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We’ve discussed quite a few TMI things on this blog over the years, particularly lady-bits stuff.  Breast lumps, kidney stones, and menopausal symptoms are just a few that come to mind. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? So it’s time we had another of those intimate chats. (In other words, some of you may want to leave now.)

We’re going to talk about bladders. Not pig bladders, which, back in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s days, Pa blew up after the hog slaughter and let the girls play ball with.  But women’s bladders.  Or perhaps just my bladder.  But I don’t think I’m alone.  Which is why I’m sharing the love.

The pig-bladder-ball-playing-picture.

I don’t remember my own potty training as a child. I suspect few of us do. Although I do remember the little enamelware pot that I used. In fact, I still have it. I believe it’s at ex-Pat’s house, and should likely be rescued.  It’s a rather odd childhood memento, but there you are.

Very similar to this one.

Of course, I remember potty training with my own daughter, but out of sensitivity to the fact that she’s a teenager, I won’t discuss any of the entirely entertaining stories I have about that here – yet.  Unless she irritates me.  Then all bets are off.  Because the point of this post really is about my daughter.  At least she’s the cause of the point of this post.

If you are female and you’ve had a baby, you may have noticed that your nether regions aren’t as toned and easily controlled as they were before you had that little bundle of joy.  I believe this is because of the uneven weight distribution of carrying the equivalent of a 40-pound human inside of you, pressing down on said nether regions for nearly a year. There’s really no other experience like it. (And I wouldn’t have traded the experience or the outcome for anything in the world.)

Nor is there any other experience like pushing an entire human body through a hole the size of a quarter.  I don’t care how elastic something is.  Every piece of elastic reaches a stretch point of no return.

Elastic…quarter…only one image missing, and I’ll spare you that.

Following childbirth, many things get back to normal. But a few things don’t quite. You may notice that when you sneeze, you pee just a drop. Or if you laugh ridiculously hard, things get a touch moist down there. Exercise  helps. Toning up those mushcles makes a huge difference. And you can do kegels until the cows come home and no one will be the wiser, nor will you break a sweat. (They’re great at stoplights.) These things WILL make a difference, and you may even find yourself better than ever.

But then, you reach a certain age. And perhaps a certain carelessness with the kegels. It’s that age where you notice that your skin has a few more spots, a few more lines, a bit more of a crepe paper quality to it.  It becomes harder to take off weight when you put it on.  And you can no longer say you’re trying to lose the baby weight when the baby is 16.  Well, of course, you can, but others may look at you oddly. I know they do me. Especially when they ask her age, and I say, “Oh, she’s 190 months now.”

So back to this weird certain-age/bladder thing. This is new to me. Just like always, before I leave the house to catch the bus to work, or to take a long-ish car ride, I check in.  Do I need to go?  The answer is often, “Well, not really, but it wouldn’t hurt anything, so might as well, just in case. It will save any trouble later.”  No big deal, right? It’s a precautionary measure. There is no sense of urgency, as one often feels when one actually needs to go.  And so I enter a bathroom or a bathroom stall accordingly.  Something I’ve done a million times over nearly 50 years.

But here is where things are suddenly different.

It’s as if my bladder has developed a brain of its own.  It’s like the toilet is crack to my bladder.  My bladder is fine up until the time it is within about two feet of a toilet, and then it becomes like a frenzied weasel. It must have that toilet. It must possess it.  It MUST pee. There’s no stopping it.  It doesn’t give a toot about the barriers of jeans and underwear that stand in its way.  It’s going to go.

So what started out as a blase visit to a bathroom becomes, within less than a minute, a desperate race against time to shed my clothes before my bladder decides to damn the torpedoes and go full steam ahead.

Most of the time, I can beat it to the punch, though I’m sure it would be highly entertaining to watch my antics.  Not that anyone will ever get to.  But, given the nature of buttons, snaps, and zippers, the copious fluidity of some skirts, and the tightness of jeans, particularly on a hot summer day, sometimes I come up short.

Super embarrassing.

And then there’s some blotting and wandering around commando for the rest of the day.

I mean, really, am I two again? Like I say, I’ve done this for almost 50 years and NOW I’m lapsing?  WTF, bladder?  Since when did you start making the decisions here, independent of my brain signals?

It’s not enough of a problem for medication, and certainly not enough for Depends, and pantiliners are gross and uncomfortable and I had more than a lifetime’s share of them during pregnancy, so NO to that too. In fact, I’m not asking for any suggestions. I just needed to put it out in the open, because it’s not something we discuss, and as I said at the start, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this, so maybe it’s something we SHOULD discuss.

So, you’re welcome. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do some kegels.

It can happen to the best of us.

When you first start dating someone, you’re always on your best behavior.  You want to make sure you’re properly shaven or otherwise groomed (in other words, you don’t go a month without shaving your legs), that the house is tidy (tidier than you would normally keep it), that you’re dressed to intrigue and impress, and that you don’t do anything that would make the object of your affection think, “Ew, that’s DISGUSTING!  What am I doing with HER/HIM?”

Then, after a while, it’s bound to happen.  One of you is the first to pass wind in front of the other.  And the passer is mortified, while the passee, assuming he/she is still enamored, does everything possible to reassure the passer that “Oh, it’s okay, it’s a natural bodily function, please don’t be embarrassed, etc., etc.”  After all, truly, everybody does it.

Now, when the inital passer is the woman, MOST women will still make best efforts to ensure that, in the future, those normal physical emissions (farting, nose blowing, coughing up sputum, you name it) are done in the privacy of the boudoir or salle de bains.  (And if the inital passer is the woman, most men are absolutely delighted.)

But if the initial passer is the man, MOST men will take that reassurance of “It’s okay, it’s just a normal bodily function,” as carte blanche to suddenly start sharing ALL of their normal bodily functions with total and complete impunity.

Suddenly, the dynamic shifts from a discreet honk in a hankie to a farmer’s blow out the window of a car doing 75 on the interstate.  Passing wind is no longer accompanied by a blush, but now by leg-lifting, ass-thrusting, arm gestures and whoops of delight.

Peeing is not restricted to a bathroom, but to anyplace outside that is screened from the public eye by a door frame, rock, car door or tall weed (maybe).  The belches cease to be stifled – they become melodic (at least to the ears of the belcher), resonant, and occasionally involve portions of the alphabet.  And often, the emitter looks to his loved one for approval, like a dog that proudly brings a half-rotted, half-eaten deer leg to the back door.

I’m not against these sorts of things – I’m a natural kind of girl.  I don’t wear make-up or have my hair done, or get mani/pedis.  I’m happier in jeans, happiest in a sarong, and have no need of designer clothes.

So believe me, I’m not bashing men or judging harshly.  All I know is that, even when I’ve been the one who opens the gas gates, I remain discreet whenever possible.  I don’t quite understand why the opposite sex doesn’t feel the need to do the same.  In fact, they even encourage us women to join in the tooting revels, which also puzzles me.  As if it is something of a turn-on, which I can’t quite understand.

I am a genuine person.  And I think people want to be with genuine people.  But I also have a certain amount of natural decorum, probably from my GRITS upbringing.

Don’t men want women to be somewhat dignified and ladylike?  I mean they don’t want to date another man – if they did, they’d be gay.  Do they want us to engage in extreme cheese-cutting in order to make themselves feel better about their own actions?  I know there’s a certain desire for “a lady in the street and a freak in the bed,” but where does the whole ass-trumpet thing fit in?  Is it better or worse if I wear white gloves while serving air biscuits?

I don’t have the answers (though if you have more questions about barking spiders, visit here,) but I felt it necessary to raise the subject for contemplation, as it’s been on my mind for years.  In every relationship, I’ve opened the floodgates with my reassurance that it’s okay, and then spent the next umpteen years wondering why I did so, and how to close them, even slightly.  But like the “Walter the Farting Dog” series of books, the whole thing has its own unstoppable momentum.

I suspect it’s a lost cause, one of those delightful things that differentiate the sexes.  As a dear friend once told me, you look for the things to love in the people you love.  That’s easy to do – just keep the nose-clothespins handy.

And if anyone ever tells you that a dutch oven is a sign of true love, don’t you believe him.

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