Ah, poop tea.
We’ve all heard of it. Probably in less vulgar terminologies like, “flat tummy tea” or “ballerina tea.” But let’s not kid ourselves: it’s a nightmare. In the off-chance you are unfamiliar, various brands stuff tea bags full of natural laxatives that you steep into a steaming hot mug of water to create an insidious brew that causes you to shit your brains out.
Many digital influencers peddle this tea with paid partnerships in the hopes of flattening the stomachs of their followers by reducing bloat. In tune with our monthly theme of “Embracing Femininity,” many of said influencers are women. I thought to myself as I was indulging in a particularly large lunch that I had made for myself during the current quarantine: “Is there really something to this tea? Can men participate? What does it say about our culture?”
Seven hours later I found the answer to all three of my questions: albeit being six pounds lighter than when I posed the queries to myself.
I was able to procure a bag of poop tea for the purpose of my experiment from a friend who had an extra stash. I purposely didn’t ask my friend, Maureen, what her experience had been with the tea because I wanted to go in “blind,” so to speak.
Now, I must say, that I love being a guinea pig, as YOU ALL KNOW. I’m quite adventurous both physically and mentally and relish soaking in new experiences (mainly so I can write about them, but also) so I can have a more well-rounded perspective on the world. I was thrilled to try this poop tea. Thrilled, I say!
I boiled some water, poured it into my trusty grey mug, steeped the bag, and sipped. In fact, I sipped so fast – it actually tasted rather good – that I poured myself another mug and reused the same tea bag. The dark amber color in the second cup alerted me that the potency would be just as flavorful as the first cup.
I’m not sure why, but for some reason I expected the tea to work immediately. It did not. I googled how long it would be for the tea to take effect and I discovered it would be between six and nine hours. It was 9:20am when I began to slurp my tea, so I was looking at about a 3:30pm poo time.
After catching up on some Netflix, almost like clockwork, I felt a rumbling in my stomach. I glanced at my phone: it was 3:36. I scrambled to the bathroom in a hurry.
I should preface that prior to this experiment, I had not had a bowel movement for almost four full days – don’t ask me why. Though I had some discomfort, my initial “deposit” wasn’t…umm…impressive? So, I headed back to my perch on the couch.
And then. THEN! It happened.
This time, compared to the dull pain in my belly before, a sharp pain stabbed me right in the gut. I bolted up from the couch and darted back into the bathroom where I doubled over in agony. In one fell swoop, I began to sweat uncontrollably and felt my forearms go almost completely numb. I ripped off my shirt and threw it across the room in a mixture of disgust and annoyance.
In fact, the pain in my stomach was so intense that I feared I was going to explode from both ends, if you catch my drift. I grabbed the small white wastebasket next to my toilet and overturned its contents into the sink so I had something to catch my upheaval, if it came to that point.
My insides were ablaze. It felt like my intestines were a wet rag being wrung out by a large-handed, sturdy Russian woman on laundry day. Everything – and I do mean everything – I remembered eating (and then some) spewed out of my body in a violent defecatory stampede. I could barely breathe. I bellowed out an audible yell of terror and crumbled to the floor in a lifeless heap.
I wouldn’t say I “blacked out” per se, but things did become quite fuzzy. I could barely pick myself up because of my weakened arms, and the entire time it was like there was a micro ninja inside my stomach who was punching, kicking, and doing backflips against my abdominal walls.
I gave it a few more minutes, and then, just as swiftly as the onset of the hell descended upon me, it went away. I picked my head up, looked around to make sure no one had seen the ordeal, and took a deep breath to steady myself. What horrified me most of all? As I groggily waddled back into my living room to Maureen (who had demanded she be with me for the event in case something were to go awry), I whispered in a shaky voice, “Do I look thinner?”
I had completely and utterly, drank the Kool-Aid. And It terrified me.
What did the poop tea teach me? It sure as shit (pardon the pun) works! Also, men can indeed participate in the masochistic ritual and come to the same results (though in all honesty, it didn’t make my belly any flatter after one use). What startled me most, though, was the fact that women indulge in this act as something of a routine. This proves, unwaveringly, that women are 10x stronger than men. I imagine that poop tea is akin, in some respects, to childbirth, which the tea taught me that I was definitely not cut out for.
It pains me to think about the possibility of having a daughter some day and to contemplate that she might, like so many young children, be so impacted by the media that she feels the need to poison herself semi-regularly in order to look a certain way. We should be celebrating the bodies we have instead of subjecting ourselves to pain and torment in an effort to get “upgraded ones” so that we can feel accepted by society. The only acceptance we should really be looking for, and that is arguably the most important, is that from ourselves.
Funnier still is the notion that men don’t really care how women look THAT MUCH. Sure, the male gaze has always been a dangerous predator, but let’s face it: in the real world, when faced with real women, guys will take whatever they can get. Would they like to sleep with a model? Sure! But they would just as happily sleep with any bevvy of women.
Instead, it seems that women are the ones unwittingly putting pressure on other women to obtain lithe bodies. There seems to exist an unspoken competition of which woman among many, at a cocktail party let’s say, can look the most svelte. This, of course, only results in great shame when that svelte standard is unachievable for every woman in attendance.
We all need to go at our own pace. We all need to be forgiving with what we put our bodies through. We all must do what works for us.
This is not to say that I’m a proponent of laziness. In fact, I abhor laziness above most things and adore fitness and working out so that we can optimize our health and wellness. But let’s not get too crazy with it, kids, shall we? Stick to pushups and crunches instead of resorting to the witchcraft of poop tea.
Do I regret poop tea? Absolutely not. It was an experience definitely worth having so I could understand more about myself. And if you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend trying it – ONCE – to see how you mentally metabolize what you’re doing to yourself in the broader sociological context.
**This is also something I would only recommend trying during a quarantine when you have absolutely nowhere to go and are probably stocked to the brim with toilet paper.