Warning: graphic biological content ahead.
Women (and some men) that live with men and boys can periodically be heard bellowing the cry, “Lift the seat!” when they are tasked with cleaning the toilet. Dried urine stains on all parts of that porcelain appliance can be pretty disgusting to deal with, and it’s a challenge that has divided the genders since we first started putting a roof over our peeing-places.
I’m familiar with more than one strategy to deal with the unsanitary fire hoses men were gifted with upon their creation.
- When in Rome: My brother, once he had his own toilet to clean, accepted his poor aim and started peeing in a seated position. I once suggested this as a solution to a coworker, a single mother with a two-year-old boy, but she told me, “I want my son to pee like a man.” She may have had a point; a kid trying to head for the booth in the boys’ room at school might quickly discover how cruelly his peers treat anything that hinted at being different. Nevertheless, I’m and adult and can handle criticism, so I’ve tried it, only to discover that aim-and-pray is rather hardwired in me by now. I only remember after I clean the bathroom, and then only for a few days.
- Up against the wall: My mother always found the idea of urinals “disgusting.” She didn’t clean bathrooms for a living, or maybe she would have been more appreciative. Yes, it’s a little nerve wracking the first time you’re asked to stand at attention and stare at the wall (particularly if you come from a home where nudity isn’t the norm), but newer mens’ rooms have partitions to afford a bit more privacy. And it’s much better than the trough you still find in bars from time to time.
- Go outside: A boy’s memories should include trying to write his name in the snow. Peeing against a tree or behind a bush has all sorts of problems, including tickets for exposure, sanitation problems if it’s done too often, and frostbite if it’s done too far into the winter. But you don’t have pee stains staring at you the next day, and it is kinda fun.
- Take cover: I make it a habit of lowering the toilet cover after every use. That way, I reason, the next person will be lifting something to do their business, and I can’t imagine a guy lifting the cover to pee while leaving the seat in place. It’s just as easy to lift both as one. The only complaint I heard about this was from a woman who said that she’d be just as likely to pee right on the cover in the night as not. That, I contend, is not my problem.
So why is it that men have such terrible aim? After all, we use this thing several times a day; it should be a snap to get the targeting computer calibrated. Well perhaps I can give a hint of a clue by way of this anecdote:
I awoke, feeling the pressure in my bladder, and after clearing the cobwebs from my brain I arose and walked unsteadily to the bathroom as my sense of balance tried to catch up with my newborn wakefulness. I lifted both cover and seat and took aim at the bowl some two feet below, using all the skill and practice of my nearly four decades of urination. I released the bladder muscle and let fly. My urine burst forth in a split stream; on part hit the edge of the bowl to scatter about, while the other splashed upon the tiled floor. Frantically I tried to stop what I had started, which is no easy task with a nightful of urine clamoring for escape.
This probably doesn’t occur in societies without clothes, but for the rest of us, stuff gets in there from time to time and messes with the flow. I don’t know about other guys, but I don’t make a habit of performing a pre-pee inspection, although it’s obviously a good idea.
I’m going back to peeing sitting down again, but I doubt it will last.