or the individual may need support, then you are probably best calling the most appropriate officials (police, non-emergency police, security etc).’

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