Tales From A Public Restroom

I have a confession to make.  When I made my New Year’s Resolutions earlier this year, I left one out.  It was a secret that I wasn’t ready to share with you until now.  My resolution was to start using urinals.

I admit it.  I use public restrooms rather frequently.  I’m vegan (food tends to move quickly through our systems rather quickly) and I like to stay well-hydrated.  In the past, I’ve always been a fan of using a stall to do my business in private.  It gives me a chance to catch up on Twitter, text with my friends or continue my goal of getting 3 stars in every level of Angry Birds.  But last December, as I was wiping someone else’s pee puddles from a toilet seat, a light bulb clicked on above my head.  And no, it wasn’t just some guy with a flashlight peeking over the stall wall to offer me sexual favors.  It was the realization that just a few feet away it would be more sanitary to urinate while standing.  I wouldn’t have to experience my illogical anxiety about the germs that were latching on to my backside every time that I sat down.  I could break free from the shackles of the filthy public toilet!

I know what you’re thinking.  Why not just stand and pee into a toilet?  Obviously lots of people do it, because there seem to be puddles of urine on every public toilet seat in every public restroom on Earth.  But standing in a stall and peeing when there are available urinals is a sign of weakness.  Of defeat.  Of cowardice.  The man that stands in a stall to pee when urinals are available has something to be ashamed of.  Perhaps his penis is tiny, misshapen and/or diseased.  Or maybe his underpants are disgusting.  Whatever the reason,  that man has something to hide.

I’ve always had an silly fear of urinals.  I don’t like the idea of someone standing at a urinal next to me, of them peeking at me, or of someone engaging me in a conversation while I’m peeing.  And yes, it happens more often than you’d think.

A few years ago, I worked up the nerve to use a urinal after-hours at the office.  I figured that there were hardly any men left in the building, so I’d be safe.  But as I peed, our newspaper editor entered the bathroom.  Now I’ve never been quite sure of the urinal etiquette of where you’re supposed to look while peeing.  Up towards the ceiling?  Straight ahead?  Down at the waterworks?  It seems that as he walked past me and the urinals, I must have been doing the last option.  “There are barns in this county that could use your head to help them stay standing!” he said.

What the fuck did that mean?!  My mind raced … was he flirting with me?  Just making an awful joke?  Was he commenting on my head’s proximity to the wall?  The man was (and still is) quite the weirdo!  He continued to babble and joke from a closed stall, but I quickly finished, zipped up, washed my hands and ran from the lavatory.

This year, I’ve vowed to use urinals whenever possible.  It’s been difficult at times, but it has been going well.  Yes, there have been some awkward while-peeing conversations.  And a few days ago, I’m fairly certain that someone peeked at my penis.  They seemed pleased, so it actually wasn’t that bad.

Oh, and speaking of urine, here’s a video of Oprah peeing for ten minutes.  Enjoy!

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15 thoughts on “Tales From A Public Restroom”

  1. I always thought the unwritten rule for girls was once the stall door closes conversation ends. I HATE it when someone keeps talking to me and I have to respond (or look like a bitch) and I’m doing my business. Arrgghh. Wait two minutes until I come out or wait outside in the hallway for me. Awkward.

    Yay you for using the urinal. That comment about the barn? I don’t get it. Sigh. He’s weird.

  2. Well, good for you.

    Oprah did a show on veganism today! She challenged her staff to go vegan for one week (would have been more interesting if it had been one month, but whatevs). Anyway, it made me think of you.

  3. I’m very pee shy, and I have no intention of using urinals ever unless there’s no other option. Or unless there’s a urinal and a toilet in a single enclosed bathroom. I’m very good at standing on one foot and lifting the toilet seat with the sole of my other shoe to avoid direct contact.

  4. I HATE urinals. They smell, there can be splatters, and they’re disgusting to look at what with the urinal cake and little hairs floating in the yellow water. UGH! i NEVER use urinals unless there all the stall are taken and I can’t wait any longer.

    And I stand up in stalls, which is not a sign of weakness but rather one of preference. Deal with it weak vegan bigheaded boy.

    HUGS…

  5. I absolutely can not talk to people in the restroom…it is way uncomfy. I have gotten myself to the point where I can pee at urinal, but I can’t look at anyone else….at all. Worse are those big troughs at sports arenas….gross

  6. Mikey, you are not supposed to talk to people in the restroom, it leads to the breakdown of society.

    I am sure glad I do not have any of these pee issues.

  7. “But standing in a stall and peeing when there are available urinals is a sign of weakness. Of defeat. Of cowardice. The man that stands in a stall to pee when urinals are available has something to be ashamed of. ”

    Seriously?!? Dude, you *need to settle down. I will admit to being occasionally pee shy, but looking straight ahead or at the manufacturer of the toilet gives me a distraction to get the pee flowing.

  8. In his talk at Google, Randall Munroe (of xkcd) said that he overcomes pee-shyness by trying to calculate the resistance of two points a knight’s move away on an infinite grid of one ohm resistors (ubiquitous square tiles help). This may or may not be of use to non-physics majors.

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