Awkward toilet moment couples face
This is it. My worst nightmare has come to fruition.
I'm frantically thrusting the foot pedal of a pump-toilet in a one-metre-square cubicle on a boat.
There's a knock at the door.
"Is everything okay in there?"
This was not the plan for how today would go.
We'd been invited on a yacht by some sea-loving friends. Having had just the one nautical expedition under my belt, I'd admittedly been naive about how to prepare for the occasion.
"There's not going to be any room for all that on board," the skipper had muttered, as I struggled onto the tiny, bobbing deck with two oversized hampers of unpronounceable cheeses destined for a boat I'd envisioned to be many times larger.
"Now, first things first, a little admin," the skipper announced in a delightfully chipper English accent as we broke away from the wharf.
"Make sure you wear sunscreen," he instructed us, looking around at all the exposed, pale skin reflecting back at him.
"What are we, on a school trip here?" I snickered to the friend beside me.
"And does everyone know how to use a boat toilet?" he continued, ushering us down into the cabin.
"Yes, we all know how to use it," I interrupted, wholly disinterested and already mentally planning how I was going to fit the 382 cheeses with me on the cabin's waifish table.
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I was, of course, drawing from my vast knowledge as a seasoned woman of the sea, gleaned during that one time someone invited me on a 40-foot yacht with a fancier bathroom than the one in my apartment and I foolishly assumed all water vessels contained their own sophisticated plumbing.
"What's wrong? You've barely said anything," a friend queried, a couple of hours later.
"I think I'm seasick," I murmured, feeling my stomach surge as the yacht slammed into the sea for the umpteenth time.
There was a loud, foreboding gurgle from somewhere deep inside my gut. An instant feeling of dread washed over me.
I lunged into the cabin, hurling myself at the toilet, frantically throwing off my pants in time for my insides to exorcise themselves, mere feet beneath where the rest of the group were chatting to our posh English skipper over champagne.
"Is anyone using the toilet?" I heard a mumble from the deck above some moments later, as it was occurring to me there was no air freshener anywhere in sight.
My eyes darted around the cubicle, desperately in search of a vent, a window, something to aerate the room.
"I think Nadia's in there," came a second voice from above.
"She's been in there a while, I'll go check on her," my boyfriend's voice followed.
Scrambling back into my pants, I reached for the flush button on the cistern. It wasn't there.
There was a knock on the door.
"Nadia? Are you in there?" my boyfriend's voice reverberated through the cubicle.
The flush button. SWEET BABY JESUS, where was the flush button?!
"Can I come in? I want to make sure you're okay," he persisted.
That's when I saw it - the medieval pump system at the foot of the toilet. With my boyfriend's voice still echoing through the door, I began feverishly thrusting the pump back and forth.
To my sheer horror, no amount of exertion made the evidence of my intestinal explosion disappear.
The skipper's words rung out in my mind - "Does everyone know how to use a boat toilet?"
'IT WON'T FLUSH!'
Now having been gone from the deck so long I could hear other conversation erupting from above about whether someone else should go check on me, I opened the door a crack to signal for help.
"It won't flush. What am I doing wrong?!" I pleaded.
"Let me in and I'll take a look," my boyfriend replied matter-of-factly.
After three years together, our relationship had faced many challenges, but none involving my having violent diarrhoea in a toilet cubicle on a yacht.
This was one relationship milestone I wasn't ready to surmount.
"I'd really rather not," I insisted, already feeling the weight of the door pressing against me as he pushed it open.
"I'm sure it's not that bad," he asserted, suddenly bursting in.
"Now go back up to the deck for some fresh air."
Fifteen anxious minutes later, my boyfriend emerged from the cabin area, his face pale and dotted with sweat.
"Babe, it's not good in there. We're going to have to notify the skipper," he whispered, glancing over at our refined English captain, looking proudly out to the horizon in his pristine white sailing attire.
"You couldn't fix it? But you're an engineer. Surely it can't be that hard!" I pleaded desperately.
We were, by now, three hours and several bottles of prosecco into our sea voyage. It was only a matter of minutes 'til one of the other passengers made their way down to the crime scene I'd left in the toilet.
"I don't know what to tell you. It's bad. Like, really bad," my boyfriend continued, taking my hand in his stoically, as if having just informed me I had a few months left to live.
"Everything okay, chaps?" our skipper yelled across the deck, alerting the group's attention to our tense conversation.
My boyfriend gestured solemnly toward the cabin.
There is perhaps no greater defining moment in one's relationship than when they have to unblock a toilet with an English skipper after you lost control of your bowels at sea.
In fact, if your union hasn't weathered at least one experience involving a humiliating malfunction of your gastrointestinal system, it's worth asking yourself, do you even really have a relationship at all?
After what felt like an eternity, my boyfriend and the skipper emerged from the cabin, both appearing colourless and shell-shocked.
Shooting a look of disgust at my boyfriend, our skipper announced angrily to the group, "Chaps, you need to pump the toilet after you use it".
"Oh my God! You told him?!?" I whispered furiously to my boyfriend as he rejoined me.
"Don't worry. I took the fall for you. I said it was me," he smiled back at me.
My boyfriend and I may have been banned from ever chartering a boat in Sydney again and it's quite possible our skipper may require therapy after his toilet ordeal, but I learned a valuable lesson about relationships that day.
True love means knowing your partner will take the fall for you when you poop yourself.
Nadia Bokody is a freelance writer and Instagram influencer. Continue the conversation on Instagram | @nadiabokody