Is it just me or does every man have a problem peeing if there's someone standing next to him? I'd make a joke about peer pressure if this wasn't such a serious matter. I feel stupid going in a cubicle if there's no-one at the urinals, so most of the time I'm forced to use the urinal knowing that if I don't get started before someone comes in I'm going to have to pretend I've finished. But what if he looks down and sees that I haven't had a piss at all? He'll either think I'm a wimp or I've only come to the toilet to spy on cocks. Do other men even check if the person next to them is actually peeing, or is it just me? All I know is I have to leave the toilet and hold it in for an hour and pray that when I come back all the urinals are being used, so I can use a cubicle without looking like an idiot. What about when my friends see me going in the cubicles all the time? They must think there's something wrong with me or I can't stop shitting, when I can't even shit in my own toilet, let alone a public toilet. Does anyone else have to rub their stomach when they're about to go in the cubicle so that onlookers will think that they're just going to be sick instead of peeing sitting down? It won't be long before I start making vomitting noises. Does anyone even pay any attention to other people in public toilets, or is it just me? Why can't we just live in a cubicle only society? Would it be so bad? Would it? Please?

Anonymous, Liverpool


  1. There's an episode of Screenwipe you should watch relating to this.

  2. I too can't pee while being flanked by another man. Notting Hill Carnival is just the worst day for this affliction, always end up having to queue for a portaloo for like an hour.

    Also, I think that just because, as men, we can pee standing up and against any surface it doesn't mean I particularly want to.

    I like my privacy!

  3. Become a woman and strictly have no friend then you'll always have a cubicle to yourself.

    And tits.

  4. I wish to show my support

    Sit down and be counted.



  5. I always pee and flush at the same time, then race to finish before the flush has finished. It doesn't always work which leads everyone in the other cubicles to know I've just done a piss and not a poo.

  6. I always thought it was correct procedure to stare rigidly ahead with no side movememnt of the head whatsoever. Extra points can be gained, if joined at the row or urinals, by making an over-simplistic, general remark about,
    c)The Weather
    "Shaking Off" when flow has stopped is also fraught with the risk of suspicion, I generally shake for no more than three seconds.

  7. Men are weird.

  8. Ever been to a baseball stadium with giant troughs for urinals? It's absolutely humiliating.

  9. There is a simple solution to this: math. Just start doing math in your head. Not an impossible problem but something that you can do, if you think about it. This works for me 100% of the time. Welcome to your new life.

  10. Sadly I cannot do maths with someone else in the room. I've got more chance of peeing.

  11. Great post. There is a fantastic sequence in Nicholson Baker's 'The Mezzanine' that describes this very complaint. And proffers a solution -- that one should imagine oneself pissing upon one's neighbour's shoes (or, in more extreme cases, elsewhere).

    A brilliant passage that I'd quote if I could find the book -- the whole of which is damn fine. More people should read Nicholson Baker.

  12. ... Found it (the Mezzanine extract):

    I was just on the point of relaxing into a state of urination when two things happened. Don Vanci swept into position two urinals over from me, and then, a moment later, Les Guster turned off his tap. In the sudden quiet you could hear a wide variety of sounds coming from the stalls: long, dejected, exhausted sighs; manipulations of toilet paper; newspaper folded and batted into place; and of course the utterly carefree noise of the main activity: mind-boggling pressurized spattering followed by sudden urgent farts that sounded like air blown over the mouth of a beer bottle.[1] The problem for me, a familiar problem, was that in this relative silence Don Vanci would hear the exact moment I began to urinate. More important, the fact that I had not yet begun to urinate was known to him as well. I had been standing at the urinal when he walked into the bathroom—I should be fully in progress by now. What was my problem? Was I so timid that I was unable to take a simple piss two urinals down from another person? We stood there in the intermittent quiet, unforthcoming. Though we knew each other well, we said nothing. And then, just as I knew would happen, I heard Don Vanci begin to urinate forcefully.

    My problem intensified. I began to blush. Others did not seem to have any trouble relaxing their uiniferious tubing in corporate bathrooms. Some were obviously so at ease that they could continue conversations side by side. But until I developed my technique of pretending to urinate on the other persons head, the barren seconds] I spent staring as the word “Eljer” and waiting for something I knew was not going to happen were truly horrible: even at times when I needed to go badly, if someone else was there, my bladder’s cargo would stay locked away behind scared and stubborn little muscles. I would pretend to finish, clear my throat, sip my fly, and walk out, hating myself, sure that the other person was thinking , as his porcelain resounded from his own coursing toxins, “Wait, I don’t think I heard that guy actually going! I think he stood there for a minute, faked that he had taken a piss, and then flushed and took off! How very weird! That guy has a problem.” Later, I would sneak back in, painful with need, and crouch in a toilet stall (so that my head wasn’t visible) to urinate without risk. This happened about forty-five times—until one night in the very busy bathroom of a movie theater at the end of the movie, I discovered the trick. When someone takes his position next to you, and you hear his nose breathing and you sense his proven ability to urinate time after time in public, and at the same time you feel your own muscles closing on themselves as hermit crabs pull into their shells, imagine yourself turning and dispassionately urinating onto the side of his head. Imagine your voluminous stream making fleeting parts in his hair, like the parts that appear in the grass of a lawn when you try to water it with a too-pressurized nozzle-setting. Imagine drawing an X over his face, watch him fending the spray off with his are, puffing and spluttering to keep it from getting in his mouth; and his protestations: “Excuse me? What are you doing? Hey! Pff, pff, pff.” It always worked. If I found myself in very difficult circumstances—flanked on both sides by colleagues, both of whom said hello to me and then began confidently to go—I might have to sharpen the image slightly, imagining myself urinating directly into one of their shock-widened eyeballs.

    And now, as the silence lengthened, I resorted to this technique with Don Vanci. After short mechanical delay, a thick, world-conquering rope of ammonia sprung onto the white slope of porcelain. I gave it a secondary boost from my diaphragm, and it blasted out. Don Vanci and I finished at about the same time; turning from the urinals, just before we flushed near unison, we greeted each other:

  13. Damn, that's a good post.

    And that's a good quote Billicatons. Thanks.

    Perhaps Anthony Morcom is the Nicholson Baker for the ADD generation.

  14. My toilet problem is that people might be able to hear me pooing. Either people in the house or in public toilets when it's quite quiet and there are maybe only one or two cubicles and people are waiting. I don't care if people hear me wee, but I can't bear the thought that someone else is listening to me poo, and for this reason we need special poo slings that softly catch the poo before it can make the telltale splash. Someone told me something like this has been invented, possibly in Japan, but I don't know how to google for it without having to trawl through a lot of unpleasantness along the way.

  15. I have a very hard time with this too, not least because of the whole "should I use a cubicle?" issue.

    Thanks for illuminating our plight.

  16. Haha look at how many comments there are.