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The Doo-doo’s and Don’ts of Discussing Disgusting Matters on a First Date

Screen shot 2015-04-10 at 4.28.18 PMLet’s start this subject off with a cautionary tale from the archives of my first-dating repertoire (and my, how so many stories have yet to be told!). 

Ian was earning his MFT at a tiny university no one in Oakland has heard of. While he told me about seeing patients for the first time, I imagined the sparse rooms and folding chairs he undoubtedly uncomfortably learned in. His red sunglasses rivaled my aqua ones for the “brightest eyewear in the area” award, but there weren’t enough interested tamale-eating patrons in the parklet to get votes worth counting.

“But I used to be a writer,” he said. “I published some books.”

I asked what kind, and he dodged the question like skilled limbo contestant, saying, “Well the most popular thing I’ve written was under a pseudonym. Deuce Flanagan.”

He paused.

I leaned my head in and raised my eyebrows. Considering the one pseudonymed thing I’ve (self)published, I understood that maybe it wasn’t going to be tamale-eating/first-date friendly.

“It’s called Everybody Poops 410 Pounds a Year.” 

For a few starry eyed moments, it was as though God himself had swooped down with the man of my dreams cradled in his arms, unswaddled him, and placed him before me.

I had questions for Ian’s alter ego, Deuce. Not only that, but I had stories.

“Did you know they make you scoop your sample it into different vials yourself now?” I asked. “It’s revolting. But it’s also really interesting. When I did it recently, I pretended I was four-year old me, who would have loved the chance to be that close to my poop. When you were little, were you curious about your own excrement?”

Perhaps it was the sunglasses on his face or the shine sheening over my eyes, but I was unable to tell this man did not want to hear about my recent escapade in giving a stool sample. In fact, I only fully understood I had gone into no-go territory when the date was over and he said, “Well, great meeting you,” and walked away.

The whole Oakland sidewalk suddenly felt as comfortable as a folding chair. And I was really glad I didn’t bring up the time a boyfriend accidentally flung a piece of his own poop on his foot and I immediately reached for a piece of toilet paper while we were brushing our teeth – a story that had been on the tip of my tongue.


Upon reflection, a conversation with my dear friend Garrett, and a sample of poop conversation that worked relayed by my roommate, I’ve learned some things about what an appropriate level of first date shit-talking.

The Do’s and Don’ts of First Date Poop Talk

Don’t discuss personal experience.

Poop talk isn’t off the table on a first date, but talking about your own inner GI gaffs are.

Don’t linger on the subject. 

Even if they bring it up, there’s no need to keep the topic in the toilet (or out of it. Camping, ya know). Even if dating you more will likely result in talking about poop, just give it a cursory glance at this moment.

Do talk about moments that happened near you, just not to you. 

“This one time I was running a marathon and a girl with a shapely behind was in front of me. I was checking her out, until I noticed a brown stain at the base of her shorts,” is a statement made to someone I know on a first date, and it went over well (they’re on date like, seven, now. Probably eight when this goes to publish. And there’s been plenty of kissing).

It’s funny if it was close to you. It’s not funny if it was you.

Do talk about general poop knowledge, not personal poop knowledge. 

“Did you know Mozart was considered a scat-o-phile?” is another conversation actually occurring in the first-datingverse. Again, it’s funny if it’s relatable to lots of humans or to culture. It’s not charming if it’s you.


I hope Ian gets as much mileage out of what I told him on our date as I do from what he told me. Seriously, I’m going to buying that book for everyone I know who buys a new house (ahem, Angie, ahem).

Shit, that’s awesome.

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