July 10, 2002
Arts and Entertainment
by andrea nemerson
Please be seated
DEAR ANDREA: I was surprised to see your "preference" for a man who stood up to urinate. What's the big deal? There's many good reasons for men to sit down: (1) You can poo at the same time. (2) You don't have to worry about lousy aim and getting the seat wet. (3) You can read something short. (4) If someone nearby is sleeping, it's quieter when the pee hits the porcelain, rather than the water. (5) On the toilet, with the door closed ... the only time you can pick your nose in peace.
Dear Prize: Yours is one of many and I mean many letters I received protesting my statement of preference. It's much like the time I expressed a preference for boxers over briefs (or gawd forbid "manties") and some of you guys had a collective cow. I don't get it you folks all get to like some things more than others; why can't I? It was a preference, after all, not a Papal Bull. Pee how you like.
The lady's gentleman caller was doing none of the things you mention, not even picking his nose. He was merely sitting there peeing, either unselfconscious enough to leave the door open (which is rather sweet) or hoping to invite comment (which really isn't). The lady was not horrified, merely curious. I was not censorious, merely opinionated. Which should come as no surprise.
Dear Andrea: Maybe I'm out of touch, but I rather doubt there is a silent majority of sitting pissers. Being a hetero guy, I haven't a representative sample of male lovers to evaluate, and if I dared to poll my fishing buddies, the results would not be particularly reliable. But common sense tells me that when a guy's gotta go, he's gotta go, and I'm not sure many men would prefer the time and effort of dropping trou and dealing with the fuss of tucking behind the seat to the freedom and ease of more traditional methods. Perhaps a more parsimonious theory would be that "The Thinker" simply had to address demands of a peristaltic nature.
Dear Vince: So you'd think, but you'd be wrong. I'm in a position to hear much about the bathroom habits of the populace at large, and I keep hearing about this. I'm telling you, that guy was pissing, nothing more. And while he's hardly in the majority, he's nowhere near as unusual as you thought.
You are far from the only one to suggest your more parsimonious theory. Nuh-uh. I flat out refuse to entertain the possibility that my well-spoken, sensible correspondent could possibly have had sex with a man who thought it was a good idea to shit with the door open on the first date. Such people must exist, but I don't wish to know about them.
Dear Andrea: It's fairly common for men to faint while peeing standing up, if they have just gotten up from sleep. I'm told by my doctor that it is so common that it has its own medical name (which I can't remember). It has to do with blood pooling in the groin area and reducing blood volume in the head. Plunk, you fall over. This is more of a problem as men age. So advice is, it is safer for men to sit to pee if they are getting up from sleep. Take it from one who knows and has a chipped tooth to prove it.
Dear Chip: How about "micturition syncope"? All it means is "fainting while peeing," but it'll do, won't it? From what I read, I'm not sure the blood drains into the pelvis per se, but a rapid drop in blood pressure will surely make you fall over, wherever the blood happens to end up.
I can't say just how common this is or whether it happens to men with normal blood pressure and no prostate problems (the articles mentioned "straining during urination"). Still, I will warn my older male readers who just woke up and are on their way to pee from an upright position: don't do that.
You can reach Andrea at alt.sex.column, the Bay Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., S.F., CA 94107, or firstname.lastname@example.org.