As mentioned in my last entry, loyal readers have not been shy about suggesting topics for this blog. Without a doubt, the number one request has been to cover what I call “soundtrack etiquette.”
The bathroom soundtrack is rich and complicated genre.
At one end of the spectrum, it includes the subtle hey-there’s-somebody-in-one-of-the-stalls audio cues you give when you hear the bathroom door open. Potty Blogger is partial to the exaggerated cough, throat-clear or loud sniff. But I knew a guy once who thought subtlety was overrated and would proudly exclaim “fire in the hole!” when he heard somebody enter.
At the other end of the spectrum (literally) is what I call “butt music.” Now let’s be clear: this is a sub-genre about which there are strong feelings and much debate.
Some believe that such tunes do not deserve an audience. Those people, also known as “the clenchers,” will do almost anything to make sure that nary a peep emits from their stall while someone else is in the bathroom. One colleague recently told me that he takes a fork into the stall with him so that he can stab himself in the thigh if he needs to stifle his orchestra.
But others are equally passionate in their belief that this music is the most beautiful and natural music a person can make. They do not want to hide their light, but rather, share it with the world.
When these people perform, they seem to be saying, “Hey, my time in the saddle is my time. I let myself go 100 percent. If that involves squeaks, wheezes, and toots, and you happen to hear it, so be it. Enjoy the symphony, baby.”
A healthy respect for your colonic instrument is one thing, but there are certainly some who take this point-of-view to an unhealthy, exhibitionist extreme. We’ve all found ourselves in a stall next to one of these guys--the ones who grunt, and struggle and emit sounds more commonly associated with the slaughterhouse than the business chamber. We get it, Tchaikovsky--you’re a musical prodigy with your ass flute. Bravo.
Let us all remember that musical tastes vary. One man’s gag-inducing bun warbler is another man’s symphony. Vive la difference!