Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Urinal Etiquette

[editor's note: Our tribute to Germany week continues with a helpful guide to urinal etiquette. Skeptical about what relation these two subjects have? Well Germans have been peeing for years, most noteably when they tried to pee all over Europe in WW2 and got the snot kicked out of them.]

Peeing in a men's bathroom is a lot like playing chess. The invention of urinals was done primarily for efficiency yet inadvertantly it also heralded the introduction of game-theory into peeing. This is my opinion and a fact, although 50% of the population has no clue what I'm talking about.

Incidently another side effect of urinals is a phenomena known only as "splash-back" which really needs no explanation. But I digress...

Usually when you pee your job is to try to avoid standing next to someone if possible. It's pretty clear why, because if there are 4 urinals and one is being used, it's sorta bizarro to use the one right next to another fellow pee-er. It's a little bit uncomfortable to say the least. Not to mention the fact that sometimes it's hard to pee when you are standing next to someone who is peeing a lot. It's sorta intimidating. Especially if it's really quiet in the bathroom.

So the point of picking a proper place to pee is to not only avoid standing next to others, but to also place yourself in a position where you avoid having the next person stand next to you. This is the game theory/strategy aspect of peeing. Occassionally people mess up this whole thing and as such I felt like it would be a good public service to go over proper urinal etiquette. For all the ladies in the hizzo, please let this be a chance to be in awe of how much stress males have to go through just to pee. Going to the bathroom isn't as simple as merely finding an open stall and gotta put some thought behind it.

So allow me to demonstate with several scenarios. In each case the first urinator is marked as the Green #1 dot, with the appropriate moves following as numbered...

Scenario #1: After the first urintator, the second guy may be tempted to go all the way to the right, but the fact of the matter is that most people just go two urinals over. The third guy's best choice is to stand between a wall and a pee-er as opposed to between two people.This is the Anti-Middle-Pee Postulate. Meanwhile the fourth guy has no choice, unless he can hold it.

Scenario #2: This one is pretty clear cut, after the first guy's bold move of standing in the middle, the second guy has no choice but to stand near the wall. According to the Anti-Middle-Pee Postulate the third guy should rationally choose to stand next to a wall. Again the fourth guy is screwed, figuratively speaking.

Scenario #3: Simply a mirror image of the second scenario

Scenario #4. This one is a bit bizarro because on the surface you're think it would play out like the first scenario, but I wanted to introduce an illogical move by our second urinator. By maximing the distance between himself and the first guy, he has inadvertantly messed up the Natural Order with the next two urinators. Basically for the third and fourth guy's it's a crap shoot over which urinals they choose. Although to be fair, if they had to shoot crap they'd probably just go into one of the stalls. Urinals are not meant to handle tatti.

Well there you have it. I hope this has been a good refresher course for you males and educational for the females. I think we can all agree that peeing is a serious issue indeed.


vncvega said...

i don't think your scenario 4 is an illogical move by the second urinator. as the second urinator, you should always take the other end because while you are indifferent between scenario 1 and 4 in a two urinator situation, you get to hedge your bets if there's a third or (god forbid) fourth urinator who enter the fray. your best case scenario is that the third urinator takes the one adjacent to the first urinator (highly likely if he can determine who started first) in which case you are happy with your one urinal buffer, and the worst case scenario you at least have one wall.

Triskadelphia said...

I hope to read more in this series.

Shakes said...

vnc, this is actually a pretty good comment. you're right in theory i think i would do exactly what you outlined. as the second pee-er you would move far away in the hopes that you can avoid the third pee-er. BUT i think in practice you don't wanna seem like some weird who goes and pees by themselve, so hence i think despite your better judegement you may actually finding yourself not peeing as far away from the first urinator as possible.

as far your comments trisk, we are currently undergoing some testing and scenario analysis for a 5 urinal scenario. we will keep you updated on any developments.