You’re in all my thoughts

An apology ahead of time for the pun in the title.

I am going to address a rarely broached subject, and I warn you, this might be uncomfortable. However, society needs its gadflies to shine a light into the darkness, to be a voice of logic amidst overboard fiscal frugality, architectural corner-cutting, and obvious offenses to feng shui.

Now for those of you who don’t know, I will likely never be invited to pose for the annual “Man’s Man Calendar.” I don’t think boxing is a “sport”, I don’t participate in any activities portrayed on a Coors Light billboard, and I think cigars are a joke that only the smoker fails to get. So perhaps I was not the target audience that plumbers had in mind when they invented:

The Urinal

This marvel of indoor plumbing has its share of supporters, including Internet sites* devoted to the documentation, presentation, and (as if their future was in doubt) preservation of this modern version of the hole in the ground. This shrine to space-saving technology has even led select architects to revel in the opportunity to compete in designing the most hip, most aesthetically pleasing receptacles for the waste product of the male kidney. (The Millennium Dome in London England is a marvel of simplicity and efficiency.)

However, for the fixture in general, I am not one of those supporters. I am baffled that civilization determined at some undefined moment in history that it would be perfectly acceptable for men to stand like pigs at a trough, shoulder to shoulder, Henry Ford’s assembly line technology mutated to its most heinously absurd. (And not only is it sometimes literallytrough! The so-called “rest room” at Pat’s Pizza in Orono Maine features for its receptacle an enormous, glorified flower-box—no waiting at Pat’s, as an adept expert might even be able to stand in the second row and experience that same relief as the early arrivals.) While women luxuriate in personal, semi-private stalls (okay, perhaps “luxiarate” is an overstatement), men are subjected to a barely-glorified version of peeing on the wall behind the restaurant. Occassionally a venue will offer a meager attempt at “privacy” by inserting a small partition between the collection devices, but referring to these 10″ protrusions as “providing privacy” is equivalent to referring to a hospital gown as “comfortably concealing.” shoulder to shoulder, but there are many bars that actually feature a literal

Now I know that the simple logistics of the biological plumbing creates additional requirements for Women’s room fixtures, and I am certainly glad (for the sake of my wife, sister, daughter, Mom, and every other woman in my life) that no attempts have been made on improving the efficiency of my double-X-chromosoned friends’ facilities.** But I am concerned about the direction of advances in my team’s private rooms. I would joke that we are headed toward a future featuring no receptacle at all, but that giant tip-toe for mankind has already been taken: the Madonna Inn, located in San Luis Obispo, California, which features what appears to be a former shower stall converted into a stone-walled waterfall contraption. It seems that you simply relieve yourself on the floor, and upon exiting, a waterfall flows and washes the unsanitary deposits through a small silver grate in the floor. Yes indeed, that’s where our advances have taken us—we now have permission to piss on the floor.

Our culture grows more obsessed with saving time and increasing productivity daily, the apparent goal being the ability conduct our entire life via our cell phone. But gentlemen of the world, I beseech you—the day we can answer the call of nature with said cell phone is the day we have gone too far.

(Though it would certainly prevent people from asking to borrow your phone.)

* Data for this article provided by Urinal.net, “the best place to piss away your time on the Internet.” If you have a question about urinals (and who doesn’t?) or want to see the top 10 urinals in America, I can think of no better place to go. (no pun intended.) Check out The Felix in Hong Kong—I’d be gulping drinks at the bar just for an excuse to get back to that view.

** This statement is an error, as there exists, in fact, a “she-inal”. Designed by by Kathie Jones in Pensacola, Florida, “the fixture never caught on for various reasons.” The picture of the device installed in a Dairy Queen washroom makes those “reasons” uncomfortably obvious. (And as an aside, “She-inal”? Wouldn’t “Herinal” have been much more clever?)

©2003 wpreagan

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