Zine Review: The Paruretic 2 & 3

The Paruretic 2 & 3
Mark Cunning
24/28 pages

The Paruretic 2 & 3 are black and white, US ¼ sized perzines about living with paruresis: a phobia in which the sufferer is unable to urinate in the real or imaginary presence of others.

I reviewed The Paruretic 1 here: https://seagreenzines.com/zine-review-the-paruretic-1/

Where The Paruretic 1 introduced us to paruresis, what triggered it for Mark, and how it effects Mark’s life, 2 and 3 take us into stories about having paruresis in certain situations. Issue 2 centres around college life and issue 3 centres around being on vacation.

All zines in this series are primarily text, but there’s a difference with these two as they use smaller type and more is packed into them. Like the first one, they both open with a definition of paruresis – the third one expanding to include some resources as well.

In The Paruretic 2, Mark writes about how college was when they discovered that paruresis was not just a matter of shyness and their view of bathrooms (and which were safe and unsafe) had truly changed. The transition to constantly thinking about these things while trying to navigate friendships and perhaps find romance.

While I don’t have paruresis, I identified so much with knowing university is ‘supposed to be’ the time when you really break out of your shell… and not doing anything of the sort because of personal problems. I also know all too well the use of the fake phone call to escape certain situations.

I started reading The Paruretic 3 with some tension, as the subtitle ‘Vacation’ made me think that it must be quite the nightmare scenario. I wasn’t that far off given the experiences Mark shares. I was absolutely glued to his words, no distraction enough to tear me away from the intensity of some of the situations in this zine.

The second half of this issue is a pee diary in which Mark shares their thoughts and anxieties around a vacation that would have me stressed with all the stops and travel involved. While the previous two issues give clear looks into Mark’s life, I feel like the diary gives the most closely personal account of things.

I was impressed with the first zine in this series, but I’m so glad I was able to read these two as well. I feel like a whole new world of understanding has been opened up for me, and I want to share these with everyone. Especially if they have paruresis so they don’t feel alone.

Pick these up. And, if you want to, Mark has a book as well.

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