Some men have spent large fractions of their fleeting lives strategizing over this question, while most give it nary a second thought. For these men, it's all about instinct.

IANAA (I am not an anthropologist), but here's what I've noticed about the ritualistic subculture at work in the mere act of choosing a urinal. In the following examples, let ( ) be an unoccupied urinal and (X) be an occupied urinal. Assume that the pissers are along the north wall, with the sinks along the south wall, the door to the west, and the stalls to the east.

Many of you already know what to do in these situations, but may not know exactly why. To those, reading the explanations can prove to be enlightening as well. To those of you whose instincts have been breeded thin, here's a quick and dirty guide to choosing a urinal.

Case 1:
A( ) B( ) C(X) D( ) E(X) F( )
In this situation, A is the obvious choice. If you don't immediately see that on your own, maybe you should ask yourself if you're really in the appropriate restroom.

Case 2:
A(X) B( ) C( ) D( ) E( ) F( )
The best choice here is F, but E works, too. Both are far enough away from A, but at F you're less likely to end up next to a guy who doesn't know what he's doing.

Case 3:
A( ) B( ) C( ) D( ) E( ) F( )
You might think it doesn't matter here, when actually 2 factors come into play. A is a good choice, as you're next to a wall and thus half as likely to have an incoming neighbor than in any of B-E. But if you know your men's room layouts, you'll know that F is a better choice for the well-endowed man. This point is moot in the case of shoulder-to-floor style pissers, but you all know that when you're facing suspended wall-mounted pissers, F is the kiddy korner. This means that F is down around knee-level, where the well-endowed man hangs naturally.

Case 4:
A( ) B(X) C( ) D(X) E( ) F(X)
There's no avoiding a neighbor in this case, but choice A has only one neighbor instead of two, and so is the preferred choice.

Case 5:
A( ) B(X) C( ) D( ) E(X) F(X)
This may be seen as splitting hairs, but choices A or C somehow connote choosing to be next to man B, which is frowned upon in male urinal rituals. The only remaining choice is D.

Case 6:
A(X) B(X) C( ) D( ) E(X) F(X)
There's really no correct urinal choice in this case. All you can do is to pretend like you never really had to go. Go to the sinks, check your hair, wash your hands, and leave. You can come back before it gets urgent. If you're in an urgent situation and face case 6, continue walking and choose a real stall, where you can do your business behind a closed door.

In addition to DaVinciLe0's method of urinal selection, an alternate method is sometimes needed for urination locations in which the urinals don't line up in a row and/or don't provide adequate job security. Also, other provided facilities (sink, shower) can affect the urinal selection. (After all, who would want to take a whiz directly next to a steaming shower?)

In my college residence hall at Florida State University the bathrooms are shared by approximately 30 college students. The ones on my floor are notoriously filthy on the weekends because that is when the custodians are not there and the students are inebriated and vomiting - generally, in the sink and in Toilet #3.

To facilitate the discussion I provide Figure 1:

.---|(FAN)|     |---------|   |   |----.
|                  | |(  )        > {]2|
|*                 | |(@@)        > {]1|
|  3   | 2  |  1   |                  *|
|      |    |      |   |  1  | 2 |  3  |
|      |    |      |   |     |   |     |
|      |    |      |   |  B  | W |  W  |
|  ||  | || |  ||  |   | (0) |(0)| (0) |

{|} - door
(0) - toilet (B=black rounded "public-style" seat, W=white molded homely seat)
{]  - urinal
||  - shower
*   - weird fan machine
(FAN) - window vent
@@ - sink and vanity
> - raised urination area

** - On the other side of the building, the diagram is reversed.

Now, imagine this common situation. A resident is peein' at Urinal #1 or #2. Notice that there is no divider between the two urinals, they are in fact attached at the midsection similar to Siamese twins. Obviously it is unheard of for two residents to use the urinals simultaneously due to the inherent exposure. The second resident will immediately enter Toilet Stall #1 - the only one with the rancid seat (with the exception of vomitus-covered #3 on weekends) - and urinate there. This occurs without any previous discussion of any kind. I have never observed a time where both either Urinal AND Stall #1 would be in use at the same time. My only guess as to what would happen would be that the third person would stand by the vanity area for a moment and pretend to examine hair or face, etc. until either allowed urination zone becomes available.

So, unlike the giant restroom with an entire row of urinals, selection of a urination collection instrument becomes quite a mind-boggling task when two urinals are provided with no security divider. I don't quite understand why they didn't build just one urinal.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.