Urinal Protocol Vulnerability
September 2, 2009 9:31 AM   Subscribe

 
The toilet. Urinal is too likely to splash on his shirt/pants/shoes. Also, harder to flush without using hands.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:35 AM on September 2, 2009


See also the Urinal game.
posted by Dysk at 9:35 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


My (ex) father in law (a NJ police chief) mentioned once that very question is on the police officer's application. There is no right or wrong answer of course; but apparently gives insight to the applicant. Bizarre.
posted by bluedaniel at 9:36 AM on September 2, 2009


Urinal Rules
posted by plexi at 9:36 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Abolish urinals and install troughs.
posted by spicynuts at 9:37 AM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have many, many, MANY times thought about approaching this question empirically. Never thought about a theoretical analysis. Something's a little off, though, since 2 is also an efficient packing number but isn't of the form 2k+1. No wait--yes it is. But 1 isn't.
posted by DU at 9:38 AM on September 2, 2009


I use the bidet.
posted by not_on_display at 9:40 AM on September 2, 2009


Also, the protocol for the second man in is NOT "take the other end". It's "go far enough away to not be close, but not so far that it looks like you are trying to go far away."
posted by DU at 9:40 AM on September 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


I just use the ladies' room if it's THAT crowded, with my wife playing bouncer.
posted by fijiwriter at 9:42 AM on September 2, 2009


I came in here to post the Urinal Game. It's one of the first Flash things I remember seeing on the public Internet way back in the early-mid 90s.
posted by yiftach at 9:42 AM on September 2, 2009


spicynuts: "Abolish urinals and install troughs."

I used to go to a bar in State College, PA that had one of those. By the end of the night, it usually had a dozen beer bottles standing in it filled with urine. I always hoped that they paid the janitor extra for cleaning that out.
posted by octothorpe at 9:43 AM on September 2, 2009


Eponysterical.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:43 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


y'all acting like you're too good for that pile of paper towels in the corner
posted by Greg Nog at 9:44 AM on September 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


The toilet. Urinal is too likely to splash on his shirt/pants/shoes. Also, harder to flush without using hands.

I can't imagine being so clumsy as to get it all over like that. Ready, aim, fire, simple as that. They make water-less urinals that don't require flushing, so there's that, too.
posted by explosion at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2009


Nice theory, although it buckles when you introduce the variable of "creepy guy who stands next to you even when every other urinal is unoccupied."
posted by brain_drain at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


explosion: I can't imagine being so clumsy as to get it all over like that. Ready, aim, fire, simple as that. They make water-less urinals that don't require flushing, so there's that, too.

You can't imagine splash-back? Seriously? Do you just stand back away from the urinal, so that the spray doesn't get to you?
posted by paisley henosis at 9:48 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nice theory, although it buckles when you introduce the variable of "creepy guy who stands next to you even when every other urinal is unoccupied."

Actually, first it does a hands-free shake, a button, a zip and THEN it buckles.
posted by DU at 9:49 AM on September 2, 2009


The toilet. Urinal is too likely to splash on his shirt/pants/shoes.
you, good sir, are doing it wrong.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:50 AM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Abolish urinals and install troughs.

At that point I'd just piss in a bottle at my desk and not risk standing shoulder to shoulder next to some dude who's sending some splash back my way.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:50 AM on September 2, 2009


I've always been a stall man.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:51 AM on September 2, 2009


Urinals are the new plates of beans.
posted by exogenous at 9:51 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do movie theater seats next.
posted by empath at 9:51 AM on September 2, 2009


The toilet. Urinal is too likely to splash on his shirt/pants/shoes.

Urinal. Water in the toilet is too cold.
posted by The Bellman at 9:54 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The stall. Stage fright.
posted by bondcliff at 9:55 AM on September 2, 2009


This article has the Urinal Protocol slightly wrong. It fails to account for the position of the door. The first person in takes the end urinal furthest from the door. The second person in takes the urinal equidistant from both the occupied end urinal and the door. If there isn't one that's perfectly equidistant, the edge goes to being closer to the door than the other guy. So, from person two on the calculation is completely different if you allow for the Door Effect. I'd like to see the efficiency implications of this worked out by anyone more mathematically inclined than me.
posted by rusty at 9:56 AM on September 2, 2009


Also, do you "stall men" realize that the rest of us assume there is something terribly wrong with your penis?
posted by rusty at 9:57 AM on September 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


I find that the best way to exacerbate the uncomfortableness of urinal dynamics is, regardless of how many free ones are available, to go to one that is already in use, make as much fixed eye contact as possible, and proceed to share it.

If you can maintain a guttural growl in the back of your throat the whole time, it really adds to the effect.
posted by quin at 9:57 AM on September 2, 2009 [24 favorites]


I was a bit disaapointed this wasn't empirical.

I think it falls down slightly as it leaves no room for learning, or I think possibly doesn't properly apply game theory. For example, the article suggests a row of 7 urinals leads to inefficient packing due to pee-r 3 going to the central urinal, but this underestimates the ability of the individual to foresee another pee-r coming to the row with a high chance of discomfort for himself, since this probability will vary both with the estimation of personal discomfort, no. of urinals and other non-urinal related variables such as busyness of the establishment housing the row it may be significant.
posted by biffa at 9:58 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only time I ever spend in the company of my boss is at the urinal. There are only two, so there is not much choice.

It is very awkward.
posted by Danf at 10:00 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Keep in mind that one man in every 250 is born with hypospadiasis. Some may not have had it corrected. Men with prostate trouble also have difficulty with maintaining a forceful stream (Billy Crystal once described it as peeing morse code). Post-coital urination is often erratic. Do a google search. You will find a lot of posts from men with a variety of conditions that affect their streams.

So the yuk yuks here are mostly laughing at people with medical conditions. Which is really cool. Like high school was.

do you "stall men" realize that the rest of us assume there is something terribly wrong with your penis?

Perhaps they just don't want you to feel bad?
posted by srboisvert at 10:01 AM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


You can't imagine splash-back? Seriously? Do you just stand back away from the urinal, so that the spray doesn't get to you?

I also have no idea what you're talking about. Aim higher maybe?

This article has the Urinal Protocol slightly wrong. It fails to account for the position of the door. The first person in takes the end urinal furthest from the door.

Also, it fails to account for the kid sized urinal, which pretty much everyone old enough to use a urinal avoids.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the topic of quirky urinal behavior, what's the deal with:

1. Guys who flush the urinal one or more times while they are peeing

2. Guys who lean against the wall above the urinal with one arm while they are peeing

3. Guys who do both (1) and (2) simultaneously, leaving their wang on autopilot
posted by brain_drain at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


...standing shoulder to shoulder next to some dude who's sending some splash back my way.

...the rest of us assume there is something terribly wrong with your penis?

Please MeMail the locations you are peeing that don't have dividers so I can be sure to never, ever, ever go there.
posted by DU at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2009


What's the rule when one of the urinals is one of those short ones? I hate those.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2009


I am sure to stand as close as the person next to me and drop my drawers like you do when you are six. At first I had a hard time doing it with a straight face, but now I've got it down to the point where I can do it and look as serious as Tommy Lee Jones in his endless reprise of a hard ass law enforcement characters.
posted by mrmojoflying at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


Toilet, not stall. Urinals creep me out for any number of reasons, including the fact that it is rarer and rarer to find rooms that have the luxurious line of five stalls depicted in xkcd's pictograph. Many rooms now have two urinals only, often right up against each other, which is way awkward.
posted by blucevalo at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2009


Also, do you "stall men" realize that the rest of us assume there is something terribly wrong with your penis?

Yes, which is why I always drop my shoes in the toilet so you assume I'm taking a dump.
posted by bondcliff at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


This article neglects to mention the impact of dividers, the dreaded low urinal, and as mentioned above, the physical layout of the room (door/sink/stall locations).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:04 AM on September 2, 2009


So the yuk yuks here are mostly laughing at people with medical conditions.

And thus the fun is sucked out of the thread. Thanks MeFi!
posted by eyeballkid at 10:04 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The toilet. Urinal is too likely to splash on his shirt/pants/shoes. Also, harder to flush without using hands.

Ah, so you're the guy who insists on using the toilet when there is a perfectly serviceable urinal right there, thus guaranteeing that there will be piss on the seat the next time someone goes to use it. Thanks.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:04 AM on September 2, 2009


My first trip to Denmark, I was pretty disoriented by all the little differences -- I'm from a small US town, hadn't traveled abroad before, etc. I remember going to a park and using the public restroom facility. It was very basic, and clean enough, but it wasn't like most I'm used to: there were two troughs, a lower one to the left and a higher one to the right. I stood there and scratched my head a second, but I'm pretty tall (6'4"), so I opted for the taller trough. When I looked for a sink to wash my hands, though, I didn't find one -- weird, maybe they don't wash their hands in Denmark?? Then I noticed the faucets in the trough I had just peed in...

Pretty sure I failed the urinal test on that one.
posted by LordSludge at 10:05 AM on September 2, 2009 [19 favorites]


Continuing brain_drain's list,

4. Men who audibly moan in the while at the urinal.

Or is that a medical condition and I just offended someone?
posted by eyeballkid at 10:06 AM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


No one was going to post this huh? Okay then.

Male Restroom Etiquette
posted by Talanvor at 10:06 AM on September 2, 2009


The toilet. Urinal is too likely to splash on his shirt/pants/shoes. Also, harder to flush without using hands.

I can't imagine being so clumsy as to get it all over like that. Ready, aim, fire, simple as that.


I own a pair of shorts that are turned noticeably dark by the slightest drop of moisture. It took days for me to refine the shaking technique enough to avoid shaking a drop onto my shorts, and several more days to optimize it and avoid remnants that turn up while walking away. Urinals were out of the question while wearing these, as they always resulted in a large speckled pattern up front that was capable of drawing the weirdest of looks. Urinals splash like crazy, we just don't usually notice it.
posted by waxboy at 10:08 AM on September 2, 2009


I normally wait for the stall or use the urinal with a corner. I feel open in the middle.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2009


I actually like the troughs - they let me run up and down the bathroom for a victory lap.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Then I noticed the faucets in the trough I had just peed in...

I've seen troughs with faucets though...
posted by smackfu at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2009


rusty: "Also, do you "stall men" realize that the rest of us assume there is something terribly wrong with your penis?"

To whatever extent strange men in restrooms may be speculating on the size of my penis, I'd prefer not to think about it.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:11 AM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


A whole new level of awkwardness is created when both I and my 5-year-old son enter a crowded public bathroom together (think, baseball stadium bathroom or amusement park bathroom, where this comes up a lot). There is usually only one or two short urinals, which are the only type low enough for him to reach. When it's crowded he'll often have to use the short urinal while I am several urinals over doing my own thing. When I need to check on him (making sure he's not taking off without me, not touching things that shouldn't be touched, etc.), depending on how far away I am, I am forced to break Rule #1 of male bathroom etiquette, which is "Always Stare Straight Ahead". It's rather uncomfortable, when you are shoulder to shoulder with some stranger at adjacent urinals, to suddenly turn and tilt your head and hope he realizes there's no funny business going on.
posted by The Gooch at 10:14 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do movie theater seats next.
Done!
posted by natabat at 10:14 AM on September 2, 2009


the kid sized urinal, which pretty much everyone old enough to use a urinal avoids.

Just make like a fireman and unreel more hose.
posted by exogenous at 10:16 AM on September 2, 2009


4. Men who audibly moan in the while at the urinal.

I have to admit, I've had moments of brinkmanship when in the bathroom near someone who moans, where I've had the almost overpowering urge to go a little louder and see if I can unconsciously pull them into a contest.

Because I'm picturing a third person walking into the bathroom and finding two guys at opposite ends of a row of urinals screaming and pounding the wall with the joy of peeing a really funny visual.
posted by quin at 10:18 AM on September 2, 2009 [16 favorites]


There are people who can toss the basketball gracefully so that it goes through with no more noise than a *swish*. There are people who slam the ball violently through the hoop, creating a noisy rattle.

The slam-dunkers never claim that nothing-but-net is impossible, just that they prefer to dunk. That puts them up 1-0 over the pee-splatterers in this thread.
posted by explosion at 10:21 AM on September 2, 2009


I've always taken a certain pleasure in observing that the Pauli Exclusion Principle applies equally to both male urinal selection and electron energy levels.
posted by Biru at 10:22 AM on September 2, 2009


I usually line up right next to someone and exclaim,"Nice dick, dude!" before peeing all over their shoes.

I don't have many friends.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:23 AM on September 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


All conventions of urinal spacing are suspended for legendary jazz musicians.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:28 AM on September 2, 2009


I've always been a stall man.

A song popped into my head when I read that.

Sorry, Sam. Sorry, Dave.

Also, my best recollection of National Lampoon Radio Hour's version of an old joke:

Man at urinal #1: You know, I think everyone's pretty much the same. We all want the same things in life - a nice home, a family, enough to eat. So, even though I'm a highly-paid record company executive, and you're a disheviled hippie, here we are in the same place, doing the same thing. One thing has me puzzled, though - how come your splash is so much louder than mine?

Man at urinal #2: It's simple. I'm pissing on your briefcase.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:29 AM on September 2, 2009


Though not urinal related - on a road trip to New Orleans in college we stopped off on our way back in Meterie at a friend's parents' house for a potty break at the request of one of our party who was rather wasted. We were given the tour of the house which ended at the newly remodeled guest bathroom. Our drunk friend was nowhere to be found and we thought nothing of it. As we were getting ready to leave he reapeared and we left without thinking anything else about it. As we got back on the road we asked him, "hey, didn't you have to go pretty bad back there?" To which he said, "yeah, I stopped off at the john in the laundry room as we passed it coming in." Our friend who's house we left got a sudden and very sour look on her face and said, "you mean the old toilet that my parents had just removed and replaced from the guest bathroom?"

"I wondered why it wouldn't flush. Do you think we should call them?"
posted by Pollomacho at 10:29 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is a serious problem and that is why thoughI am not old, I usually wear Depends so I do not have to use bathrooms.
posted by Postroad at 10:31 AM on September 2, 2009


...the kid sized urinal, which pretty much everyone old enough to use a urinal avoids.

According the ADA guidelines I happen to have here, it's a handicapped urinal and it's required by law, even though I can honestly say I've never seen a handicapped man use one. It does put a bit of a wrench into the calculations, since everyone but 6 year-olds seem afraid to use it.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:31 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The toilet.

Man, don't kowtow at the bowl. Walk into the bathroom and pick a portion of wall to mark--even if it is a self-rinsing slab of porcelain.

The elephant in the room is that urinal etiquette is based on the establishment of territory--leaving space is a way to respect your fellow man's demarcation, but you still MUST assume as much space for you and your brood as possible. This is quite literally a pissing contest, while there are rules, there also can be a winner. And that winner could be you.

And so, here's the heart of the problem with this pansy, socialized, groupthink, mathemanerding of protocol by xkcd: 1 and 2 are dopes for taking the ends. A wall is better than a person, but a wall is not better than uncontested land. Strive to leave at least one space between you and the wall: this maximizes your potential territory at any given time.

Let's take the 7 urinal example:
-1 and 2, in taking the ends, have effectively given dominance over the entire urinal row to 3--THE THIRD GUY TO ENTER THE ROOM. He's got two uncontested spots, plus two contested spots, while 1 and 2 have one contested spot each. If these two cowering wallhuggers had just scooted one urinal toward the center, they'd each have one uncontested spot, plus one contested spot each. 3 would have only two contested spots. Same number of people at the urinals... but advantage to the leaders.

-Hypothetically, if 1 had taken his little corner, 2 should have taken the spot two urinals closer to the center (#5). If 3 had entered, he would choose either urinal #3 or urinal #7. In either case, 2 would have the strategic upperhand in number of uncontested and contested spaces.

Now, the other thing to point out is that once a urinal wall reaches its maximum equilibrium, standing around with your dick in your hands isn't the only option. It's simply the best option if you don't want to actively declare an alliance with other urinaters. Consider washing your hands to force someone else to make the decision (this means you can take a contested space without sacrificing your neutrality on the urinal wall) or to simply delay for a change in the landscape.

If you MUST claim a contested urinal in a urinal wall at maximum equilibrium, consider these 5 key points --- >>READ the rest of this article by purchasing the ebook in our online Store<<
posted by pokermonk at 10:38 AM on September 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


I didn't realize that it was such a mark of high testosterone load whether you pick a toilet bowl or a urinal to pee into. I learn something new every day.
posted by blucevalo at 10:47 AM on September 2, 2009


I just pee on whoever has it coming.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:48 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


...the kid sized urinal, which pretty much everyone old enough to use a urinal avoids.

The best urinal is the full length urinal, which obviates the need for the super low one. When I build a house, I will install one of those old timey, sculpted ones.

1. Guys who flush the urinal one or more times while they are peeing

For some people who do this, everything's a race. For others, I imagine, there's a certain pleasure in finishing at the same time, as though the urinal is going to be like: "That was AMAZING!"
posted by kosem at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


...the kid sized urinal, which pretty much everyone old enough to use a urinal avoids.

According the ADA guidelines I happen to have here, it's a handicapped urinal and it's required by law, even though I can honestly say I've never seen a handicapped man use one. It does put a bit of a wrench into the calculations, since everyone but 6 year-olds seem afraid to use it.


I once worked with a guy who would only use the low urinal. He claimed it was the only one he could use without risk of dipping his golden idol in the drink. The implication being, of course, that anyone who was reasonably well hung would scorn the standard urinal. Thankfully, I can't verify whether his idolatry was based on merit or merely bluster, but I confess that I sometimes now feel a small measure of chagrin when using a standard urinal.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:50 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now, the other thing to point out is that once a urinal wall reaches its maximum equilibrium

You can no longer use the term "mathemanerding" after writing this.
posted by smackfu at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Indeed, the short urinal causes problems, but it can offer solutions, as well.

In my office, there are three urinals, with the short one at the end (no partitions, DU). If I choose urinal #1, then the next pee-er's irrational fear of the short urinal will result in his standing next to me. My choosing urinal #2, of course, will result in the same issue. However, if I choose the short urinal, #3, I achieve several optimal results--I'm on an end, the next pee-er can take the unoccupied urinal #1, AND I get to use the urinal least likely to be fouled with the drips and drabs of countless previous patrons.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2009


When I go to the bathroom at Stasiu's in Northeast Minneapolis, I don't stand at it to pee, I just climb right in.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:53 AM on September 2, 2009


Why are there not more dividers in public washrooms? It's such a seemingly cheap, simple solution to the awkwardness that many men apparently experience when peeing with strangers. And yet the vast majority of public washrooms forgo the divider. I don't get it.
posted by xmattxfx at 10:59 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


pokermonk: You've convinced me, give me my dollar back.

Also, I really enjoy the short urinal. Makes me feel like a T-Rex.
posted by chaff at 11:00 AM on September 2, 2009


I select a urinal. I pick my nose.
posted by GuyZero at 11:00 AM on September 2, 2009


Why are there not more dividers in public washrooms?

I think the standard ones are particularly susceptible to vandalism. They're only attached at one end so it's like a big lever.
posted by smackfu at 11:04 AM on September 2, 2009


I've always been exceedingly envious of the ease with which the male gender is able to relieve itself when outdoors, but when indoors? Wow, I had no idea. I'll never bitch again about having to wait in line for a stall in the women's bathroom. The only bathroom etiquette I've ever had to master is how to ask for tp from a fellow "consumer" when I've inadvertently gone into a stall that's out. I'm guessing you guys risk being stripped of your Man Badge if you actually admit to preferring an all-stall bathroom, though, right?
posted by cowpattybingo at 11:05 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


So he's identified a vulnerability but doesn't publish a sploit? Noob.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:15 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Holy shit. That's an idea I've had for years but haven't had the know-how to implement. I should have figured the internet was already there for me.
posted by sciurus at 11:18 AM on September 2, 2009


My only serious problem with urinals is that my back gets wet when I try to sit in one.
posted by mrmojoflying at 11:20 AM on September 2, 2009


While we're having this conversation, has anyone else noticed that (an estimated) >90% of urinal users lead off the festivities by spitting into the urinal? I know I do it, and one day it occurred to me to wonder why, and since then I have kept an eye out for the behavior and I am very far from the only one doing it. So, the two questions are why do we spit in the urinal, and has anyone else noticed that everyone does this?
posted by rusty at 11:20 AM on September 2, 2009


I select a urinal. I pick my nose.

I've stood next to you in a roilet and must say, cut it out. Nobody wants to see that when they're peeing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:22 AM on September 2, 2009


Wow. This is the most boys I've ever seen having a conversation about pissing, and as you all know, boys looove to talk about pissing. It always makes me remember what animals we are to realize how much fun a lot of guys have pissing, and to hear the smartest of you talk about peeing on each other. I am not being fecetious – I think it's hilarious and somehow...charming? (Maybe not the right word.)
posted by nosila at 11:22 AM on September 2, 2009


"Roilet" being where Scooby Doo pees, of course.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:23 AM on September 2, 2009


Post-coital urination is often erratic.

Maybe this makes me a square, but I don't think I've ever had the chance for a post-coital urination in a public restroom.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:23 AM on September 2, 2009 [14 favorites]


The authority in my mind is, as always, ICBE -- the International Center for Bathroom Etiquette.
posted by mhh5 at 11:25 AM on September 2, 2009


I love these threads. They make me feel so well-adjusted.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:26 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ohh, here's a fun one to contemplate. In Louisville there is a hotel that is also an art museum. Instead of urinals, the men's restroom features one trough along a wall that is a two-way mirror, so that while you use it you can see the people in the adjoining hallway who creepily appear to be staring at you but can actually only see their own reflections. Disappointingly, the women's restroom just has eyeball videos embedded in the mirror and isn't nearly as exciting.

Yes, I am a female, no, I am not going to elaborate why I was gallivanting around both restrooms.
posted by little e at 11:26 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


My place of employment clearly sought to speed up the process so workers could pee and get back to work without thorough analysis: the bathroom has only one urinal.

In places with n>1 urinals, I tend to choose urinals like a computer allocates memory.

Urinal * myUrinal;

if (!(me = (Urinal *) malloc(2)))
me = (Urinal *) malloc(1);

if (!me)
return NULL;
else
// peeing requires a whole slew of third-party library functions

posted by spamguy at 11:27 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Goddamnit! Now I really have to pee!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:28 AM on September 2, 2009


Crap, me should be myUrinal. Undo code checkin!
posted by spamguy at 11:29 AM on September 2, 2009


Erratic post-coital urination in a public restroom is more a Larry Craig specialty, so don't feel bad.
posted by jamstigator at 11:32 AM on September 2, 2009


This is how I roll. Is this breaking urinal etiquette?
posted by That takes balls. at 11:36 AM on September 2, 2009


If I am in a situation which might be awkward because I would be too close to the other dudes, I punch one of them in the face and then pee on them.

Mission accomplished!
posted by disclaimer at 11:38 AM on September 2, 2009


So when I was in florida for a while last year, we spent a significant amount of time on the beach at night shark fishing and whatnot. One night it was especially dark and we were on a stretch of beach specifically designated as house-less and light-less.

Anyway, I had to go wee, so I went into the portajohn and was really hoping that enough moonlight would shine through the top to show me the facility. Nope.

Oh well, I could see shapes. And I thought I was pretty well guaranteed to completely miss the hole (and I couldn't see well enough to use my shoe to lift the lid and seriously does ANYONE lift the lid of a PORTAJOHN with their HAND?) I decided to use the side urinal.

So here I go, peeing away, thinking man it's so embarrassing how loud the portajohn urinals are. And man I'm getting a fair amount of splashback. And wow I'm really peeing a lot. Sometimes I like to count when I pee, one onethousand two onethousand, it's not uncommon to get to 60 or 80, a couple times I've made it to 100, once this summer I made it to 121. Anyway, so I wrap up my business and put away the hose and rebutton/zip. I push the door open with my foot and bright moonlight cascades in the door.

I was totally pissing all over the oversized double-roll toilet paper dispenser...and thus the wall, the floor, the toilet paper, etc.

So I felt really bad, but there was nothing I could do. I walked back to the shore with the shark fishing folks laughing my ass off, and telling the guys they should use the john on the right, but certainly not the left.
posted by TomMelee at 11:39 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, in the interests of parading my naivete --- am I to understand from this discussion that y'all never use the middle urinals? What about in, like, a crowded bar? If there's three (or a group of three) and the middle is unoccupied, the ettiquitte is to wait rather than use it? How big of an emergency does it have to be to breech this ettiquitte?

The only bathroom etiquette I've ever had to master is how to ask for tp from a fellow "consumer" when I've inadvertently gone into a stall that's out.

Tallulah Bankhead was once in that situation. Lady next door said, darn, I'm sorry, I've just gone and used the last piece on my side. Tallulah asked if she had any kleenex in her purse. Nope, sorry. Pause, two beats. "Well then, darling, do you have two fives for a ten?"
posted by Diablevert at 11:40 AM on September 2, 2009


it took me into my 20s to figure out how not to splash:

The cake in the bottom is a tempting target, but it's not meant to be peed on directly. Aim for the back wall and it will roll straight down into the drain every time.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2009


Previously
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2009


Man, if there was ever a case of overcomplicating things....
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:46 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The toilet. Urinal is too likely to splash on his shirt/pants/shoes. Also, harder to flush without using hands.

I can't imagine being so clumsy as to get it all over like that. Ready, aim, fire, simple as that. They make water-less urinals that don't require flushing, so there's that, too.


TMI, I know, but try peeing at a urinal with a Prince Albert piercing. Let me know how that goes for ya. I'll stick to the toilet, thankee.
posted by Bageena at 11:47 AM on September 2, 2009


So, in the interests of parading my naivete --- am I to understand from this discussion that y'all never use the middle urinals? What about in, like, a crowded bar? If there's three (or a group of three) and the middle is unoccupied, the ettiquitte is to wait rather than use it? How big of an emergency does it have to be to breech this ettiquitte?

I have never heard of anyone passing up any urinal, if it was the only one available. What are you going to do, if you're in a bar, and there's a big line? Stand to the side until all 30 guys have gone by and the bathroom is completely clear?

My personal system would be:
1) I leave a one urinal buffer zone between me and anyone else, if possible.
2) All other things being equal, my first preference would be the one all the way at the back wall, furthest from the sinks.
3) but I'll use whatever one is open when it comes down to it, and not worry about breaking some mythical "bro code."
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:48 AM on September 2, 2009


I have been in a bar where the two-way mirror at the urinals was the other way around. I noticed on the way out...
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2009


I hate having to pee next to someone sitting down in the urinal.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2009


Oh, also on peeing: Has anyone ever heard of the phrase "brothers of the yellow X"? That was a phrase a roommate used to use to mean that if all other bathrooms were occupied, two guys can go at the same time, if necessary, and cross streams, hence the yellow X. I didn't know if this was a phrase of his creation, or something that he picked up.
posted by That takes balls. at 11:54 AM on September 2, 2009


This is all assuming there's no shower nearby, right?
posted by Killick at 11:59 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just like to wait in the stalls until someone comes in, then make a few clothing sounds, grunt, then whisper in a sad, child-like voice, "Ooooh, somebody's let Ricky out."
posted by adipocere at 12:01 PM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


You're there for two minutes. Piss wherever you want. Who gives a shit if the other guy feels awkward.
posted by digsrus at 12:14 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


TomMelee--you were at the beach, on a dark night, in a light-less, house-less section, and you used a portajohn? What am I missing?
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:14 PM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wait wait wiat wait That Takes Balls....

It's just like ghostbusters, the streams must never cross. Never ever. This is a rule long established when camping with friends, or skiing, or w/e.

The streams must never cross.
posted by TomMelee at 12:15 PM on September 2, 2009


lol MrMoonPie, there were wives around. :)
posted by TomMelee at 12:15 PM on September 2, 2009


nosila: "Wow. This is the most boys I've ever seen having a conversation about pissing, and as you all know, boys looove to talk about pissing."

You're just envious of our penises. If only there was a phrase for that...
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:19 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


TomMelee: Yeah... so?
posted by rusty at 12:19 PM on September 2, 2009


No one has mentioned the Stadium Pal yet?
posted by me & my monkey at 12:20 PM on September 2, 2009


"since everyone but 6 year-olds seem afraid to use it."

Not so much afraid, really; it's just that I'm 6'4" and peeing in one of those damn things unnecessarily increases the dick-to-urinal vertical distance, which results in more splashing. And who wants that? I mean, really - if I wanted to feel like I was peeing on the floor, well, I'd just go pee on the floor.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:25 PM on September 2, 2009


I think they should just install one of those fairground water gun stalls with targets and little plastic fires you have to knock down.
posted by lucidium at 12:26 PM on September 2, 2009


Isn't it interesting how there's both a highly evolved social etiquette in urinal selection, yet at the same time we will happily make do with showers, bidets, sinks, bushes, trees, beaches, the ocean, lakes, pools, beer bottles, buckets, dumpsters, alleys, potted plants and the dark corner of the closet if the need arises.
posted by MasonDixon at 12:31 PM on September 2, 2009


So uh...anyone else fart *every*single*time* he pees?
posted by notsnot at 12:32 PM on September 2, 2009


I think they should just install one of those fairground water gun stalls with targets and little plastic fires you have to knock down.

Even after a lot of beer and at close range it's hard to work up enough pressure to knock the target down. Don't ask me how I know.
posted by mrmojoflying at 12:33 PM on September 2, 2009


While we're having this conversation, has anyone else noticed that (an estimated) >90% of urinal users lead off the festivities by spitting into the urinal?

Where are you pissing? A TB clinic? Healthy folks with proper dental hygiene never have need to spit. On the incredibly rare occasions I see someone spitting in a urinal, I assume they are ill, or they were raised somewhere in the Ozarks.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:34 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


So uh...anyone else fart *every*single*time* he pees?

You're probably okay as long as the relationship isn't commutable
posted by srboisvert at 12:36 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thoughtcrime, it's apparently quite common.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:37 PM on September 2, 2009


Pissing at Anthony's on Pier 66 is a hoot on account of the televisions in the wall above each urinal. These are usually tuned to Sportscenter or somesuch, and there's one over each urinal, if I remember right. This mitigates urinal proximity awkwardness quite well, and having a 1:1 urinal to TV ratio, which avoids the potential added awkwardness of gazing at something together while you're pissing. If I'm alone when I finish, I like switching them all to home shopping before walking out.

Also: Never the stall, unless the urinals are packed out. It pisses me off (haw!) to no end when I walk in needing the toilet to find that some jerk-off ignored empty urinals and made the toilet stall his private little pissing suite. When I'm forced into the stall, I piss in terror that urinals will open while I'm in there, someone needing the toilet will walk in and that I shall become the private pissing jerk-off in that scenario. I'm not sure if the added stress hastens my piss or not.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:40 PM on September 2, 2009


Maybe this makes me a square, but I don't think I've ever had the chance for a post-coital urination in a public restroom.

It's actually quite convenient to be able to move a foot in either direction afterwards and have a urinal available. (I'm a hopeless romantic)
posted by ryoshu at 12:46 PM on September 2, 2009


TMI, I know, but try peeing at a urinal with a Prince Albert piercing.

Find me a pierced urinal, and I'll give it a shot.
posted by explosion at 12:50 PM on September 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


Really, the best are the dead drunk dudes in bars who adopt the "I'm being frisked" pose with two hands on the wall and in full lean. Preferably also moaning with relief. That's always good for a laugh.

notsnot, it doesn't happen every time, but when it does, I think of it as kind of a bonus. Although, that said, once I audibly farted in a public restroom while pissing, and before I could stop myself, I barked out "Oh my!" Yeah, that got me some pretty good sidelong glances.
posted by Skot at 12:50 PM on September 2, 2009


rusty: So, the two questions are why do we spit in the urinal, and has anyone else noticed that everyone does this?
I can't offer a general explanation of this, but I can say that I always do it. It's a habit I picked up in high school when I read a book that described it as a practice that protects you from witchcraft. I doubt this is why anyone else does it.

Before mocking me, please consider that to date no spell cast on me has ever worked. Make of that what you will.

Apparently (quick Google search) this practice is recorded in Pliny: "As charms against the evil eye, he mentions spitting into the urine the moment it is voided, of spitting into the right shoe before putting it on, and of spitting while passing any place where danger has been incurred." (from this dubious source)

so there. Magic.
posted by ServSci at 12:55 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Simon Travaglia covered this years ago.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:00 PM on September 2, 2009


I'd also just like to mention that, as I type this - September 2, 2009, 1:01 pm PST, this thread has more comments than anything else posted today. The spoileriffic Mad Men thread has closed to within forty comments, but that's the only contender at this point.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:01 PM on September 2, 2009


I'm with caution live frogs, I'm a larger guy so I've got to worry about making other people uncomfortable. So I usually hit one of the corners or use a stall.
Best idea I've seen - horribly wasteful though - was this waterfall wall sort of deal. Water cascading down one whole wall of the head. Really kind of nice, no smell, etc.
Never understood people who get upset with flatulence in the toilet. It's the john. You're supposed to fart in there. It's sacred space in that regard.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:08 PM on September 2, 2009


I remember Dave Barry talking up this point about fifteen years back. He would entertain small gatherings in Southern Florida - this was at a bar. I raised my hand to ask him how would the dynamic change if Audrey Hepburn walked in? Which I thought was a funny non sequitur. He didn't notice my hand raised, or did and ignored it, which is just as well. I imagine if he heard my question he would have put a restraining order against me.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:27 PM on September 2, 2009


If I'm the first in, I go to the furthest urinal/stall. Hell, I'll crawl up in the ceiling tiles and piss just to get away from some of you pigs (and by 'pigs' I mean the farters, the scratchers, the mumblers, the "I'm having fake sex with the wall" -ers).

Speaking of stalls, I am reminded of people who are able to defy the laws of physics and shit UNDER the seat. I have yet to see a statistical model or algorithm that can explain that.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:33 PM on September 2, 2009


And flying! What's the deal with that???
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:34 PM on September 2, 2009


Kevin, there's apaprently one guy in every office who leans WAY forward, bears down, and shits with such velocity against the back wall of the toilet that not only does it pait the entire bowl it shoots up under the seat as well. I have no idea why he does this, or how he gets around to every single office in the country, but he's managed to hit every one I've worked at so far.
posted by yhbc at 1:37 PM on September 2, 2009


thus guaranteeing that there will be piss on the seat the next time someone goes to use it.

WTF men-in-this-thread. Piss in the toilet with the seat up so that you'll have toilet paper to clean yourself so you won't be uncomfortable. And then clean up after yourself if you missed. Unless you're in a place where water is scarce, in which case use the waterless urinal. This isn't a complicated subject.

of course I was raised with older sisters, and not in a barn
posted by davejay at 1:39 PM on September 2, 2009


ServSci: "So, the two questions are why do we spit in the urinal, and has anyone else noticed that everyone does this?"

Why, I haven't the slightest idea. This doesn't bother me as much as guys who do it while at a stop light. I'll see them literally open the car door, peer at the ground and hock a loogie. I always wonder what the fuck was so damn horrible in their mouth that they had to stop right there and get it out of their mouth and out of the car.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:41 PM on September 2, 2009


yhbc: "Kevin, there's apaprently one guy in every office who leans WAY forward, bears down, and shits with such velocity against the back wall of the toilet that not only does it pait the entire bowl it shoots up under the seat as well."

Thank god you're not in Germany.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:43 PM on September 2, 2009


Has anyone inverted this problem to try to determine the stall which is least commonly used and thus least likely to contain random splatter?
posted by spaceviking at 1:47 PM on September 2, 2009



Has anyone inverted this problem to try to determine the stall which is least commonly used and thus least likely to contain random splatter?
posted by spaceviking at 4:47 PM on September 2 [+] [!]


You know, I can't find where I read this, but I heard that you should use the one closest to the door, because nobody wants that one.
posted by Comrade_robot at 1:54 PM on September 2, 2009


"Pliny says it protects me from witchcraft" is enough reason for me to do anything. Thanks Metafilter! You've once again helped justify my mildly anti-social behavior.
posted by rusty at 2:14 PM on September 2, 2009


Jesus Christ: I must be retarded, because I just go in and pee. We travel a lot, stop at a lot of truck stops, and I had long gotten over feeling weird about peeing in the same room as another person. If I don't have to stand right next to somebody, or within view when the door is open, I'll take the slightly-better urinal. Other than that, I'm not that much of a neurotic to spend my pee-time worried about the guy next to me. Hell, those of you worried about what the other guy thinks in the bathroom? When you walk your socially-awkward ass into the bathroom, I'll bet 100% of the guys already standing at the urinals are only thinking, "crap, that guy is thinking way to hard about me while I'm peeing, and that's uncomfortable."
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:20 PM on September 2, 2009


I think you're all just responding to peer group pressure.
posted by Herodios at 2:23 PM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I always wonder what the fuck was so damn horrible in their mouth that they had to stop right there and get it out of their mouth and out of the car.

Never had a sinus infection?
posted by ryoshu at 2:46 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


A few years back there was an article on the topic in this magazine. It's not online any more, but as I recall it was hilarious. The main thing it sought to avoid was having an occupied urinal on either side of you, the dreaded "double-dick situation."
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:55 PM on September 2, 2009


BOY ZONE!
posted by deborah at 3:59 PM on September 2, 2009


Reminds me of this.
posted by bwg at 4:03 PM on September 2, 2009


Somebody oughta create a flowchart for this.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:04 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


So uh...anyone else fart *every*single*time* he pees?

Sometimes I imagine I'm pissing with such force that it's forcing me backwards. Not sending me flying backwards, understand. My feet stay fixed, but I just lean back like I'm being held up with wires, and just when it looks like I'll fall flat on my back I rip out a fart and it propels me back upright forcing me forward even almost touching the filthy urinal itself but the pee keeps going and pushing me back... Piss, fart, piss, faaart back and forth like a Danny Kaye gag.

But not *every time*. You're a freak.
posted by fleacircus at 4:39 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


In my little corner of the world, individual urinals are actually quite rare, and reserved for high-class establishments. Troughs are much more common. So I would like to see this analysis converted from the discrete to continuous. It leaves more opportunity for "spreading out" at a fine-grained resolution, until you hit the limits of personal space.
posted by Jimbob at 4:50 PM on September 2, 2009


I am an old retired cop. Investigated an attempted murder case once where the victim was using the urinal and the suspect who was using a machete as his weapon of choice, waited until the victim had his hands occupied and obviously his back to the attack. Not very pretty and quite frankly...put me off using common urinals....forever.

Always used the closed lock stalls....even the handicap ones if no other is available....and actually common urinals always reminded me of the cattle call.
posted by malter51 at 5:32 PM on September 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


ryoshu: "I always wonder what the fuck was so damn horrible in their mouth that they had to stop right there and get it out of their mouth and out of the car.

Never had a sinus infection?
"

Never had a Kleenex?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:53 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


1. Guys who flush the urinal one or more times while they are peeing

I do this. Always have, since as far back as I can remember standing up to pee. It's an odd thing too. There's no thought to it, and it always happens when I'm almost done. My only guess is that at some point during my "assisted" phase of going to the bathroom as a toddler, someone flushed while I was going, and it stuck. I think we vastly underestimate what a mindfuck toilet training must be on our young elastic minds.

But mostly this is how I get down these days...
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:28 PM on September 2, 2009


but try peeing at a urinal with a Prince Albert piercing.

My Prince Albert piercing, let me show you it.

I'll never pee without consulting a Pythagorean equation again.
posted by Balisong at 8:20 PM on September 2, 2009


Having peed in many, many gay bars, I can attest to the fact that homosexuals are over it. There is rarely any peeking and if one does...it is not big deal. Everyone wants to get in and get out as fast as possible...its just pissing afterall.
posted by shockingbluamp at 9:03 PM on September 2, 2009


I always wonder what the fuck was so damn horrible in their mouth that they had to stop right there and get it out of their mouth and out of the car.

Chewing tobacco?
posted by frobozz at 10:56 PM on September 2, 2009


The urinals at the House of Lords has a twelve inch sheet of glass running the full length of the trough -- presumably so as to prevent splashback from staining the ermine.

Of course, you can't get into a stall there. They're all filled up with peers getting buggered by Guards.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:02 PM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always hate peeing when wearing flip-flops - it really makes you realize how much splatter there is...
posted by bakerybob at 12:06 AM on September 3, 2009


Investigated an attempted murder case once where the victim was using the urinal and the suspect who was using a machete as his weapon of choice, waited until the victim had his hands occupied and obviously his back to the attack. Not very pretty and quite frankly...put me off using common urinals....forever.

Whoa! I stand corrected.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:29 AM on September 3, 2009


I'd be interested in seeing lists of who did and did not click on all the comment links that have descriptions such as "this."

I'm on the didn't click list. In most of those cases, my imagination tells me that I don't want to know what's at the other end of that link.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:55 AM on September 3, 2009


Sometimes, you'd rather use a tree.
posted by exogenous at 7:29 AM on September 3, 2009


The only thing I'll add, is my all-time favorite bathroom wall sign:

"Please don't eat the toilet cakes."
posted by Goofyy at 11:28 AM on September 3, 2009


Oooh, ooh--what about the guy at the urinal who has to look around any time someone else enters the bathroom? (malter51 situations excepted, of course)
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:45 AM on September 3, 2009


Dude, after reading malter51's comment, I'm one of those guys now.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:26 PM on September 3, 2009


Under what circumstances is it okay to talk in the bathroom?

I vote never.

Unless it's something like: "Please stop peeing on my shoe"
posted by empath at 1:38 PM on September 3, 2009


Maybe this makes me a square, but I don't think I've ever had the chance for a post-coital urination in a public restroom

Noob
posted by UseyurBrain at 4:18 PM on September 3, 2009


There was a study investigating this very issue in the Journal of Personality and Psychology in 1976, entitled, "Personal space invasions in the lavatory: Suggestive evidence for arousal." The best part (although there are so many great aspects of this study) was the fact that someone was sitting in one of the stalls with a periscopic prism embedded in a stack of books to observe the urine stream, as well as 2 stop watches to measure the onset and duration of "micturation."

Abstract:
"The hypothesis that personal space invasions produce arousal was investigated
in a field experiment. A men's lavatory provided a setting where norms for
privacy were salient, where personal space invasions could occur in the case of
men urinating, where the opportunity for compensatory responses to invasion
were minimal, and where proximity-induced arousal could be measured.
Research on micturation indicates that social stressors inhibit relaxation of
the external urethral sphincter, which would delay the onset of micturation,
and that they increase intravesical pressure, which would shorten the duration
of micturation once begun, Sixty lavatory users were randomly assigned to
one of three levels of interpersonal distance and their micturation times were
recorded. In a three-urinal lavatory, a confederate stood immediately adjacent
to a subject, one urinal removed, or was absent. Paralleling the results of
a correlational pilot study, close interpersonal distances increased the delay of
onset and decreased the persistence of micturation. These findings provide
objective evidence that personal space invasions produce physiological changes
associated with arousal."
posted by joan cusack the second at 4:39 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]



BOY ZONE!

posted by deborah

Respectfully, ma'am, this a little more like a brodeo.
posted by Minus215Cee at 9:08 PM on September 3, 2009


For some here, it appears to be a kind of brodello.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:23 AM on September 4, 2009


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