A Brief Examination of the Male Psyche through the Medium of the Public Urinal

I have the vague suspicion that I may have been, to some extent, here before.  If certain parts of today’s rambling leaves you with a distinct sense of déjà vu (literal translation ‘Well, that book was a complete waste of money’) I can only apologise and hope that you might, never-the-less find sufficient in the other bits to provide a few minutes of entertainment and (dare I say it?) education.

There is a point, when temporary uncertainty flashes through the male brain, at which the sight of a urinal comes as a great relief: you are in the right room.  I am of an age when a wordless icon on a toilet door does not necessarily cut it for me, but unless the world – or its physiology – has changed far more than I imagined, you can relax when you see the little porcelain stall, you don’t get them in a ladies lavatory.  The world is, however, changing – gender neutrality is the new black – and in the interests of all concerned, I feel it important that everyone understands the rules…

Let us begin with the typical four stall wall, running from the hinge side of the door – thus hidden when the door is opened – to a corner in the room.  When a man faces four empty stalls, he never uses the first one, near the door, as he would feel too vulnerable.  Nor does he use the corner one, as he feels too trapped.  He will always use stall two or three, and as vulnerability usually trumps entrapment, that will put him at stall three, just away from the corner.  Now, the most important of all male toilet rules comes into force: you never stand immediately alongside anybody unless there is no proper alternative.  So, the next person into the loo must now use stall number one, nearest to the door.  Enter gent number three.  He has to stand next to somebody, but he does not have to stand between two, so he goes to the corner.  Enter male number four.  He has to use stall number two.  He cannot just walk out, although he is tempted (the embarrassment factor would be just too high) so he takes his place.  This routine never varies.  Look straight forward.  NEVER speak!

‘So,’ I hear you thinking out loud, ‘you are on holiday, why on Earth are you so occupied with urinals?  Is there something you should be telling us?’  Well, no, but here’s the thing, I have just used the toilet at the bar of the hotel for the first time and there, squeezed between the door and the corner, are just two urinals and I am all at sea etiquette-wise because – this is a bar after all – somebody is almost certain to follow me in and I need to know what they are likely to do.  The space is small.  If I go for stall number one, will the newcomer squeeze past me to get to stall number two?  If that is the prospective scenario, then I must go to stall number two myself to prevent such an embarrassing situation arising, but who – other than Jack Horner – heads to the corner out of choice?  Bravado is required.  I go to the corner and when the next person enters I allow them to believe that the person at stall one has left whilst I was ‘mid-mission’, aware immediately that this will ultimately require me to ‘finish first’ and squeeze my way out past them.

Man number two duly enters, appraises the situation instantly, and prepares to use the only toilet cubicle in the room instead of the urinal, until he realises that it has a frosted glass door.  Somehow he feels more exposed behind this than at a urinal and quietly withdraws and waits patiently in the corridor outside.

It is good to know that a certain order remains in all things…

17 thoughts on “A Brief Examination of the Male Psyche through the Medium of the Public Urinal

  1. Or, option three; go out around the back, and in that dark place between the stack of pallets and the skip, take your ease. Beware leaving evidence, especially if you’re wearing white sneakers. I speak from soggy experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You forgot to mention what I like to call, the ‘P**s syndrome’. That is the inability to urinate whilst someone is standing next to you! His might be flowing like a cart horse but yours has a stop valve that will not open under any circumstances until you are the only one left in the room. Often I’ve re-zipped and made some feeble comment about not being able to go and then waited outside of the loo giving the impression that I am waiting for my wife to appear from the ladies loos, and then leaping back into the gents at the first opportunity in order to divest myself of several pints of overpriced ale before the squeaky door hinge sounds it’s warning and the stalls start to fill again….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s interesting to me that the rules are very similar here. But I’m not above using the toilet stalls, either, though. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s will more than likely always be one person using the only available lockable lavatory cubicle. Sat there grunting during the duration of your visit, lots of audible shuffling around, belt buckle clanking on the floor and the scent of something that you definitely wouldn’t want to dab behind the ears on a first date… or any date! Also, you never get to see who it is in there, as they will not appear until the automatic hand dryer falls silent and there are no audible footsteps.. The worst thing is when you enter a public loo and someone is just leaving and you walk into a god awful stench and then someone else walks in whilst you are washing your hands. That’s when the paranoia sets in.. Does he think that was me? I bet he does! and to top it off, he sits down at the next table to you or directly behind you at the theatre… First world problems eh!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. And top it all off with a visit from the willy watcher: the man who slides into the stall next to you but never seems to actually do anything other than smile… Very disconcerting.

        Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.