Friday, March 28, 2008

Come Here Often?

Year 1994
Place Atlanta, GA

I was working as a freelance television promotions writer/producer for a large cable network. The work was steady enough that I was given my own cubicle. It was like being full time, but without the insurance benefits.

For some odd reason, whenever I went to the men’s room to urinate, John, the head of marketing, would be standing at the stall next to me. His presence didn’t bother me, but mine really bugged the shit out of him. He would glare at me and fidget. I couldn’t help it if our bladders were mysteriously synchronized. I came to pee, not to see him.

I was not unsympathetic to John’s discomfort. Men’s rooms can be very uncomfortable places to begin with. We have to stand side by side like pigs at a trough. Why society decided that men don’t require the same amount of privacy as women, I’ll never know.

So every day when I went to pee, I would amble up to the first empty stall and every time, John would already be at the stall next to it. I never noticed him going into the men's room or else I might have waited until he left before going in myself.

Finally, one day, John had had enough.

“I feel like you’re stalking me,” John said.

“You call it stalking,” I said, “I call it networking.”

John laughed so hard, he almost peed on his shoes.

My joke erased John’s discomfort. From then on, our bladders remained mysteriously synchronized, but John and I got along just fine. We spent the time standing side by side to discuss how each other’s day was going, the latest gossip, whatever. Afterwards, we washed our hands and went back to work.

(The photo above is from a men's room in a Las Vegas casino. I can't remember which casino it was, they tend to all blend in together. Each urinal had a photo of a woman with a different expression. Some of the women were delighted and some were disappointed.)


No Name Me said...

Phil has a theory about bathroom pee etiquette. Something about every guy knows you're not supposed to pee in a urinal next to some guy who is already taking a leak. It's a theory of "every other stall, instead" and then Phil's theory becomes complicated if there's no room, in every other urinal. But he DOES have a plan of action, in this case...

You guys are so strange.

Phil said...

Yes, and these websites sum it up very well: and\

My worst urinal experiences were when I was in marching band (stop the smirking...) and the one bathroom urinal was a 10-foot feeding trough. Awful. Thank god it wasn't in the middle of the room.

But I've spent many years working on this issue (military service would have been easier) and now have a fool-proof "system." We can chat about it over Indian some night.

Mickey Dubrow said...

Ever since Larry Craig got arrested for his "wide stance" in an airport bathroom, I've caught myself narrowing my own stance when I'm standing at a urinal.

My worst urinal experience was my first day of school in first grade. My mom dressed me in pants with buttons instead of a zipper and I couldn't get the buttons to unbutton and there was no way I was going to ask anybody to help me. I ended up peeing in my pants in a crowded bathroom and so the whole school knew what I did and they had to call mom to come bring me a dry pair of pants.

jessica said...

I add that buttoned-pants thing to a distracted-parenting list.