I just got back from the Men’s Room… wait, where are you going, no seriously, this is relevant to the story… I just got back from the Men’s Room and there are no dividers at the urinals.
Now for the ladies, many urinals have a piece of wood that separates urinals for privacy. I can still see the face of the dude next to me so best not make any crazy relieved pee-faces because I will chuckle because I’m mean like that. I don’t have a problem with the lack of dividers (since our bathrooms look like something you’d expect at the last truck stop three hundred miles out of Caracas… just because we build trucks here doesn’t mean the bathrooms have to look like truck stop bathrooms). I started thinking about why anyone has them in the first place. Are there that many dudes trying to get a look at other dudes junk? Is that common? Men eat a hearty meal at Sonny’s Real Pit Barbeque and have to disperse that 64oz Coke and as you’re doing your business, thinking whether to order the cobbler when Patti comes back and offers desert and if you’ll make it home in time for Ice Road Truckers, a dude saddles up besides you and suddenly you’re overwhelmed with the urge to look at his penis… his glorious, magnificent penis.
Or maybe he’s looking at yours. I don’t know. I don’t think my junk inspires gawkers but who knows. I am just thinking was this such a problem that there are companies that make money preventing dudes from getting the urge to look at your junk? It’s kind of like those tissue-paper seat covers where the middle never comes out right and they create the illusion they’re sanitary when really it’s a placebo. Your butt’s probably the cleanest thing on you. It’s covered in two layers of fabric (at least I hope so you skanks that like to go ala carte). It never touches anything unlike my hands, my face, my forearms, etc. What it really protects you from is the gross idea that your bare ass is pushed up like a pressed ham against the spot another bare ass just was.
Because of the lack of dividers, I notice some dudes, paranoid people will see their junk, leaning into the urinal. Gross! Standing upwind of your own urine as it splashes back at you amidst the cigarette butts and pubes grosses me out all the while happy it isn’t my job to replace the urinal cakes. No way am I leaning into that, body pressed into the porcelain, my fancy Target Cherokee polo getting God-Know-What on it. I would rather let a dude take a picture of my junk (sans face, of course) with his iPhone and post it on YouTube than lean into that perfect storm of bacteria.
Disney World has amazingly clean bathrooms all things considered. They tell me, because I asked, there is a person that cleans them every fifteen minutes. I often wonder when you go to Epcot and they have all the Cast Members from different countries, do any of them have to clean bathrooms because that would suck. Coming all the way from Morocco and someone hands you plastic gloves and a bottle of 409… “Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!” I was doing my business there once and I could hear this dude breathing and I turned around and there was this Dutch guy standing six inches behind me. Totally freaked out. Note to self: the Dutch have no concept of personal space. It’s probably a small country unlike America and they can’t spread out the standard five feet no-fly zone reserved only for urinals and ATM machines.
Either that or I do inspire gawking.
I sit when I pee. Not manly, I admit. I never knew when this started because I didn’t do it as a child but it’s been going on for years. It does make reading a whole lot easier. So as this odd trait of mine was chipping away at my self-esteem and masculinity (along with my inability to throw, inexperience to firearms, disdain of sports and lack of automobile knowledge) to combat it I decided I would just start peeing upright and suddenly made a disturbing discovery.
I’m short. Five foot six to be exact. It’s my mother’s fault (she’s four eleven and three fourths which she is quick to remind you of). I wear shorts a lot and as I was doing my business I noticed I am the exact height where my the bottoms of my shorts touch the top of the toilet bowl. Putrid, right? When I noticed that it almost grossed me out worse than the time I made a sandwich and decided to use the facilities before heading for the living room and caught myself in the bathroom with food. Food should never be in the bathroom. Ever. Seriously, never. I think I noticed my short dilemma years ago and have been copping a squat ever since and it became habit.
Ironically, for a person with no shame in public bathrooms, I like my privacy at home. Maybe because I am with people who know me. I like to do my business at the furthest bathroom from where people are gathering. Probably self-conscious from my father who used to tell my brother and I that we sounded like cows peeing on rocks. No woman has ever seen me pee. Not her business. Women on the other hand have no problem with that. They’ve invited me in. I’ve politely declined. I have made excuses to avoid it (my stomach hurts, my mother is calling, I’ll be out here in the bedroom scratching my eyes out with these toenail cutters).
Some people read in the bathroom. Don’t lend a book to Tony Lipari that has been in the bathroom because that book has now been tainted and thusly should be burned and burned post haste. I am pretty sure Tony doesn’t get anything from the public library because although his taxes pay for it, that place is like a loaded gun to him. My friend Raymond Pfriender kept this four inch thick book on the history of the Third Reich in his bathroom at the comic book store he owned (again, another bathroom that looked like a place where forty-five year old daytime hookers go to overdose). It was there for years and at some point Jon Plant started reading it on Saturdays so when Ray finished he lent it to him. He still has it in his bathroom and he’s been reading it slightly longer, in five minute increments, than it took to fight the actual war. Comic books are the perfect bathroom reading material, twenty minutes exactly. Natalie reads in the bathroom. Her old apartment had a stack of magazines I normally would never peruse. Domino, Today’s Bride, the obligatory Pottery Barn and Ikea catalogs and her standard labor/feminist propaganda newsletters. She read a lot of Harry Potter in the bathroom.
While I am here, if Natalie’s younger sister Brittany is reading this, sorry about your Harry Potter books.
I once was playing with my new cell phone and dropped the stylus on the bathroom floor at work. I just stared at it unsure what to do. I am the guy who undoes his belt and tucks it into my pants so the end doesn’t touch the floor. I tried to wash it and sterilize it with hand sanitizer but in the end I just threw it out and bought a new one. My brother once dropped a cell phone into a urinal trying to talk on it pinned unsuccessfully between his chin and shoulders. Cell phones aren’t made for that. I once leaned forward (I don’t remember why) and my tie dipped into a toilet where my unflushed business was.
When Jon Plant gets bored at work he has been designing a bathroom where you wouldn’t have to touch anything. A completely hands-free bathroom. I say, like cold fusion, it can’t be done. He tells me that’s what they said about splitting the atom.
Not in our time… but maybe that’s a world my grandchildren will live in.