My informant first heard this proverb in his dormitory at the beginning of his freshman year of college. His residential advisor recommended that no one on the coed floor date each other, regardless of how good looking they may appear to each other. Then, the residential advisor reinforced her point with this proverb. However, the majority of the residents had no idea what she had said. She laughed and explained the proverb.
My informant understands the proverb to mean not to get involved in situations that will inevitably come back to haunt you. My informant explained that, with respect to the aforementioned situation, the resident advisor was suggesting that if anyone were to get romantically involved with anyone else who lived down the hall, it would work out fine until the couple realizes the relationship was a mistake. At this point, there are always hard feelings, and if you have no choice but to live right next to someone you don’t want to see again, you’re in for a bad time. The couple would have to share elevators, dining areas, and common space, even after their fallout. My informant then mentioned that all of the residents of the dorm understood this and adhered to the proverb, except for a few drunken nights.
For this example to make sense, the proverb needs to be broken down. If you, say, crap anywhere you want to, it’ll be worthwhile until you have to return to an area where you’ve already crapped. This is especially problematic if you took a dump where you eat, because, while enjoyable at the time, the odor and mess is going to make you miserable whenever you dine thereafter. Similarly, being with a girl has its benefits, but the breakup will make you miserable if she’s still going to be everywhere you are.
I have been told this proverb at work several times with the intent to keep me from dating female coworkers. This makes sense because I’d be forced to work with that coworker after a breakup and would be expected to perform and interact like nothing had happened. In my opinion, I believe this proverb is just a warning to consider the consequences of your choices.