Urinal Etiquette

There are a number of unwritten rules that blokes follow when urinating in public, and when I say ‘in public’ I mean in in the conveniences provided to gentlemen for that purpose and not pissing in the shallow end at Lister baths. They’re actually more natural instincts than rules, they aren’t taught, perhaps they are imprinted in our DNA, or maybe they’re in the genes that make up our Y chromosome. I don’t know.

And I may be speaking out of turn here, sharing a well-kept secret, but If you are not of the gender to have this knowledge, allow me to give you an example of one of the rules:

You don’t piss in the middle pot.

In that mysterious ammonia-stinking tiled-room you will invariably find three urinals (if not three then almost always an odd number) this is because three urinals are intended for the use of two men, five for three and so on. Those narrow, uncomfortable middle spots are reserved only for occasions when it is absolutely, bladder-wrenchingly-necessary to go.

The reason for this is that no man wants to stand shoulder to shoulder, or even shoulder to shoulder to shoulder with other micturating males. Accidentally bumping your elbow into the elbow of a man holding his penis is considered – not good form.

I’m not shy, I’m not one of those people who struggle to pee in public, not one of those poor gents that stand immobile in front of the porcelain waiting for the room to clear before performing with Percy.  I can go for a slash anywhere, but I do  like a bit of space, it’s more comfortable that way, and anyhow sometimes I like to put my right hand on my hip, I don’t know why, it’s just the way it is.

I generally head for the urinal to the right for this purpose.

I like a quiet tinkle, I’m not that happy with a conversing peeing partner; I try to ignore those strange men who like a chat in the chamber. All conversation usually stop at the door, in fact the only conversation you’re likely to hear in the gents comes from the traps (the stalls) where for some reason people are happy to sit and  shit and chat; inadvertently sharing  that phone call with the inhabitants of the bathroom. The only communication necessary (if any is needed at all) is a gentlemanly nod of acknowledgement of presence, but no eye contact, oh God no eye contact.

A wee is a time for relaxation, a place to gather ones whits, refocus and prepare for the return to the hassles of whatever is outside the doors of that porcelain palace. So like many men I like to pee in peace and quiet, I’m not unusual with my requirements, if you’re not a chap just ask one, they’d say: “Plenty of elbow room and a bit of quiet, that’s all that’s needed.” Not like the female of the species who cram themselves into cubicles in groups and chat and gossip and whatever whilst taking it in turns to hover over the seat whilst doing their makeup.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, there is a nightclub in Yangon where the toilet attendant gives you a back massage whilst you are urinating. As you can imagine, this is not my idea of a great situation, in fact I am still so horrified by this invasion of my personal peeing space that I am forced to use bullet points to even share this experience.

  • Hey, hey, HEY, what the F…for Christ’s sake what the hell are you doing? What is this am I being delicately mugged or badly propositioned?
  • Oh, come on a massage, really? Now, at this minute? I’m kind of busy you know.
  • No I’m not OK thanks, in fact if I wasn’t in the middle of something right now, I’d stop you doing what you are doing.
  • Yes thank you my day has been fine, in fact right up the moment you started caressing my neck (with your powerful fingers) it had been splendid.
  • Wow, you’ve got really strong hands.
  • I do realise that this is not a great job to have, and I appreciate that everyone has the right to earn a living, but could you earn it elsewhere? Look there’s a tired executive over there, and he surely needs your services more than me.
  • Hang on a minute! You expect a tip for your unwanted services!
  • What do you mean you’re unhappy that I am not paying you for my discomfort? I didn’t ask you to get all ‘Love Guru’ on my shoulder blades.
  • Oh hello again, it appears I have broken the seal and I am now required to return to this toilet every 30 minutes for as long as I remain in this club.
  • Hello, it’s me again! I hope you realise that I am not coming back here just because I enjoy your attention?
  • Hello, okay, how much? But let me tell you that this is the first and last time I will ever pay a man for services rendered in a gents toilets
  • Hello me again. Down a bit, that’s right, just to the left, that’s the spot.

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