Posted in The Less Fortunate

Eating On The Toilet

The fine line between poverty and lack of privacy. 

Upon reading this title you probably said “ewwwe” in your mind or maybe “what the fuck?” And then proceeded to question your entire existence. And I don’t blame you. However, eating on the toilet or “toilet eating” is the sad reality and quite the norm for impoverished individuals, including little old me.

I’ll jump in here and insert a warning now:

I often chow down on full course meals in my bathroom while sitting on the toilet. It isn’t by choice it’s because I have no other choice. I’d love to eat in a dining room and sit on a squeaky old wooden chair that let’s out tears and small sighs whenever I place my butt onto it. But unfortunately I don’t have that privilege.

Oh god, I’m praying “content creators” don’t turn “toilet eating” into one of their personality traits and many quirks. 

There’s a show on Netflix called “Grand Army” if you haven’t seen it trust me you aren’t missing out on anything. It’s just another stereotypical high school “the only things minorities experience bull shit”. I’m really just tired of watching the exact same shows with a different title slapped onto it. These shows are pointless because they fail to teach us anything new and don’t present fresh ideas/ actual realities. It fails to be uplifting. 

In one scene one of the main characters Dom enters her household bathroom and sits on the toilet- while her wide-ruled notebook lays on her lap, as she does homework. Her sister who has to pee bangs on the door and Dom yells out “I NEED PRIVACY!”. 

This showcased the epitome of poverty, something so small, a scene so short, a scene that wasn’t designed to hold any major significance. 

The show “Grand Army” is garbage but in that scene I saw myself in Dom, I was Dom, I am Dom. That was me sitting on the toilet doing my homework. And there’s many other Dom’s in this world, some of them are our neighbors, our friends, and our daily acquaintances yet still go unnoticed.

The ever looming shame and embarrassment of being poor and speaking out exclusively about the effects of poverty will never go away. Impoverishment isn’t just being poor and not having any money. Lack of basic privacy is one of them. Having to constantly share, not acquiring any prized possessions, and owning nothing, are all ultimate disappointments poor people face.

Bathrooms are often regarded as unsanitary mutant monsters, where individuals go to release the pent up bull shit they experienced in the past week. 

A bathroom is a literal room, which contains: a shower, a toilet, a sink, toilet paper etc. It seems that the only things missing are a mattress and a box spring. Bathrooms have always been my safe place and have consistently served as an escape from the banality of my life- public libraries too. 

As disgusting as it sounds, yes I do eat while sitting on the toilet. I grew up poor and in a house where I had absolutely no privacy and nothing to myself. The only place I could truly find solace, be alone, and be able to discuss my inner thoughts, ideas, and feelings was in a bathroom.

I’ve shared so many secrets with my toilet, and so far she‘s kept her mouth shut and hasn’t let out a peep to a single soul. I’ve been blessed with a trustworthy toilet! Fuck yeah!

Bathrooms have become my little mental escape. I’m just in this stall all alone and it’s quiet, no ones watching me, (hopefully there aren’t cameras being installed in toilet bowls) there aren’t any loud noises, the shitty pop music the clothing store plays stops as soon as I enter the bathroom. It’s epic. The heightened amount of security I feel in a bathroom/ stall is immense.

I compare going to the bathroom when I don’t actually have to use it to taking a 5 minute smoke break. Without the nicotine of course.  

“Eating on toilets” or “toilet eating” shouldn’t become the new age fine dining experience. And baking lasagnas in toilet tanks shouldn’t morph into a fundamental part of human life. 

Every human being needs privacy, and a place to call their own and store deep secrets; without worrying about a big mouth waltzing around from block- to- block/ street-to-street airing out their business. Everyone deserves to have their own door to close, to cry, to laugh, to dance even if they’re uncoordinated, to eat a good meal, to talk shit about someone else without the possibility of anyone gluing their ear onto a wall so they can eavesdrop.

I can only assume that for some, impoverished individuals, including myself visiting a bathroom whether public or in a household; feels like a short lived vacation. A sacred place where you can pull off your Jason Halloween mask, be their most authentic self, and take a tour of someone else’s place and really enjoy and take in the beautiful scenery. In the end to be surrounded by many yet still feel so alone.

 And you are alone, but it’s a worthwhile feeling of being alone


Hello my name is Maigelle (May-Jell) I'm a native New Yorker and Brooklynite. Creative writing/ literary realism is my love.

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