Friday, April 29, 2005

Urinal Selection Strategy

This is going to rock your world... if you're a woman. Here's the thing: when guys walk into a public bathroom, we draw on gaming theory to determine which urinal we will use. And almost every guy will pick the same urinal, given the same set of circumstances. Even stranger, this jockeying for position requires virtually no conscious thought -- in fact, thinking about it too much can disrupt the process.

Rather than try to prove this with the strength of my prose alone, I am providing a visual aid and scenario role-playing; guys, tell me if I stray from the true (and ladies, you can ask your man about this; he may try to avoid the question, but we can't deny our instincts).

Scenario 1
Guy walks into the bathroom. It is unoccupied.

Urinal choice
Any urinal is acceptable, as long as no one else is there. And if someone else comes in, there is always room for an empty urinal between the two guys.

Scenario 2
Guy walks into the bathroom. Urinal #1 is occupied.

Urinal choice
#4 is the first choice, and #3 is acceptable if #4 has not been flushed. Guys will not choose #2.

Scenario 3
Guy walks into the bathroom. Urinal #2 is occupied.

Urinal choice
#4 is the only acceptable choice.

Scenario 4
Guy walks into the bathroom. Urinals #1 and #3 (or #2 and #4) are occupied.

Urinal choice
There is no acceptable urinal. Wash your hands for a while and wait for an opening, or use a seat. Or just hold it until you get home.

Scenario 5
You're the only one in the bathroom, and you're standing at #1 (as is appropriate). Some guy walks in and, though #4 and #3 are both clean and available, he steps up to #2.

What do you do?
Halt the flow, zip up, wash, and get out; don't look back.


Attila said...

It's in our genes (no pun intended).

Anonymous said...

Seriously, you have time for this, including diagrams, and you don't have any time to put baby latches on the bathroom drawers?

bitchphd said...

Presumably if you're cruising, the rules change.

Jack Steiner said...

the worst is when some bastard not only sidles up to #2 next to you, but starts talking to you about bullshit

That is when you glance down at him and start laughing. ;)

Anonymous said...

Rings quite true. i predicted all of them.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Scenario 2. Choosing Urinal #4 may mark you as a homophobe in certain parts of the country (the Godless, liberal, tree-hugging, baby-eating, Hillary-supporting Northeast, for instance). Urinal #3 would then be a preferred choice.

Unknown said...

As a gay man, I can tell you that usually closeted married men or sexually addicted gays (a minority)are the ones that have to resort to cruising rest rooms. I'm one of many of us that play the urinal distance game just like straight men. First, I'm not into annonymous restroom sex and would not enjoy getting beat up by a homophobe. Secondly, I'm too busy trying to get my "shy" kidneys to work. So, relax guys!

Aurelius said...

Ever since I read this, I haven't been able to use the bathrooms in my office, because there's only two urinals! Your blog is a health hazard!

Anonymous said...

So here's the question then: Three urinals, urinal #1 is occupied, urinal #3 is a kid sized one. Which one is chosen? I pick #2 usually, since I will have at least one side open, and hopefully the guy in #1 is almost done.