Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I have urinal issues.

Men's bathrooms are unpleasant places. They're austere and the amount of urine on the floor will vary from minimal to overwhelming, but some urine is always present. My understanding is that women's rooms are not like this. I gather that they smell kind of nice, sometimes have couches, and will offer pampering items like lotion.

You will never ever ever see a couch in a men's room. If you start putting couches and lotion in men's rooms, it's pretty much guaranteed that guys are going to jerk off in there. You can't give us nice things. We'll just soil them.

So, men's rooms are the sort of place where you just want to do your dirty business and get out of there. The fastest way out of there is to use the urinal. It doesn't require pressing your ass onto a toilet seat, and often it'll flush itself, minimizing the contact you have to have with the men's room.

Sometimes, in large public venues, there aren't any discrete urinals. Instead, you'll get a communal trough, where men line up next to each other, or across from each other in the circular variety, and do their peeing together. This is the nastiest of the nasty. Even the thought of my pee mixing with some other guy's pee makes me feel uncomfortable. I'm squirming just writing this. Peeing in a trough is one step up from just whipping it out and peeing in the gutter. Barely.

Slightly better than that is the row of urinals with no divider between them. In this situation, I'm still forced to pee alongside John Q. Public, but at least our urine won't mix. It's the little things.

Finally, the finest of men's rooms will have a small, divider between the urinals. It's always very small, maybe two or three feet high, and one foot wide, but it's something. It's a tiny little bit of reassurance, about 2 square feet, that I'm not peeing as a group activity.

The first decision a man has to make in a public bathroom is his choice of urinals. This can be a complex choice, based on a variety of criteria:

1) Proximity to other men - this is to be minimized
2) Height of urinal - some are placed for kids
3) Amount of urine on floor
4) Contents of urinal

There's always piss around the floor of a urinal. I'm not sure if it's from guys who miss (the urinal is RIGHT THERE, dudes!), or it could be from some vigorous post-pee shaking, or maybe some guys just like to mark their turf. I suspect the vigorous-shaking theory, but who knows. Either way, I try to find a urinal that's not next to some guy already peeing, doesn't contain fluids or substances from the previous pee-er, is at a grown-up height, and doesn't have too much urine on the floor. Usually all four criteria can't be met.

After I pick my urinal, I then spend a moment determining which way I should pee, to minimize the splash-back. Usually, I aim for a side wall. I figure, with a semi-sideways stream, most of the splash-back will bounce INTO the urinal instead of onto my pants. Some urinals aren't deep enough to have a good side wall, so then I'm forced to aim onto the back wall. I'll still try to pick an angle that will let the least amount of urine bounce out of the urinal. I have no idea if other men do the same thing.

Finally, there's that urinal cake at the bottom of the urinal. I have no idea what it's for. You could aim at it, but it's a bit splashy. Regardless, it is delicious.

That's pretty much the urinal situation. It's nasty, but it's better than the toilets. I'll hold my bowel movements as long as is physically possible before I'll plop my springtime-fresh ass onto a public toilet seat. Sometimes I'll have to enter the stalls if I need to take my daughter to the bathroom in some public place. I do my best to avoid this. My wife is well aware of the hygiene situation in men's rooms, so she usually takes the kid to the lavender-scented ladies room, but if she's not around, then we're doomed. I'll have to inspect all the stalls, trying to find the one that has the least amount of feces and urine present. It's fun for all.

My final commentary on urinals, and public restrooms in general, is that I love the touchless appliances in there. I rarely have to manually flush a urinal these days. Hazzah! New public restrooms often have the sinks that turn on when you place your hands in them, and, once in a blue moon, you get the paper towel machine that's motion activated too. That's a freakin' godsend. I'm no germ-phobe, but the fewer urine-soaked surfaces I touch, the better.

Finally, as long as we're still on the bathroom topic, I'm going to admit that when I'm at home, I sit. No splash-back, no urine dribbling on the floor. Nada. Just clean pee action. If this makes me less of a man, then so be it.

There you have it, all of my public bathroom neuroses in one place. Who wants cake?


amy said...

I stumbled by accident and found your blog. OH MY GOSH. I'm still laughing, I even have a tear. Thank you!!! I needed to find some one else with urine and weird bathroom rules and issues....to giggle with. Yes the chick bathroom is heaven compared to you but we have to battle with the weird stray pubic hairs left on the seats, tampons that didn't flush and urine drops on the seat as well. Enough for me to wish I was wearing a DEPEND undergarment. If I haven't already dry heaved after seeing any of those charming nuggets left behind, then I will do my best to squat over a seat and not let my flesh touch the porcelin god... yet in the midst of being beyond intoxicated, no one ever looks for weird shit when hugging the porcelin god to puke. So go figure?!?

Craig McComas said...

Don't forget man, if you absolutely have to saddle up next to another dude, keep your eyes on the road...hands at two and ten the whole ride.

Mike said...

Inky, I've never mastered the squat. I went to the bathroom in a japanese bathroom once, where I had to squat over the toilet and it was a perilous experience. I nearly toppled.

Craig, ten and two? Don't I get to hold it? What if it sprays around like an unmanned firehose? I'm not one of those both-hands-on-the-wall guys, nor am I one of those guys who can pee with their hands on their hips. I love those guys, they look like urinal superheroes.

Mike said...

I was stationed in Korea for a year, and was pretty much in culture shock the whole time. The urinals there are basically troughs, and urinating is a community event. Korean men have no qualms about poking their heads inches away from your "stream" in order to get a good look at your genitals, and make comparisons.

Mike said...

Comparisons? Yikes! I hope you, uh, measured up ok.

Bob Thomas said...

In 2004 I went to watch the Tour de France - of course you can't help but see and experience many other things besides seeing cyclist ride by - one was the truly "outdoor" urinals that they have at sporting events.

Go to the link below to see a photo of one - some are brown and have a surface that is supposed to resemble tree bark.

One advantage - you don't get the feeling of being "in" the men's room.


Mike said...

Bob, those are great! I've peed in bushes and smelly port-a-potties enough times to appreciate the simplicity of those babies.

Anonymous said...

In cleaning a men's restroom at a theater complex, to say I was disgusted, is an understatement.

Why do grown men behave like that? Urine ALL over the walls, not 'splash back, this urine is above the height of the toilet, and beyond. One toilet was left unflushed, with um, several "floaters' present.

Between skid marks and this, it's no wonder there are so many lesbians out there.

Have more respect for yourselves, you are supposed to be adults. Jeez.

Mike said...

Anon, I can sort of understand the floaters. In order to flush the toilet, you have to touch it even more than you already have. I never like flushing public toilets (but I do do it). Regardless, I agree that men's bathrooms are disgusting places.