Pants down, sit down, pee!

The Internet is full of useful advice. Take this piece of wisdom that is creating waves and splashing all over the Net.

“Men should sit down to urinate in the toilet instead of standing up because it helps maintain a cleaner environment,” says a Taiwanese government minister.

Stephen Shen is Taiwan’s minister for Environmental Protection Administration (EPA). He has stirred up a widespread debate on whether men should sit down on the toilet to urinate, as women do. Shen himself maintains he does, both at home and in public toilets.

Now some men may have a problem with this. Let us first examine the anatomy of a successful pee. Most men, when initiating the procedure that leads to a pee, will subconsciously support the top of the zip with the left hand while pulling firmly but gently on the zip with the right hand. “Gently” has become ever more important to the successful completion of this maneuver since the advent of the no-underwear-movement. There are few pains that can compare to the agony of the pubic-hair-zip-lock or the scrotum-skin-clutch; both will, unless rectified immediately, result in either a complete deluge of disregard for propriety, or a permanent inability to pass water without the use of a tranquilizer.

Having successfully opened the “fly”, the penile bower, the place in which the penis resides, becomes accessible. But before proceeding, let us pause for a moment to consider the poetic beauty of a man’s relationship with his penis. It starts as a comforter, a pacifier, a soft toy, a joy to fondle, a security blanket. Then without warning it becomes a welcome embarrassment and source of pride, a revelation, a multifaceted gadget with apps you never imagined, and finally a best friend that, if not entirely trustworthy, is a pretty reliable companion.

The years pass, and the friendship grows, you hang out together, have fun together, on your own or with others, and life becomes pretty easy. Then there may come a time when someone else gets in on the act and claims possession of your penis, or at least demands squatters rights or a time-share agreement. Even this intrusion you and your penis survive. You learn to live with it. As time passes by the two of you learn to accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses; there’s no need for words; you get along fine; you don’t mind the distance between you and the rat race of the pussy chase.

Now why this digression? Well, you see, having entered the fly, the approach to the penile cavity depends largely upon the stage your relationship with your penis has reached. If you are at the rebellious stage when your penis is apt to rear up in frustrated independence then you might have the deuce of a job in bending him to your will and getting him to pop out of the fly and aim in more or less the right direction. Rampant penises have been known to fly off the handle and spray in all directions simultaneously.

Then of course there is the dormant penis that hibernates for most of the time, only stirring for a pee when it is most inconvenient. Fortunately, by this stage, most men have developed a sixth sense for the needs of their penis and possess an adroitness in handling potential disasters that belies belief. Techniques vary, of course, but one well-tried method is to locate the slumbering beast by some calm, delicate fumbling – the penis is usually to be found in a fetal position in the depths of the crotch swathed in scrotal skin; panic at this point is apt to be disastrous. Once found, the tip of the penis should be pinched gently but firmly between the thumb and forefinger in order to prevent any premature expression of relief. It is not unusual for a sleeping penis of an esteemed age – anywhere after 40, depending on the wear and tear – to shrink to the size of a young guava. Once awoken from its slumbers, however, it is easily returned to its full size through the above-mentioned pinching procedure before it is correctly positioned and allowed relief. A word of caution is necessary at this point: once awoken, the senior citizen penis is impishly impatient and raring to go, so time is of an essence. But let’s get back to Taiwan …

The Environmental Protection Agency carries out regular inspections of Taiwan’s 100,000 or so public toilets and suggests that while many of them are very clean, there is room for improvement. “Standing up to urinate causes urine splatter, which creates a bad smell,” say EPA officials. Local governments in Taiwan are being advised in the next few days to place public notices asking men to sit when urinating. Cindy Sui, of BBC News, Taipei, says the announcement has stirred a lot of online debate. Although social media activity suggests women think it is a good idea, the men are likely to find it hard to change their ways.

Of course, unless there are sufficient sit-down toilets to cater for a mass exodus from the tried and true urinals, all this is just hot air. Stand-Ups come in different models: individual urinals place along a wall, possibly at different height to cater for the varying elevations or heights above mean sea level of the penises that patronize the facility, afford a degree of privacy with or without screens between the appliances. It is absolutely not the done thing to peer over the screen or cast furtive glances at what is going on at neighboring urinals.

Yuan Shaw-jing, director general of environmental sanitation and toxic substance maintenance at Taiwan’s EPA, says they want to learn from other countries like Japan and Sweden where it is not unusual for men to take a seat while urinating.

There are, admittedly, some feminists in Sweden who insist on unisex toilets where, instead of standing against a wall happily urinating in masculine comradeship, men are obliged to stand in line with women waiting their turn to use a unisex sit-down toilet. Needless to say, even the women find this communal queuing an intrusion. Women have gone to the toilet in pairs since time immemorial; they bond in the loo; why is one of the great mysteries of life, something no man will ever understand. But in a unisex world, women will lose the privilege of privacy. And anyhow, show me the woman who wants to sit on a seat that might have been splashed by any number of errant erect – as in upstanding — urinaters.

It was also said that medical research shows men empty their bladders more efficiently if they sit down to pee rather than stand, which reduces risk of prostate problems, and also improves and prolongs men’s sex lives. Sometimes a man has to be a man, as the saying goes, and stand up for his rights!

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