Forget feminism. Men are chained, shackled and manacled when it comes to public pissing etiquette or ‘Bloketiquette’ in the “Big House” or alternatively the “Little Boys’ Room”.
I’ve heard the phrase “Rat Up a Drainpipe” applied to it before, but have started calling a public lavatory – the “Rat On a Hot Tin Roof”. Why ? – because I once happened to glance up in a public lavvy while taking a piss and saw a rat and nest of babies sandwiched between chicken wire mesh and a hot corrugated steel roof above me. Ah…the serenity of that particular moment.
From an early age it’s instilled into males to stand rigid at a urinal, eyes transfixed forward, boring into the obligatory white tiled mouldy lime grout wall. No acknowledgement of the bloke next to you who’s trying to get the piss out in as short a time as possible. There’s communication generally, but it’s a monosyllabic grunt of acknowledgement at the start. Nothing midstream mind you and no eye contact – that’s dodgy.
If the bloke alongside you spontaneously combusted, you might notice out of the corner of your eye at the absolute extreme edge of your peripheral vision but even then you wouldn’t turn ever so slightly to try to douse the flames with a trickle. Eyes straight ahead thank you very much.
I was once in a rundown pub a bit worse for wear after a pub crawl and the door was busted. From the corner of my eye I noticed someone watching but carried on. Once I’d finished – a dozen or so girls’ were having a laugh looking at a few of us lined up through the half open broken door. None of us had turned to look at them. Not the done thing you see. Eyes straight ahead.
The big stainless steel plates as urinals are there because once you start there can be no correction in trajectory. We’d rather piss over our trousers and shoes than try to correct things. Anything other than a microsecond of correction is just not okay. Certainly no lingering fine motor skill adjustment. Looking upwards at the ceiling where I spied my furry friends is acceptable but it needs to be a quick look upwards, not head in the clouds, star gazing stuff. None of that spinning around like on the deck of the Titanic in the movie.
The difficulty of not being able to talk in a toilet got to me when I worked at McDonalds after school as a youngster. In between preparing fine food I cleaned the toilets.
One day I was changing toilet paper and someone went into the cubicle while my back was turned. Unfortunately for them though there was no toilet paper as I hadn’t gotten round to replacing it before they went in there. It soon became clear they weren’t taking a piss. However there was no toilet paper and this they would soon discover to their horror.
But I couldn’t exactly call out, “Excuse me, are you having a crap or a piss ? If the former is the case, unless you’re accomplished at using your hand, you should know there’s no paper. You should stop now if you can. If you’re too far gone I’ll send some over – Bombs Away !”
I couldn’t do anything other than watch the poor bugger emerge walking like he’d been in the saddle for a month, and amble his way out of the family restaurant at a brisk pace looking like someone with motor neurone disease having difficulties with his limbs.
Speaking of McDonalds, I should have known something was up when I walked in as a customer one day and lamented the fact that there were no urinals – that and the eye contact I was getting at the hand dryer. Not the done thing.
Out of the corner of my eye, someone was looking straight at me as I stood drying my hands with my gaze transfixed on the wall in front of me as is the male custom. The extreme edge of my peripheral vision though told me that someone was staring intently and seemingly malevolently at me. You don’t stare at someone in the “Rat On a Hot Tin Roof”. Bugger that I thought, bloketiquette is to hold one’s ground no matter what and I wasn’t going to be pushed off the hand dryer until my hands were baked in dried soap.
Only then did I turn to let them use it and looked into the eyes of a woman.
Something didn’t make sense I thought. My first reaction was that this bloody pervert woman has gone into a male toilet !
But I said nothing. No talking is the rule, and I nonchalantly turned and strolled out the door.
It only became clear later on that the toilets had been switched following renovations and I’d just assumed they were in the same place and walked straight in there without looking for any signage on the door. It became clearer in those stunned few seconds that I was the one in the wrong as the lack of urinals hit home.
I duly registered a complaint at the counter to establish an alibi and after that legged it.
I saw a cop heading towards McDonalds outside and thought for a brief moment I was going to be done for loitering with intent or something – the bloody injustice of it all ! Anyway the cop went past me and I got the hell out of there.Blended into the crowd.
My point of all of this is – sure we piss standing up, but it’s not all milk and honey.
Whereas woman are so liberated they can have a telephone conversation on the toilet. We males are imprisoned in our four walls and have a long, long way to go…