Friday, August 9, 2013

How some German women deal with men who make messes when they pee...

Note* I wrote this piece for back in 2008.  My #1 reader and commenter Alexis reminded me of it this morning when I read her blog.  I'm reposting it here for your amusement.

On November 1, 2008, my husband Bill and I will be celebrating our first year anniversary in our German house. When we first moved in, I noticed a comic strip in the downstairs bathroom. There was a large man pictured. He was lying on the floor in front of a toilet and peeing from his lying down position. Above the toilet was a sign that said, "Nicht im stehen."

When we first moved into our house, I didn't have the foggiest idea what "Nicht im stehen." meant. So I asked our landlord, who helped me out with a translation. The phrase translates to "Not while standing." All year, I've been trying to understand why a toilet would have a sign over it that said "not while standing". Then this morning, by chance, I was on a new favorite Web site, Toytown Germany, which is a place for English speakers living in Germany to meet and exchange advice and anecdotes. Someone had started a thread called "Men standing while peeing, why is it so bad?" Being a red blooded American woman, I didn't realize that some men don't actually stand up when they pee.

The person who started the thread claimed to have been watching German daytime television and in the process, learned that a lot of German women are disgusted by men who take a whiz while standing. This was definitely news to me. Of course, I had to read the rest of the thread, which included hilarious commentary about the cultural differences of sitting versus standing. The common consensus was that sitting while peeing made less of a mess, which apparently women end up having to clean up more often than men do.

A few people had included some funny pictures, which bore a resemblance to the comic in our bathroom. Some folks were angry, claiming that asking men to sit when they pee is sexist and forced feminization. Some men even protested that sitting while peeing was potentially harmful to their health, not to mention possibly even messier than standing is. Needless to say, being the sort who loves bathroom humor, this thread totally entertained me.

But I was still intrigued about the whole thing, so I asked my neighbor if a lot of men in Germany really do sit when they pee. She laughed and said it was true, though she's had trouble teaching her two year old to sit when he pees. Apparently, he's afraid he's going to fall into the toilet.

I find this fascinating, especially given the number of people I've seen casually urinating on the side of the road since we've been here. But at least I finally get the comic posted in my bathroom!


  1. For all I know, maybe the waythe guy in th comic is peing is the way my brothr pees. I really don't know. my mother never enforced modesty between us when we were tiny, but we insisted uponit ourselves.

    I will suggest that Matthew emasculate himself by sitting while urinating. he's gotten better since he went away to college, or maybe the bathrooms are just better because he's away at college, but there's still room for improvement.

    1. I'm lucky. Bill sits when he pees at night.


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