By Nihal Bambulkar Mar. 21, 2018
Urinals aren’t places where people should converse or make eye contact. For someone who doesn’t like doing his business with an audience, that means weird situations are pretty common in here.
I’ve never been inside a women’s restroom, but I like to imagine it as a place with stellar lighting, mesmerising aromas, and top-notch hygiene standards. As a nervous pee-er, these are things I take for granted in my toilet at home. But I have also seen my share of men’s rooms that are nothing short of stinkholes. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a dive bar or a five-star, you can’t avoid the odour. The men’s urinal smells like the aftermath of a failed experiment in the science laboratory at school.
Regardless, when you got to go, you got to go. So you find yourself pushing open the door with the little stick figure man, hoping you can survive the hellscape within these awkwardly bromantic confines. For someone who doesn’t like doing his business with an audience, it means weird situations are pretty common in here.
What this leads to is performance anxiety in front of the urinal. The downward spiral begins when you walk in, only to see three out of four urinals occupied. While most men are able to simply unzip, tinkle, and zip up before leaving, a few of us stand in place as if we’re hosing down a building on fire, while being physically unable to produce so much as a drop. This means breaking the golden rule (yes, every nervous pee-er has his own set of rules) and standing shoulder to shoulder with your fellow inhabitants.
I have a dream that one day people will realise socialising isn’t desirable at the urinal.
You see for us nervous performers, one simply does not take the stall right beside a fellow pisser. Still, much to my despair, men everywhere continue to defy this code.This is when things get out of hand. Imagine having consumed enough water to flood Mumbai, and then reaching the urinal only to find smiling strangers waiting for you to stand between them and unload.
Is he looking? Why is he smiling like that? Does my dong look funny? Is my thing too small? What if I get a boner right now? The most bizarre thoughts cloud your mind, and by the time your neighbour is adjusting his zipper, you’ve forgotten what it was like to pee freely. This is when it dawns on you that you have been hanging around for a good few minutes, but your bladder is still full. Once again you’ve failed at the task at hand. The only thing that can help, is closing your eyes so the darkness can take over. What you need is meditation and yoga combined in one. You’re standing in a cramped space with all these thoughts in your head and the way to physically and mentally combat the situation is to channel your inner Baba Ramdev.
Entering a crowded washroom is like entering the men’s coach of a Mumbai local – it is awfully stinky, people are too close for comfort, and there’s a lot of in and out activity going on all the time. You encounter men who stand wide making small talk, Peeping Toms, guys with no understanding of personal space as they breathe down your neck. But the one I dread the most like Reliance employees dread a Jr Ambani speech, is the pubic commenter who thinks he’s being friendly when he compliments your man bush. This League of Extraordinary Not-So-Gentlemen is the number one cause for early adoption of adult diapers among men.
I have a dream that one day people will realise socialising isn’t desirable at the urinal. You didn’t come here to make friends, there’s already Facebook for that, the only place it is acceptable to poke. It’s the lack of interaction that matters. What we need is less talk and more pee, and anyone breaking the unsaid code of the urinal deserves strict capital punishment. Or perhaps find himself locked in a municipal toilet with Arnab Goswami playing at full volume for 10 straight hours.