There is nothing funnier or worse than wandering into a packed men’s room in New York City at a large venue and being forced to stand in line holding your water. When I first moved to New York City I was going crazy while the tide rose within me as I was forced to eternally wait my turn.

To take my mind off my impending explosion I forced myself to be mesmerized by the long lines of men standing next to each other and focusing only on the wall in front of them as they enjoyed the relief I so desperately sought.

Thus began my informal — but never scientific — “Analysis of Peeing Postures” as the universal male mechanics of relief were analyzed. No urine analysis was performed in pursuit of this article. Standing and urinating is not as uniform as some might think. There appears to be several different peeing postures for posing.

The First Rule of Peeing is: “Never Look Down — Even At Yourself — Or You’ll Be Accused of Sneaking a Peek.”

You must “pee by wire” or face the angry wrath of meeting the Chlamydia infection bubbling away next to you. Here are some of the most recognizable postures:

Peepers are men who cannot abide the First Rule. They try to sneak a peek at your massive maleness out of the corner of their eye. Clearing your throat usually snaps their head back to the wall view, but if that fails, a sharp “Dude!” usually pinches them off.

Supermen love to pose but they do not care if you watch or not. They are there to perform for themselves. They are the star of their own comic book. They do not mind, however, the company of Peepers because they provide an audience for their performance. When Supermen release their golden flow they stand at the urinal with a fist on each hip and a puffed out chest. Beware of all Supermen. Never stand next to one. With both fists bolted to a hip they are not able to control the direction of, nor the spatter from, their super-human release and they care not what they splatter in the process.

The Attention-Getter is similar to the Superman but unlike the Superman who is only interested in peeing with no hands, the Attention-Getter loves to talk and engage others in conversations about peeing and how to pee fastest and what makes you pee the palest and how you can avoid that nagging burning sensation. You cannot shut up a Getter. Just smile and nod and toss in a “Um-hum” and then be on your way.

The Head-Hangers keep their head down and their eyes on their own business. You might think they have a need to peek but they are only making sure their aim is true. Hangers make the best friends because you know you can count on them to keep quiet and hold your secrets.

The Shaker is one who can never quite finish business due to a weak musculature around the bladder or because of prostate problems or because of some other malady that can cause dribbling onto the pants as one returns to public view. Always pity a Shaker. Give them time. They are not shaking for you or at you. They are trying to avoid embarrassing spotting. Never confuse a Shaker with a Puller.

You must avoid the Puller at all costs. If you are in mid-stream and a Puller pulls up next to you and begins their nasty duty it is your job to withhold your flow and move. The Puller is not there to pee. The puller is there to pretend to pee while pulling on his penis. I could not believe it when I saw a guy masturbating into a urinal and he wanted everyone to watch.

When I later told a cop stationed outside the bathroom at Grand Central Terminal about the Puller in there beating off, the cop yelled at me, “It’s New York! Expect it!” NYPD’s finest was right and I respected and felt for him. What cop likes pulling Pee Duty in Grand Central Terminal?

There are a lot stranger and more dangerous things lurking to hurt you in New York City than a guy pulling his pud in the bathroom and that was one of the most important lessons I learned in New York as a new resident. People can do what they wish as long as they don’t touch you or someone else.

That moral barometer of the physical versus the self-contained is the easiest way to know if you’ve been violated or not in New York. Talk is negligible. Touching only crosses the line when it happens without your consent.

Don’t get wound up over looks from strangers you don’t like or behaviors you disapprove of if they do not directly threaten your life or limb. Everything messes up your mind in New York City so there are no boundaries left to cross because your sensibilities are continuously violated and assaulted.

Get used to it! This concludes our informal examination of the posture of male relief poses.

[Note: No homoerotic fantasies were created or enjoyed during the research for or the writing of this article.]


  1. I’m glad there are family restrooms at various places to save this type of embarassment.
    The Illinois Tollway has them at their Oasis rest areas and our local shopping mall has them for families with kids.
    There is nothing worse than having to wait in a restroom while making sure your son is safe while he does his business.
    You have to be observant for stranger danger while trying to figure out a way to not look too observant without ending up staring at the wall while time seems to slow down from minutes into hours.
    Timing things so that you finish around the same time as your child is the key in these situations so that there is no uncomfortable waiting periods while you yell out at 10 second intervals, “You okay in there, son?” so that people know that you aren’t some somebody about whom they should be worrying.

  2. Hi Chris!
    I have never heard of “family restrooms” — what does that mean? How do they work?
    In New York parents usually wait for a stall if they have children with them and then they each take turns in the stall doing their business together. Using a urinal with kids in NYC is too dangerous in a high-traffic bathroom.

  3. The family bathrooms are separate restrooms with a locking door and usually a urinal and a stall. There are also diaper changing tables.
    They might be required by building code, in some places:

    Child safety, an increasing elderly population, and improved access for those with physical disabilities have all spurred legislation for family restroom construction.
    Many states have adopted the 2003 International Building Code, which requires unisex restrooms for all newly constructed (or renovated, when restrooms are added) assembly and retail spaces, such as malls, theatres, airports, and stadiums.
    Section 1108.2.1 states that facilities with an aggregate of six or more male and female water closets must provide a unisex restroom.
    State potty parity requirements (3:2 ratio of women’s to men’s toilets) are another factor that can quickly increase the number of toilets needed, thus boosting the need for these types of restrooms.

  4. Hi Chris!
    In New York I guess we call “family bathrooms” “unisex toilets” — it sounds like the construction is the same — but yours has a better sounding name.

  5. Hi David,
    “Unisex” reminds us too much of Boy George and George Michael. Adding “family” to anything makes it more appealing.
    I had a delayed laugh reaction to Mariande Dave’s post of a picture showing “Hands Free Operation.”

  6. Dave —
    You’re going to have to give me a bit more info about Stall Sitters.
    Oh, wait!
    I think I know what you mean.
    When I was a student at UNL there was one men’s room in the library that was the “Gay Meeting Place” and there were holes in the stall walls for you know… uh… what… and you’d go in there for a quickie release.
    Woe to the guy who wandered in there by mistake. One of my friend’s brothers went in there and when he saw another guy peeping at him – lusting, really — over the stall door he went wild and actually beat the guy bloody.
    The whole episode came out in the university newspaper. It was a real mess and a shocker that stuff like that was going on at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
    Your posture in your photo (who TOOK that photo?!!) is AKA “All Hands On Head — Not That Head, Your Other One!”
    We thank you.

  7. Dave —
    NYC does love to make it fun to aim at things while you pee.
    Most guys seem to aim for the floor. There’s always more of it there than in the urinal!

  8. Hats off, Everybody!
    I was in a foul mood from this morning, thanks for making me laugh!!!

  9. Dave —
    I’m glad you were able to find some peeing picture fun in the midst of a marrow scare!
    Yeah, those Glory Holes are convenient only for those who choose to use them. Otherwise they should be plugged… with uh… with steel or putty!

  10. Katha!
    You are brave to enter this peeing contest! Thank you!
    We are always open to the flop side of this matter. How does it work in the world of the female mass service restroom? Is there pushing and shoving? Cutting in line?
    Would you ever use the men’s room if you could not bear to wait any longer in line for a women’s stall?

  11. “Unisex Family Restroom” could work.
    The NYC pay idea might work. But, then again, it might not.
    In Chicago, I saw someone defeat a pay toilet — a quarter had to be inserted into a door lock to gain access to the bathroom. A homeless guy waited until someone came out, jammed his foot into the door, and entered as the person left.

  12. Speaking about not having proper facilities (or enough facilities), I knew a woman who got caught by the cops going to the bathroom behind a building in Bloomington during the Little 500 weekend in the early ’90s. They let her go with a verbal warning after determining that she wasn’t drunk.
    I also observed on several occasions women commandering the men’s restroom at a bar that I frequented while studying at Indiana University. They would yell into the bathroom that the women’s room line was too long to give a warning, then barge in and take over the facilities while a friend kept an eye on the door to keep any drunk guys from entering.
    The guys never seemed to mind.

  13. Chris —
    There is a desperate need for public toilets in New York and people are willing to pay for a reliable way to relieve themselves in private in public.
    There was a Seinfeld episode where George was in a bet to name the nearest public toilet for certain landmarks. It was hilarious and on target. Generally you can always use a Barnes and Noble or a Whole Foods or a Gap or a Macy’s or some big restaurant.
    The “putting your foot in the foor” trick will not work in NYC for these pay public toilets. They are set on timers so even if the guy got in he’d be pushed out and the police would be called if he didn’t put in his own money. They’re very sophisticated and based on the successful French system of public peeing:

  14. Dave —
    These “private public toilets” in New York are not city-owned. The city gets a royalty per use but they are privately managed so issues of monetary fairness are not a concern in that very narrow frame.

  15. Chris —
    The trend in smaller NYC restaurants is to have two bathrooms without gender labels and you choose the one that’s available. That seems to work the best.

  16. Hey David!
    I am not quite sure whether I am brave enough or something else! Remember that saying “fools rush in where angels fear to trade!” 😀
    I don’t remember any “pushing”, “shoving” or “cutting in line” in the world of female restroom. I don’t think I will ever use a men’s restroom no matter how desperate I am. I don’t believe in invasion!

  17. Hi Katha!
    You are so much fun! I appreciate your “non-invasion” policy of peeing and I certainly respect you deeply for that closely held belief!

  18. Dave —
    I know you were talking about NJ, I was talking about NEW YORK! Now PUT YOUR HANDS UP!
    Where would you put public facilities in Manhattan and who will clean and police them?

  19. Dave —
    Most private offices use the “borrow the key” method. Some restroom doors even have coded locks now that change every week so you don’t have to borrow a feces-tainted key to pee.

  20. This post was funny as hell… I never thought to name the people who look at other’s garbage…

  21. Lord Above. I think this has to be one of those times where I’m glad to be a female lol. Thanks for the insight!

  22. Hi Dawn!
    Thanks for the comment! I’ve been getting email asking me if this post is humorous or serious and I say it’s like life — a mixture of both!

  23. Hilarious! Can I just say, it casts a light on why men’s toilets always stink; it’s clearly cause they can’t look down and so therefore can’t see where they’re peeing.
    And you left out
    Can be easily recognised because they are either
    a) Leaning far back to allow a clean pee forwards (only for urinals where the catchment area is on the floor)
    b) Lunging one foot up on the wall above the urinal to ensure pee goes where intended (only works if you’re wearing a skirt)

  24. Hi David,
    There’s a new product that might be the solution to the age-old question of whether to look at the wall or look down.
    The Wizmark urinal advertising system promises to have all eyes focused on one place.
    From the Wizmark news release:

    Innovative pro-active trafic safety officials in Nassau County {Population 1.4 million} recognize Talking Urinals offer a unique way to reach men with a Drink Responsibly message.
    Attracting the attention of the elusive male drinking demographics has always been a challenge for the Nassau County Police Traffic Safety Division.
    In their continuing efforts to get the word out that drunk driving won’t be tolerated, they have initiated a pilot program featuring the Wizmark Urinal Communicator, to be distributed free to bars located within the county. Their intent is clear “You Drive Drunk You Go To Jail”. In an ironic twist, no county money was required to purchase these talking electronic message boards; instead, they were paid for with DWI fines collected from convicted offenders.
    The men’s room offers one relatively untouched ad vehicle that just about everyone who enters it faces; the urinal. The patented Wizmark Interactive Urinal Communicator is positioned within the urinal and directly above the drain.
    By sheer logistics, this strategic location immediately attracts the viewers attention to the public service announcement contained within. …
    Even before activation, informative graphics on the 3.5 inch display screen of the device catches the potential violators eye and delivers a DWI message directly to the targeted unsafe driver or hopefully, one of his responsible friends.

  25. In the same blog where I found the “Talking Urinals,” I discovered a restaurant I’ll never want to visit: The Toilet Bowl Restaurant in Taipei.
    Here’s Taipei Fun Magazine‘s review of the place:

    They use toilet bowls as containers for their delicious cuisine.
    There are two toilet bowl special meals. One is Oyster Sauce Pork Loin and the other is Curry Chicken (Both $90 NT). The toilet bowl containers for dishes are made by a ceramic company in Ying-Ke. The shape is as same as the one you need to squat in the public restroom, the only different is the size which is smaller.

    MSNBC writes “Taiwan bowled over by toilet-theme restaurant.”

    It may take a strong stomach to eat curry or chocolate ice cream out of a toilet bowl, but a commode-themed restaurant in Taiwan does booming business serving up just that.

    How long will it take before one of these places opens up some place in America?

  26. Chris!
    I love the talking urinals! I think it would break a lot of tension!
    I think it would be great fun to eat in a toilet themed restaurant out of a urinal — it’s something you would never live down but something you’d always remember with fondness… and a little bit of disinfectant!

  27. I’m a gay man that’s often curious to see what my neighbor (in next stall’s) got. Sometimes if it’s not too intrusive I’ll take a quick peek. I think that curiosity isn’t unique to gay boys either. And I think there’s a subset of guys (both gay and straight) that seem to like to show off.
    I’m probably more curious as to know why people are the way they are and why our American urinal culture has become so much more private 40 years? Privacy partitions weren’t as common before, don’t you think? They still aren’t in many places in the world. Any other opinions?

  28. For several years I had some issues concerning men’s restrooms and why many of them are not “private” including when the doors frequently swing open, females that are passing by (or standing there to try and communicate to someone in there) can see men in plain view using the restroom due to the way the urinals are built in front of the doors (and not the sinks or stalls). Recently I have been hearing of rumors of proposed legislation, which, if passed, would allow females to go into male restrooms in emergencies and long lines even while males are using them.
    I found a website called, read some of the issues of women waiting in long lines to use restrooms and some even going into the men’s room while men are in there. It should be a law that should be enforced because if a man went into the ladies room, he would be ticketed, fine, jailed, ten-to-twenty, end-of-story.

  29. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, dPee!
    We do have gender inequity when it comes to public restroom access. I’m not sure if unisex restrooms are the answer, though. Bigger women’s rooms would be a good start to evening out the unfairness.

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