Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Urinal etiquette

While most men do continue to support the three main rules of urinal etiquettes, men are allowing themselves to forget the finer points of appropriate urinal etiquette. The biggest of the big three is, of course, your chin line should never title below 30 degrees down. Traditionally, your chin should be tilted 30 degrees up. This explains why finer establishments place sports sections of recent newspapers at above average men’s eyelevel. (Note by “average men”, I’m referring to height). As our culture has gotten more casual and, simultaneously, more politically correct, more mainstream establishments lowered the newspaper placement to a more manageable level for shorter men. This led to a tacit acceptance of a level chin at the urinal. Of course, where standards are lowered a little, too many people attempt to lower them further. To appease the masses, the tilt of the chin is allowed to dip below level if the man relieving himself has had more than three beers. I can not stress enough that no amount of consumption of flavored martinis allows one to dip their chin below level.

The second major etiquette rule men continue to support involve appropriate conversation. Let me again reference the most traditional application of etiquette first. Tradition limits urinal conversations to the following phrases, sometimes referred to as “The Four Bests”: “Hey” “Time to break the seal” “The beer is going right through me” “See the game?”. The proper response to any of the The Four Bests is for the urinalmate to simply grunt and nod one’s head, remembering the first rule of etiquette. If your chin line is already approaching the lower end of acceptability, the head nod can either be left out entirely or accomplished by first lifting the chin and then dipping it back to its original position. Again, there has been etiquette creep and the rules for conversation are much less explicit. In less than traditional establishments, actual conversations of considerable depth can be had. For example, one may discuss the current baseball or football game. Golf is not an acceptable topic. It is increasingly becoming acceptable to reference how good it feels to finally relieve oneself but I must provide a cautionary yellow flag here. One may only reference urinary pleasure once and it can not be accompanied by an noises and/or movements of one’s hips. Repeating or expounding on exactly how good it feels is not proper etiquette. Men over the age of 50 with possible prostate issues are pardoned from the no noise rule and from the 30 degree chin line rule. They are typically focused entirely on themselves, usually saying the “Please, Lord, let me pee” prayer and should left alone. Urinalmates in this condition have enough problems that they no longer need to worry about certain rules of etiquette. Besides, most of us will be there one day.

The final rule of the etiquette big three is appropriate dismount, including the obligatory shake. There has been no dumbing down of this rule since allowing the third shake for southern states in the 1950’s. The procedure is simple but must be adhered to exactly. Shake twice (or three times if one is south of the Mason-Dixon line), button, step back and turn left. Zipping is accomplished simultaneously with the left turn. Notice that there is no proper urinal etiquette for “snaps”. If one’s pants snap, it would be best to use a stall with the door firmly closed and latched.

Where urinal etiquette appears to be slipping is with urinal selection. When there is only one or two urinals, simply approach the open urinal. When there are three or more urinal’s one must be more aware one’s surroundings and follow two simple rules. First, when possible select odd numbered urinals. For example, if there are three urinals, select the urinal on either side, the one or the three urinals. The middle urinal should on only be selected when both the one and the three urinal. The second rule is to select urinals with at least one empty urinal between oneself and men already using the urinals. One might think that if one empty urinal is good, then two empty urinals is better, space permitting. While on the surface this logic seems attractive, it does not take into consideration new urinalmates approaching after one is already committed to one’s urinal. Consider this example, one enters a restroom in a large theater. The theater is showing Bette Midler’s new movie, so the men’s room is largely empty. The only preexisting urinalmate has selected the three urinal, as numbered from the left. Using the two empty urinals concept, one may then select urinal six. If only one new urinalmate approaches before you are finished, he may select urinal one and all remains well. When another urinalmate approaches, urinals one, three and six are occupied. The natural selection would be to choose an odd numbered urinal, either five or seven both of which are next to you. The new urinalmate would rule out urinal two with two adjacent urinalmates. Urinal four would also be acceptable, but still uncomfortable.

Northern men number urinals from left to right. Southern men number urinals from right to left. When there are an odd number of urinals, both the northern and the southern counting methods result in each urinal correctly being assigned an odd number. That is in a three-urinal scenario, whether a urinal is numbered one or three it is still odd. Traditional establishments do not have an even number of urinals do to the potential confusion in selecting odd numbered urinals. Even so, occasionally establishments with even number of urinals are accepted in either the far north or the far south. If one finds oneself near the Mason-Dixon line and there are an even number of urinals, the only etiquette appropriate action is to relieve oneself in the alley behind the establishment. Alley etiquette will be discussed in a later article.


Anne said...


Aaron Brand said...

Two things:

First, it seems like men are acting more like women; not only do they forget the second rule you state about appropriate bathroom conversation, but they go to the restroom together and continue their outside conversation well into the urinating process.

Second, your movie theatre scenario seemed odd to me. If it was a Bette Midler movie, I would use any excuse to be out of the theatre, even if my date thought I had a bladder control problem. So I would think the restroom should be full of males.

Nicely stated though. I hope males of future generations will have this instilled in them.

edson_dias said...

:-) thats funny

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