U is for Urinals

If you go into a men’s public bathroom, you’ll notice the proclivities of the male mind-set just by how things are arranged.  Little color.  A mirror (ideally not cracked, but even those will suffice) to ensure that you don’t have a straggler sticking out of your nose.  A sink preferably with the hot and cold labeled as they were meant to be.  A few, maybe three, stalls.  The set of stalls will always have a wheelchair compliant one that is perfect for taking a nap in if you don’t snore and possess good balance.  It will probably also have a urinal.  And if you see a gentleman using the urinal closest to the sink, you use the far sink.  In choosing a urinal, you give yourself maximum clearance so as to avoid eye contact.

I wish there could be some research done on it, but I believe that white American men are very awkward and insecure about their having to use public restrooms.  If you go into a public bathroom, eye contact will always be minimal.  It’s not merely that there is no use recognizing the presence of other friends there, it’s just that many of us white American men avoid it.

Exchanges of dialogue are probably limited to the cordial gravity of, “Hey, how are you.”  Notice how this is a statement and not a question.  When we say this to other men (especially in a public bathroom), we don’t really want to know the answer.  But out of social custom, we do it so we’re not labeled outsiders.  The answer could very well be a, “Hey.”  “Hey” is more than sufficient as a reply.  Notice how it does nothing to really answer the original question.  It simply is a way to keep the balance of normalcy.  And once you actually go and expose yourself to the porcelain nothing, you don’t want to be interrupted.  The only thing you might be doing is reading the motivational poster in front of you.  Sometimes making a connection between what is being done and what the poster indicates (such as “perseverance”) is humorous.  But it’s usually forgotten within the hour and the next time you have to go, you find yourself ignorant enough to chuckle.

A breach of the above principles might mean that you’ve spotted your best buddy in the whole world.  This is the man who you’d stand beside in a world war and, with foresight and the careful planting of videotapes, convince your wife to marry him after the event of your untimely death.  A relationship with any degree of emotional distance, however, will not carry two, fully grown, white, American men through violation of the above principles.

Urinals are awkward, but stalls maybe even more so.  When you’re making noise, sometimes you try and cough to disguise the incriminating sound of having an operable digestive system.  And at the end you wait until the place is clear to get your tail out of there.  But if someone walks in on you as you’re leaving a stall, there’s always a silent message sent out from staller to surpriser, “I am a man of many sorrows.  End me now and let no one know of this shameful meeting.”  At least with urinals, you have the ability to stand there with your back to the world and pretend it doesn’t exist.

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7 Responses to “U is for Urinals”

  1. whoa. a little Too Much Information here. LOL. *still laughing*

  2. A.D. Duling Says:

    I enjoyed this, very educating for me being a gal! Funny! I just had to add your post to my A.D.’s FAV 5 of the A to Z Challenge today!
    http://adduling.wordpress.com/
    I am working my way through, you are #2 . so if you do not see the post yet, do check back!

    Have a wonderful day!
    A.D.

  3. Okay, this was hilarious. In a subtle, disturbing, but nonetheless brilliantly-executed way.

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