Sir John Harrington, godson to Queen Elizabeth, brought the modern commode from the drawing board to the plush rooms of Richmond Palace. It wasn’t exactly what you have in your powder room today, but he had the idea down.
But before Sir John and Thomas Crapper, another bright toilet tinkerer (yes, his last name was Crapper), worked out the contraption we all sit on multiple times a day, we emptied our bowels the old-fashioned way: squatting in appropriate and sometimes inappropriate locations.
Our lives forever became much more convenient. No more squatting in an inconspicuous spot behind a bush out in the cold or the hot sun, or using chamber pots! By the late 19th century, most homes in the developed world had sit-down toilets.
But Mr. Crapper and his colleagues definitely flunked Dark Ages anatomy, because they forgot to account for the meddling puborectalis muscle.
What’s the puborectalis muscle, and what’s it got to do with sitting on the commode? Let me explain.
How long do you spend on the toilet? Maybe you take some time to whip out a magazine or listen to a podcast. I know some of us even make phone calls on the can. But what if I told you there’s a way to speed up the whole process of taking a number two?
Asia’s been at it for years. Maybe that’s why their GDP growth rates are so high.
Modern conventional sit-downs on toilets kink the colon via the puborectalis muscle, which prevents the easy flow of faeces. Squatting, on the other hand, unkinks the colon. This unkinking opens the door to super-fast pooping sessions that may not last long enough for you to get through Ira Glass’ introduction to This American Life.
But before you hop on that toilet seat to experience autobahn-like colon expulsions, you should know that it can be dangerous. People have fallen and hurt themselves, especially on the mounting and dismounting. It’s best that you get a stool or a few phone books to mimic the angle that a squat on the ground would produce.
Happy speed pooping!