Gurney's Inn
September 05, 2007

Low Tidings

To Pee Or Not To Pee

Among the many stark differences between men and women, none is more pronounced than the way we approach urination.

Men simply announce their intention: "I gotta take a pee." Sometimes we allow for a little alliteration: "I gotta take a wicked wiz." Occasionally we'll make profound references to historical subjects: "I have to piss like a bandit," we'll say, which implies bandits do it some other way than the rest of us. We never name the bandit we don't say, "I have to piss like Jesse James." It's just some anonymous bandit, remembered for little more than his ability to piss profusely.

"I gotta piss like a sailor," we say a lot. How exactly do sailors pee? What do they do differently than bandits? The implication is that a sailor holds it for a long time, but that makes no sense. They are on boats they can take it out for a pee anytime they want, right into the ocean.

Men, unlike women, also realize this doesn't have to be a perfect art. Sure, hitting the center of the bowl is the goal, kind of like darts. But hitting the sides of the seat count for points, too.

Women hate that. "Damn it, pick up the seat before you go to the bathroom!" they bark. But if you do, you get in more trouble when you're done. "Rick, you left the damn toilet seat up again!" Of course I did. Who wants to touch the thing once you pee on it?

Woman never say the words pee, or wiz. They never say "urinate," either. They never reference the body function they are about to perform, even though we all know what is going on.

"I have to powder my nose," Karen says when we go to a restaurant.

"Might as well piss while you're in there," I say.

Sometimes they'll pull out a trusted euphemism, a code work that implies something cute is about to happen. "Let me tinkle before we leave." It's kind of like the pitter-patter of rain, a mountain stream gently emptying into an exotic lake. A tinkle, stripped of its cuteness, is the sound pee makes when it hits the water in the toilet. When a woman says "I have to tinkle" I always reply, "OK, but don't plop."

As regular readers know, I have been forced out of our master bath and sent to the guest bathroom downstairs. This is because to me a bathroom is far more than a place to play darts or tinkle. It's like a second living room.

I have all my magazines. Every week Sporting News and Baseball Weekly come in the mail and both get thrown on my bathroom floor. I like to go in, burn some incense, and read my magazines. I have a huge Jerry Garcia poster mounted on the wall behind the toilet, so when I pee he is staring right at me. I can almost hear him saying, "A little more to the right," and stuff like that, as if he is guiding the flow like radar.

The most noticeable difference between men and women is the time intervals between urinations. Men will go before they leave the house in the morning, go again when they get to grandma's house four hours away, pee once that evening, and pee around midnight when they get home. "Let me tinkle before we leave," women will say. Five minutes later the guy will say "alright, let's move out!"

"Let me tinkle," the wife will say. But she just did.

You're on the road for eight minutes when they say, "Honey, pull over at that station, will ya? I have to powder my nose." Then they get annoyed when you question why. "Didn't you just go at the house?" you ask.

They give you those steely eyes, the ones that say "I'll cut that thing of yours off and you'll have to squat when you pee, too!"

You'll stop eight more times during the journey for her to tinkle. But if you ask if you can run into OTB the shit hits the fan: "My mother is waiting for us! We're not going to be late because you want to gamble! That's not gonna happen, Mister!"

"OK, well actually I was going to take a dump at OTB but I'll just pull over and take one on the side of the road. Can I borrow your scarf?"

Women are up and down and in and out of bed all night. But there is a whole other dynamic going on for men. It is the grim determination, the Us against Them stubbornness we have honed over the years. On one hand, it is cold out and we are snug in our warm beds, maybe dreaming about hitting the perfect golf shot or whatever. We are comfy and happy and have two pillows and life is good.

But we drank four beers during the game we were watching on TV, and like a river it has carved a path and found its exit point, which happens to be our Pee Pee stick. It wants to be emptied into the eternity that is the toilet water and then beyond. Our bladder is begging us. "Help me!" it whispers.

But we are too strong. Eventually, when the craving for food, coffee, and West Coast boxscores finally awakens us, we will rush into the bathroom and. . .


Men compete. Men strive to be the best.

Hey, someone has got to do it.

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