Urinal Stress

Urinal Stress

What's the sitch with the stress associated with urinating in a public restroom?

Or is that just me? 

Am I peeing too loud? Or, as importantly, too soft? Did I pee for too long? Or perhaps not long enough? 

That was not some sort of childish, short form poetry. That is a real snapshot of the mental anguish I experience when I step up to a urinal. 

Male restrooms are crowded, efficient places. They are simple and functional. We are not there to ‘freshen up’ or ‘hang out’... per se. We are there between classes, during halftime of sporting events, after the first pitcher is running low at the local watering-hole; we are there to empty our bladders, hastily rinse our hands with tap water, and then get back to our business. Which is why they are designed for as many men as possible to all pee simultaneously, elbow to elbow.

Most of the time, this is no problem. I have peed in my fair share of public restrooms (though I guess I’m not sure what my ‘fair share’ of public restroom usage would be, because I pay my taxes and I’m not some goddamned commie) and mind is generally on other things.

But occasionally, I find myself entering a bathroom in the lull before, or after, a big rush. I am in that tiled space with one, or maybe two other guys. And we all step up to the plate at about the same time. Elbow to elbow. 

The acoustics in many public restrooms are such that, a solitary, powerful stream of urine hitting the still water of a toilet basin can sound like a mighty river. Everyone in the room is aware of who is currently peeing and who is not. 

This intimate awareness of your unknown neighbors’ private functions is off-putting. It can lead to judgement. I know this from experience as I have judged others who have underperformed at the urinal next to me... and I know I’m not the only one. 

“Psshh... is that the best he can do? Dude, I’m way louder than that loser.” Or on the flip-side, “Hmm, that guy is peeing pretty loud... probably compensating for having such a below-average penis?” 

Or, if time spent urinating is the issue: “Why did he even take up urinal-space? He peed like a shot glass worth. He couldn’t have held it a little longer? Loser.” Which of course can be countered with, “This guy is taking forever... does he have a problem with his genitals?” Again. Loser. 

And I’m not even getting into the further-enhanced proximity of a trough-urinal-situation.

Needless to say there is a lot to consider here. And despite the close quarters and distance our pee has to travel before plunging into its receptacle, I would gladly take the male situation over the lines of female restrooms. We clearly can’t switch to a stalls-only format. 

But perhaps sound-dampening urinal-dividers?

Is this just me?

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