One of the joys of living in group houses is the social aspect, meeting all your flatmate’s friends, relatives and romantic attachments. It can also be the bane of your life, depending, in the case of friends and partners, on the discernment of your flatmates.
We’ve lived with some pretty sexually active women in the past and found it quite diverting meeting a passing parade of the local manlife. Even though male, we don’t feel like we really know or understand many men, so the chance to study them close up balances any negative consequences of their presence. For the most part, liaisons have been mercifully brief, one guy being replaced by another at about the same time as they become annoying.
Often one of the first things to irritate us about men is their toilet habits, specifically the way they pee. Here’s a little list:
Don’t lift toilet seat
Pee on toilet seat
Don’t put toilet seat down (not annoying to us but to the women in the household)
Pee on floor
Pee on walls
Neglect to clean up pee on toilet seat, floor, walls
Rarely if ever clean toilet (only expected of residents or very regular long term visitors)
Pick nose while peeing and wipe snot on toilet wall
Take photo of their penis on our camera? (hehe)
We once lived with a man who did nearly all the above. The worst was when he came home late at night. Our bedroom was very close to the toilet, and we could visualise his actions very well from the sounds he made as he staggered up the stairs, lurched into the toilet, swayed above the blurry pedestal and pissed, with what seemed like joyous abandon, all over the bowl, cistern, floor, walls and his boots, occasionally making a brief pass through the target zone. He denied all knowledge in the morning and never cleaned the toilet (neither did we).
Arguments about these sort of behaviours are one battleground of feminism. In Australia in the late twentieth century, as women began to assert themselves domestically and elsewhere, the toilet habits of men became increasingly under fire.
Many men responded quite well. Some started lifting the toilet seat. Some started putting it back down again. Some started paying more attention to the direction they were peeing in, and some began noticing when their aim was astray and performed a rudimentary clean up. Some even started cleaning the whole toilet occasionally.
Other men resisted. We think the threshold issue for a lot of these sort of men was the request to put the toilet seat back down. Having made the great concession of learning to lift the seat before peeing, they resented having to return it afterwards.
Danny Katz, the Good Weekend’s ‘Modern Guru’ said (in passing) the other day ‘that if men put (the seat) up, women can put it down, and finally we’ll live in a truly equal Toilet-Seat Sharing world.’ This is very good in theory but it negates one pertinent fact.
For a substantial proportion of the time, women use public facilities that are women only. It is only when they use a toilet after a man who has done a pee (and neglected the courteous afterthought) that they will find a toilet without its seat down. Therefore they are used to the toilet seat being in the down position.
That is why, when a woman goes to the toilet, particularly late at night, she expects to be able to back into position without a single reverse glance. The other day we heard a story about a teenage girl who not only sat down, but also started peeing, before she realised the toilet lid, complete with fluffy cover, was down. The shock of unexpectedly sitting on a cold, piss-stained, pubic hair-encrusted, ceramic toilet bowl is the root (we believe) of most of the angst women feel about the seat being left up.
This angst is added to the normal angst that a lot of women feel about toilets generally. We’re afraid we’re going to possibly upset a few men here, but we have something to tell women (and men) about boys and their peeing habits that is possibly going to add to that angst a little.
When a man finishes doing a pee, there is always a little drop or two of pee hanging off the end of the penis. Some men might not give these drops a single thought and just tuck the old boy away to perfume their underpants. Most, we suspect, will attempt to get rid of those drops by ‘shaking’ their penis, flicking it in the general direction of the toilet bowl.
Due to the laws of physics it is partially a futile gesture because you can never remove all the drops by shaking. No matter how hard you shake that thing, there will always be a residue left behind. Worse, as we discovered when doing a pee in bright sunlight at the correct angle one day, the shaking of the penis in the general direction of something results in a spray of miniscule droplets in all and every direction.
Some men, perhaps of European extraction, have adopted the alternative strategy of dabbing the end of the penis with a square of toilet paper, something which, when we saw a boy doing it as a 12 year old, caused us to doubt the boy’s sanity. In retrospect, we think we could now mount an argument to ourselves about cleaning the toilet more often, particularly as we’re responsible for a thirteen year old boy and we haven’t had that discussion yet.
Dabbing the penis dry avoids the post-pee sprinkler, but it does nothing about poor aim during peeing. Peeing in the sunshine also reveals that with a good flow of pee, there is a central core stream and, around it, a less solid outer spray or halo, made of little tiny droplets, spreading to a diameter of about 10 centimetres at some distance from the penis.
Men are not all alike of course, so their chances of getting most of their pee in the toilet bowl differ. A five-foot man with a foot long penis is not going to have much trouble at all, and circumcision may make it easier to aim, but generally, adult men have to concentrate a little to negotiate that stream the couple of feet from their penis down into the bowl.
Then of course there are the dreaded forked pees. Sometimes a pubic hair or some other crap is stuck to the end of the penis, perhaps glued by a bit of ejaculate, and when you start, the pee comes out in two streams, so wildly divergent that both can not be directed into the bowl at once. Sometimes the second stream is obscured from view, drenching the pants, shoes and floor before it comes to the attention.
In Europe you will find toilets of an entirely different design, one that bypasses some of these issues by placing the user in a standing or squatting position above a wide, flat tray with a small hole into which you can aim your pee or stools. Using public facilities of this kind alerted us to other drawbacks of this design, mostly due to poorly targeted faeces.
Whatever the relative efficacy of the different toilet designs, there is one obvious fact that, here in Australia where we are stuck with the pedestal toilet seat, seems to escape most men. Here it is. Just because you can stand up and do a pee doesn’t mean you have to. Actually women are quite capable of peeing standing up, though anatomy and the wearing of pants hasn’t made it quite as easy for them as for men. Perhaps they are also more modest about exposing their genitals but we digress, one wonders how men would like it if their women folk started learning how to pee standing up and didn’t clean up the inevitable misses?
You don’t have to stand up to pee just because you can, but of course, the opposite is also true. Because men can pee standing up more easily than women, it has become a part of the male psyche. To sit down and pee is as feminine as crying, it’s just not something a red-blooded Aussie male would do. If that boy we saw dabbing his penis had also sat down to pee, our undeveloped mind would have questioned not just his sanity but his sexuality too.
Having resolved their issues with masculinity, some men are quite happy to sit down and pee. When very drunk it is the only way to go. The reason they don’t do it very often is because they couldn’t be bothered. They are so chronically lazy that the thought of having to undo their pants, pull them down, sit down, then repeat the whole procedure in reverse is just too much effort. Better to just unzip, flop it out and spray.
Another option, only for people with a lot of disposable income, is the installation of a suitable urinal, preferably not the standard Aussie pissing wall which seems designed to reflect as much of the pee back onto the pisser as possible.
The best solution to all these problems, peeing outside, is sadly not available to everyone, but to those for whom it is available, we say take advantage of it. Our Dear Deceased Dad used to pee in this or that corner of our large and (fairly) private back yard whenever he got the urge, and he taught us to do the same.
We used to go outside to have a cigarette and, to dawdle over to the fence and pee beneath a shrub while puffing away became a habit that, to this day, has us suddenly busting to do a pee whenever we step out of, say, a restaurant to have a fag.
Pee is, of course, a good fertilizer, and if delivered evenly around your garden will have a beneficial effect on most plants. Don’t pee on the plant, pee on the ground around it. We have known some organic gardeners who have the whole household pee in a big bucket, the contents of which are distributed around their orchards and such, in a more deliberate manner than simply peeing where you stand. The pee, if at all aged, must be heavily diluted to avoid ‘burning’ plant roots.
Contrary to some perceptions, pee is also not a health hazard, being totally sterile. You could safely drink your own pee if you wanted to (drinking the mid-stream morning pee is a yoga practice). The exception is if you have a urinary tract infection.
If your yard is too small, or not private, or nonexistent, the only really sensible thing to do is swallow your stupid male pride and start pissing sitting down. Oh, and maybe start giving your penis a little bit of a dab with toilet paper when you’re finished. But only if you like blow jobs.
UPDATE: Gertrude writes:
Another reason women (well, me at least) don’t like the toilet seat being left up is that they then have to touch it (erg) to put it down. And if they live with a man, as you point out, then the toilet seat is probably liberally dotted with splashes of old urine.
Also; urine is only sterile straight after it leaves your body. When it is exposed to air it becomes a luxuriously appointed breeding ground for germy things.
UPDATE #2: Johnboy writes:
you negelected to mention the asian “squat” toilets which have the following virtues:
1) No toilet seat of any sort
2) no capacity to miss anything, although you will constantly feel you’re about to dump into your underpants.
3) less cleaning required on hygene grounds (odour is another story)
4) you were designed to crap squatting, not sitting. No need to take reading materials as you’ll be done in seconds.