I should be over this by now. 29 years old, and there’s still a huge level of internal stream-of-consciousness going on inside my neurotic head whenever I’m conducting business at a public urinal next to another man. Thoughts like: “Is he judging my penis size?” Stereotypes exist for a reason. You know how every movie scene that involves two men standing at urinals always jokes at one checking out the other’s penis? It’s a movie mainstay for a reason: that’s what we’re thinking about. While I’ve never taken the drastic step of actually working up a halfsy before heading into the men’s room in order to alleviate this concern, it’s mostly because of the logistics. There’s no boner-inducing waiting area outside of the men’s room. Which is probably for the best. “Is my urine flow weaker than his?” This a real thought going through my head. I actually give consideration to the power of the man’s urine stream next to me and, accordingly, if my own personal flow is weaker than his. It is a literal pissing contest, all conducted in my head. In order to appease my mental judge, I aim my stream at the section of the urinal where the most water is collected and try to push it out as forcefully as possible to create the biggest liquid-on-liquid splash sound.
I usually win the match, but seeing as I generally end up with pee back-splash on my hands and jeans, I still don’t consider myself a “winner.” “Does he notice I’m not peeing?” Listen. Sometimes it takes a little time to work the urine from the bladder through the urethra and out my pee-hole. (That’s the correct medical term. I looked it up.) For me, it doesn’t always happen immediately after un-zipping. Occasionally I get distracted by other things like (1) the part of the sporting event I’m missing by being in here; (2) the pressure coming from a line forming behind me; (3) how the date I’m on is going; or (4) the goddamn pressure of the line forming behind me! In certain cases, I’ve been known to simply fake it – once while actually making the “psssst” sound with my mouth; I don’t think it worked – and walk out. The problem is, then I have to hold it for another hour before I can excuse myself again and hope this time there’s no line behind me. It’s a tough hour. “Am I angled in the right direction?” If there’s one of those mini walls between urinals, this doesn’t apply. But if it’s one of those row of urinals that has no barrier – or, worse yet, a disgusting trough like at disgusting Wrigley Field in Chicago!
– and it’s a full house, there’s a lot of time spent thinking about the various sight lines regarding the other pee-ers and my pee-ee. “If I move my body in this direction will they be able to glance at it out of the corner of their eye? If I compensate for that, is this guy going to get an eyeful?” It’s exhausting. Remember when you were looking at porn on your computer when your mom suddenly walked in and you had position your body at just the right angle to block her view of the monitor? (Or was that just me?) It’s like that. But instead of porn and your mom, it’s your penis and strangers. “Is it too late to head into a stall?” At some point, this constant rambling internal monologue is too much for me to take and I consider just pulling the ripcord and heading into the comforting privacy of a stall. But if I head in there without any excuse, guys will think I don’t have the courage to pee in front of them (which is mostly true), so I have to make an “oops, that’s not good” mumble under my breath indicating that the business at end just took a dramatic turn and I’m now in desperate need of an actual toilet. I should say, I’m not proud of any of this.
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