One of the things about going back to school is that I have to make exponentially more trips to public restrooms. I am not sure what in a person’s subconcious causes this weird phenomenon, but I have a hell of a time peeing when there is even one other person in the room with me or in the immediate vacinity. This malady even plagued me in my carousing days when I thought I was going to rupture my bladder. Little Blade gets shy and doesn’t want to talk when people are within earshot.
Strangely enough, in the acting I have done, I have not suffereed at all from stage fright in its original meaning. Now if I had to pee on stage, that would be another story.
I cannot believe no one wants to discuss on this topic. It goes to the heart of what is wrong in today’s society. We as a nation and race must let down our borders and not be afraid to share our happiness and our frustrations, our joys and our pains, and our peeing and not peeing. Above all, we must notlet the prejudices of our collective pasts affect our future.
Please, join hands with me. Place your hand in my freshly anti-bacterial soap washed hand and unburden your soul. You will be doing yourself, me, and, most importantly, our planet a tremendous favor.
I’ll jump in. I really REALLY enoy starting conversations with complete strangers at urinals. I will usually take the urinal directly next to a guy, even if theres a ton of empty ones, just to make him uncomfortable. It’s terribly entertaining.
I dont suffer from stage fright in the sense you mention (should we term it Toilet Terror instead?).
I’m not a huge fan of public toilets it must be said, but I think that stems largley from hating urinals rather than having to pee within sight/earshot of someone else. I guess stints in both boarding schools and the armed forces quickly removes any embarassment over your dangly bits or performing toilet related duties around others.
When I was in the Navy, I was told by the doc on our boat that a “shy bladder” was a bona fide medical condition. He stopped short, however, of giving me a note that said everyone had to leave the head when I came in to pee.
Tyjenks, shy bladder syndrome (paruresis if you want to get all technical) is well known to psychologists and urologists. Most people just adjust to it by not using public restrooms, but the condition is easily treatable and has a good success rate. As a side benefit, some of the cognitive-behavioral techniques you’ll learn can be applied to your teeth grinding problem you posted about earlier this year.
I’ve heard good things about this book, but haven’t looked through it myself.
On the original topic, I hardly ever suffer from stage fright, bathroom-related or not. Maybe one time in 30, my hand or voice will be shaky for the first few minutes, but it has no relation to how stressed I am. I’ve had a shaky voice for a lecture I’ve given 5-6 times, and will sound just fine when I’m knee-deep in the middle of a new class & just prepped the lecture 2 hours before.
Anyway, I have zero problems with urinating in public. I had a guy come up to me while I was pissing in the sink at a U2 concert, I guess he worked at the stadium, and say “You know, that’s a fine.” I was totally plowed (but, like, every sink in the joint had a dick in it at the time - it was during “Desire”), so I think I said “It sure is!” because I didn’t quite understand him at first. He left, dejected or something. What am I going to do, stop mid-stream? That’s how you get prostate cancer, fella!
However, to Hell with taking a dump in a public restroom. What do you call that, Finch Bowel Anxiety? Oh, it’s got to be one of those dumps that come out like a flock of pigeons to get me to drop trou and relieve myself in a public grunter. Seriously, the last public restroom I took a crap in was the LA County Museum of Art, last summer. I still get chills to think of the time I was in a bar, taking another one of those Defcon 4 shits, and the drunk dude who just took a squirt turned the motherfucking lights off on me. I’d’ve killed him if I hadn’t had mudbutt.
Isn’t public speaking the #1 biggest phobia? Well, you cure it like any phobia, with attenuation, repitition,and preparation. Start small, work your way up, keep at it, always be prepared. I’ve been teaching in one form or another for about ten years. I still get a little shaky on day 1 of any class, when all the faces are new and blank. I just remember what it’s like to be in the audience, what a student would really want or expect out of an instructor. There’s a funny disconnect people get going from student to teacher. Be prepared, but don’t try to be a Knowitall. The smart, quiet kid in the back will know right away if you’re trying to guess or bullshit your way out of a question, simply because you aren’t sure of the answer but you feel compelled to have an answer for everything. The kid who asked you the question will find out later, and they’ll both tell everybody. And then you’re dead. Students, deliberately or just out of ignorance, will ask outlandish questions. You don’t have to answer them. “We don’t have time to go over that in class, but if you and anyone else is interested, we can talk about it after class is over.” It depends on the class, of course. I used to teach Biology and Chemistry for the KAPLAN prep center for the MCAT, OAT and PCAT. So, tangential questions that would take a long time to explain would get turfed with that reply I mentioned. “Sorry, we only have so much time, you have only so much time to study for this thing. You have to focus your study.”
But regardless, be prepared. Fully, like. Oh, I’ll just read these prepared notes from the syllabus or outline or Oh, I don’t need to make notecards or practice saying this aloud in front of anyone are both assumptions doomed to failure. That will make you hesitant, nervous, and/or frustrated. Ever had a teacher get frustrated with you for asking an honest, relevant question? Approval Rating takes a sharp dip after that. When I took KAPLAN for the MCAT, my biology instructor sat down on the front table, with nothing in his hand, and said “Well, I don’t have any notes. Why don’t you guys ask me questions?” I stood up and walked right out and into the self-study room, and never attended a bio class again. Although, apparently awhile later, he brought in notes and stuff, since people complained. A KAPLAN course is what, $1300 or more by now. These kids are paying out the nose for this course. I kept that in mind when I taught for them. “Hey guys, you paid big time for this course. You need me, you call me. They pay me to tutor you if you need it. It’s no inconvenience. This is the test where you can’t let anything slide, not one thing.” Don’t fiddlyfuck around or mince words when you shouldn’t.
I had to get a side job as a music journo, just to be able to get access to proper toilets at rock festivals.
Because the stage where I’m inibriated enough to piss in public is also the stage where I’m willing to jump naked from a tall building, eat bugs, walk on water… or most likely keel over unconscius in some shrubbery (which bearing the nature of rock festivals probably had been used as urinal by all the “unburdened” guests).