The Big Boy’s Tidy Urines Club

Joel Golby

I was raised in the apparently mistaken belief that urinating – hereby ‘doing urines’ – was a solitary and private activity. A wee was a thing to be enjoyed alone and in silence, and you do such basic things as ‘wash your hands’ afterwards. Then I smashed abruptly into adolescence and had to use big boy toilets alongside other men, and it’s all been downhill ever since.

Here is the thing: Ladies, I know you have such as periods and childbirth and lactation to deal with, but when it comes to ‘wet things coming out of your body’ have you ever actually tried peeing next to a man? I think if Q17 on the census was ‘MEN: do you know how to do a urine?’ only around 30% of us would have cause to respond ‘Yes (Yes I Do).’ [1] You have not seen a glimmer of the darkness humanity is capable of until you have stood in a tiled room, your business all flopping in the breeze, surrounded by various sturdy men emitting streams of fluid; some forcing, some leaking.

[1] And yes: I not-even-smugly consider myself amongst the 30% of elite pissers in the country. I do immaculate urines.

See, if ladies want to make doing urines a tag-team game then that is optional, for them – gaggles of women tip-toeing into bathrooms, all giggles and pisses, being a thing that I have long been just about okay with –  but somewhere back in the day somebody took that decision away from me and my 30% kin; somebody looked at a public toilet, hands on hips, and said ‘No, it’s okay. All the dudes can just piss into a trough.’

Now, as Honourary President of the Big Boy’s Tidy Urines Club [2], I find this arbitary decision on my pissing habits made by i. someone else ii. like a hundred fucking years ago to be inappropriate in the extreme, because: although I do urines totally nicely and don’t even get any on my trousers (I know!) other men do not. They do noises (example i. “ungh!”; example ii: [a perambulatory fart]); they leave the room abruptly post-wee and leave tacky unclean fingerprints on the shared doorhandle; they leave all sorts of drops of piss and fragments of paper on and around the there-for-everyone toilet seat. Never have I wanted to scream George Costanza at the top of my lungs like doing a wee in a room with other men: “You know, WE’RE LIVING IN A SOCIETY!”

[2] BBTUC; there are badges, yes, but the initiation ceremony is just debilitatingly traumatic for all parties.

Being exposed to the habits of others as I have for so many years, I feel I have the authority to categorise them, as thus: i. good (good habits); ii. bad, bad habits. The main problem with i. is that they are almost as bad as ii.; a man once washed his hands next to mine so vigorously and thoroughly – all extending his fingers to inspect his nails (the feminine way), recommencing his scrub, analysing and squinting at his hands – so hard that my routine (a fair but cursory soap, a hand rub, a scalding rinse) seemed so perfunctory next to his that I had to go through this whole fucking to-do just to keep up, expanding my own routine in a this-is-a-thing-I-do-all-the-time sort of a way until my hands were pink and raw and I was caught in a stubborn and unending wash-off; all just to impress this obviously just complexly hygienic man, somehow.

A Man Has A Wee At A McDonalds

– A Short Interlude, by Joel Golby

And so because of circumstance –  i.e. the location being perfectly equidistant from my favourite drunken eatery (the flapship branch of Chipotle) and the bus-stop that takes me, also drunk, all the way home (134, represent) [3] – I frequent, with regularity bordering on the alarming, yes, the public toilets at the Tottenham Court Road branch of McDonalds [4]. I am a patron, there, of urinals, sometimes cubicles. Besides location, the TCR McD’s pissery is so great because they are kept mainly immaculate by be-hatted service people, and also there is an incomprehensible sign on all the labyrinthine doors to the pisser saying “Water Works.” What does that mean, McDonald’s?

[3] sometimes it takes me further than home, and I wake up, my contacts dried onto my eyes, dribble all down my front, sudden ‘shocked awake’ pants-check (100% un-pissed in record, so far), to some Ghanaian man shouting at me and hitting the roof of his own bus, and I have to stagger off the 134 and look around me and go, internally, “the fuck am I?” and it turns out I am in North Finchley, and amounts of research have yet to yield an answer as to where exactly, in the scheme of things, that is.

[4] if you are a numbers bod, then, for information – I have done maybe a dozen covert pisses at the Tottenham Court Road McDonald’s in the past four months; the TCR McD has not had a single penny of my money, for this service, apart from actually no this one time I had a banana milkshake (Large.)

That is not the point, though – the point is that every time I go to do a wee in this place, I go through this whole rigmarole so as not to get rumbled by a minimum wage person in a brown polo shirt. What I do: I walk in through the big double doors, removing any hoods or sunglasses to look like I’m there to stay, and then, and this is key, I take my phone out of my pocket, and look at it, and then look up, puzzled, and then look around the ‘restaurant.’ Here’s the effect this basically Academy Award-worthy performance has on any bystanders who have deigned to watch me do this: they see a man here to meet friends, and he cannot find them, and he is checking his phone for SMS-clues as to their whereabouts. I do this: every single time I go for a McWee.

But here is where the anecdote becomes less semi-boastings about my gratis pisses and becomes, you know, a story: one time y/h/n was halfway through his routine of checking his phone and then having a wee, when he spied a lady who had entered the TCR McD and was doing the exact same thing. We both descended the stairs, pretending to look for friends, then made a beeline for the bathroom, [did wees, separately], and then, meekly, simultaneously, made a swift exit. I did not say ‘hey! I see you! I see you urinatin’!’ or in anyway infer how happy I was that someone else makes such a hash of having a wee but still. Still. [5]

[5] So far attempts to pitch this as the start of a Hollywood-style rom-com have been: wholly unsuccessful.

I think the thing that ultimately bothers me about this, pissing, publically, is: although I personally have never seen a penis engaged in a wee, there is a basic 100% chance that somebody, somewhere, has, covertly or otherwise, seen my Johnston. And we’re talking, like, terrible men. One bathroom I previously frequented was cleaned on a bi-hourly basis, and yet the urinals – themselves the subject of an entire blogpost entitled Wall-Mounted Ceramic Eggs Designed Solely to Refract Piss onto the Modern Gentleman – still would fill up with clotted wads of tissue paper and pellets of gum, while the walls would be adorned with clearly piss-shaken handwriting of the man weein’ and scrawlin’ at the same time, normally his (Piss Hand Luke)’s own name, and plus there is also some sort of epidemic here, Britain, where a lot of men just plain don’t know how to flush, and basically: if any dudes are going to check out my junk, I don’t want it to be these dudes.

I am assuming, here, baselessly, that women are neater and more fragrant when it comes to their evacuations – that said, my only true encounters with ladies-only urinaries come from seeing the haunted faces of boys from my school who, on a jape, were shoved through the pliable doors of the girls loos, to a chorus of yelps and screams, so for all I know it’s like a zoo-house in there, too.  If so, if ladies have somehow figured out the mechanics to piss as fast and loose as men do, then there is no solution. There is no hope for the remaining and competent pissers left in this world. When we’re gone, people, you will be sorry. You will be sorry and you will have to wear special piss-resistant shoes to the toilet every. single. time.

—August 21st, 2011

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