The topic of public bathrooms came up in conversation recently, and a lady friend asked me what it was like inside the men’s room. It surprised me to learn that this world of mundane horrors would be of interest, but after conferring with other female friends, I’ve discovered that the ladies are in fact curious. In the same way that generations of men have exchanged befuddled glances as their wives and girlfriends migrate to the ladies room en masse, apparently the ladies too are interested in learning about the bathroom habits of the opposite sex. Much of their curiosity centres around the urinal: that foreign devil that few ladies have seen with their own eyes.
What can I say about urinals? They are not pleasant. In the world of abject horror that is the men’s room, the urinal is a focal point where the worst dregs of society are exposed.
You see ladies, going to the bathroom is not a social experience for men. It’s not a place for anything but the barest minimum of interaction with others. Unfortunately, when other people are around, being at the urinal becomes a social situation, albeit one with a strict unspoken code of conduct. And as in any social situation, this code of conduct is utterly disregarded by a frightening percentage of the public.
So without further ado, here are the 7 types of guys that piss all over the etiquette of the pissoir.
1. The Long Ranger
The Long Ranger is the guy who stands a good 3 feet away from the urinal when doing the business. If you’re unlucky enough to be standing next to him, watch out for his flailing urinary stream as it falls in a dangerous arc, barely making it into the trough or bowl. Sometimes you might also see the Extreme Long Ranger, who will actually point his wang skyward to make the distance.
Seriously buddy, how hard is it to take a step closer to the urinal?
The Long Ranger is usually motivated by a desperate fear of splashback, and will typically be wearing cream chinos or white tuxedo pants. Alternatively, the Long Ranger may be afraid of his fancy shoes coming into contact with the existing urine stains of the floor adjacent to the urinal.
Oh the irony! For the Long Ranger is the ultimate Catch 22. In his desperate hopes to avoid stepping in piss, he stands at a distance, ensuring that he inevitably creates the very drippage which causes the pee-stains he wants so desperately to avoid.
The dangers are obvious. The Long Ranger’s reckless stance could easily cause some unwanted splashes on an innocent bystander, specifically in the area where your feet are. You just have to pray one doesn’t appear next to you while you’re wearing a pair of shoes you care about. Oh and as an Australian you learn pretty quickly about the dangers of wearing thongs (Americans: see flip-flops. In fact can I get Google to translate that automatically?) in the urinal setting. A definite no-no.
2. The Mover and Shaker
You’ll most likely find these guys when you’re at a bar or nightclub, or anywhere else with drugs and alcohol involved. The Movers and Shakers come in many forms. There are the head-lollers, the hip-gyrators, the jitter-bugs, the shaky-hands, the foot-to-foot hoppers, the zig-zaggers and a whole lot more.
As with the Long Ranger, the Movers and Shakers are a definite splash hazard. Even though they are probably the most likely to give you a yellow spritz on your shoes, it probably doesn’t matter. If you’re in a bar or nightclub bathroom in the first place, you’re clothes and shoes are already covered in far worse excretions.
3. The Spitter
This is more a society problem than a public toilet problem. Nevertheless, the spitters of the world certainly deserve a mention on this list, if for no other reason than their willingness to go beyond the call of duty of disgusting behaviour when in a public restroom. At the urinal these guys go no holds barred with some seriously repugnant spitting. I’m talking about a clusterfuck of gum, snot and phlegm; an intense loogie of auditory and visual horror.
And speaking of noises, here’s some bonus content for you: a lot of theatrically loud sniffing and throat clearing can be heard when in the men’s room. You see, guys like to use these audio cues as a sort of sonar system, alerting everyone to their presence. It’s kind of the tactful way of letting people know ‘this stall is occupied’ or ‘another person is in here so tone down the loud grunting in there.’
Another tactic we sometimes use to announce our presence is ‘the loud pee’. When urinating in one of the stalls of a public bathroom, guys will aim straight at the water in the bowl and create an intense jet stream of sound. You may notice ladies, that this is the direct opposite of what goes on at home, where guys will try to perfect ‘the silent pee’ by never touching the water, and trying to find the quietest part of the ceramics. But I digress.
4. The Conversationalist
The Conversationalist is the guy who breaks the golden rule of the men’s room: you just don’t talk to someone while they’re peeing. You could be standing next to your childhood hero, your best friend of 20 years or your own father, it doesn’t matter. You DON’T talk to each other while the dongs are out. The Conversationalist is oblivious to this sacred rule, and tries to engage you with inane chatter while you’re at your most vulnerable.
There are degrees of transgression with these talkative types. More often than not you get a pathetic line about the weather, or a question about how your night’s going so far. This isn’t so bad I suppose. It reminds me of the desperate banter of an elderly man in a supermarket, crying out for human companionship. Sometimes you get jokers who have a quick urinal themed joke primed for the occasion. A lot of these Conversationalists are more common in rural areas, where the folks are friendlier than city people. A little too friendly if you ask me.
Of course at the extreme end of the scale you get the real crazies who try to fit a deep and meaningful conversation with a total stranger into the amount of time it takes to pee. There really is nothing more disturbing than having a stranger bring up the most inappropriate personal, emotional or sexual problems when all you’re trying to do is get some satisfaction.
5. The Closer
Ladies, you know this type of offender already. Ever been sitting on an empty bus or train when a stranger gets on and takes a seat next to you despite the free seats all over the place? Well if you think having your personal space invaded by the smelly guy on the bus is bad, just picture that problem with bare naked genitals added into the equation. That’s the horror of The Closer.
Now obviously there are some times, like at a music festival or an airport terminal, when the toilets are packed and close proximity can’t be avoided and that’s fine. But at any normal time when there is plenty of room, you shouldn’t be getting anywhere near your fellow-man! Standing next to someone is creepy enough. If they bump shoulders with you, they’re crossing into felony territory. You never want to have body contact with another person while you’re releasing a hot stream.
Oh and there’s something very important I forgot to tell you. Don’t cross the streams. It would be bad.
6. The Corner Man
On the opposite end of the spectrum you have The Corner Man. Perhaps the least offensive of the rule violators, he is also the most perplexing. The Corner Man is not insecure enough to insist on peeing in the stalls, yet is so paranoid of those around him that he will get into the space where urinal meets wall, and actually turn his whole body to face the corner, presumably holding his willy at a 90 degree angle.
I can only assume the Corner Man is paralysed by fear and must ensure no-one can sneak a peek at his incredibly minuscule / horribly disfigured / holiest of gifts from God. Who hurt you, Corner Man? Who broke your trust so irrevocably?
Okay, so the Corner Man has issues. But what’s so offensive about him? Well, it’s the subtext; the unspoken suggestion that this stranger thinks that I of all people would shamelessly try to check out his microscopic tool / scarfaced salami / sacred vessel. Why would I do that? What would give this stranger such an absurd idea?
7. The Glancer
That’s right. This happens. Fortunately not very often, but it does happen. For whatever reasons, there are some dudes out there that just want to look at your penis. I don’t know why. Maybe they’re obsessed with comparison due to their own insecurities. Maybe they need re-affirmation that they are normal in size and appearance. Maybe they have a simple dream of one day getting to see the world’s biggest dong. I don’t know.
But whatever the reason, SERIOUSLY FUCK OFF.
It’s just not cool. Do I even have to tell you this? Geez. If you want to see some schlongs go somewhere where they’re giving ’em up for free like a gym locker room. Go join a football team. I don’t know.
It goes without saying that this is the worst kind of offender of bathroom etiquette. There should really be a United Nations convention about this. It really is awful to have your sausage spied by a stranger. The obvious breach of privacy is bad enough, but sometimes it’s creepy in even more horrifying ways. Like when you’re peeing and you get that ‘I’m being watched’ vibe, and you slowly turn and see the guy next to you blatantly checking you out, and then he sees that you’ve caught him peeking, and he looks you straight in the eye and then just keeps on looking at your dick.
Yeah I can see where the Corner Man is coming from now.
Well, there you have it ladies: an insight into the seedy underbelly us men are doomed to endure. Not so great is it? So maybe spare a thought for us next time you complain about all the ways that men have it better than women. Because while you get to chat, gossip, hold hands and powder your noses in a flower-scented, airy-fairy ladies room, us poor blokes are suffering a hellish nightmare at the urinal that’s enough to give the best of us a shy bladder.
And you know we can’t use the stalls to pee. That’s for pussies.