The world of bathroom etiquette can be an absolute mine-field, doubly so if you're a soldier who occasionally has to do their business on a mine-field.
Most people have the cop on to eventually realise by the time they're about 12 what the standard procedure is when using a urinal. But, as with everything in life, you will occasionally run into some absolute hallion who throws two fingers up to convention, dispenses with all assumed social protocol and blazes their own trail in the world of urinal etiquette, and in the process, making many people feel uncomfortable.
It is to these people, who absolutely need to get their act together, that this article is aimed.
1) Don't Stand Directly Beside Someone:
If there are no other urinals free then by all means, where needs must, set up shop at whatever urinal happens to be free. However when it's an utterly empty bathroom with rows of gleaming porcelain available as far as the eye can see, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to come up and take their perch immediately beside you. These are presumably the same people who take a similar approach to seating on public transport, though it is obviously worse in a urinal as they have their willies out.
2) Avoid The Children's Urinal:
In any larger public bathroom there will usually be one slightly lowered urinal in amongst the ceramic herd. Again, if it's busy, by all means feel free to ply your trade at this one. But if it's not, aside from the fact that you should leave it free for its intended audience of children and the vertically restricted, it just comes across as odd. Let's put it this way, you wouldn't go play in a ball-pit at Leisureplex so this should be no different.
3) Always Stare At The Ceiling:
When the time comes to get down to it and actually put the cat amongst the pigeons, everyone suddenly becomes incredibly conscious of their own eyeline. There are generally two schools of thought here. The first is to stare straight ahead at the wall with a single-minded intensity that would make even Danny Dyer blush. The second, for people who don't want to leave any room for misunderstandings, is to become supremely interested in the ceiling. Ceilings, outside of the Sistine Chapel, generally don't get much of a look in, but in a bathroom you should stare away.
4) Don't Whistle. Why Would You Whistle:
I've known many perfectly sane and reasonable men who wouldn't dream of whistling in any other context, become zealous converts as soon as they're within spitting distance of a urinal. The desire to whistle is obviously born out of some misguided application of the third point, the thinking presumably being, 'Hey, I'm just an innocent guy whistling and very much minding my own business.' But it draws far too much attention to the whole charade, and it mostly sounds terrible.
5) Never Strike Up A Conversation With A Stranger:
While breaking this rule is somewhat acceptable after about midnight when you're in a bar and everyone is smashed, in the cold light of day, trying to make small talk, or any sized talk for that matter, with a neighbour at a urinal is a foolhardy move. No one, who is not an absolute cretin, has ever befriended anyone by striking up a chat with a man who merely happens to have a bladder synchronised to your own.
6) Keep The Shaking Down To An Absolute Minimum:
As the famous Simpsons line goes, “More than two shakes and it's playing with yourself.” For the love of Christ don't let that be you.
7) Bumping Into Someone You Know:
Bumping into someone you know between classes etc., while all well and good, leads to its own rake of problems. Firstly, shaking hands with anyone in a bathroom is like playing some bacterial Russian roulette, you don't know if you've caught them pre or post wash, and frankly the risk just isn't worth it. Secondly if you end up chatting, for the sake of everyone trapped in the bathroom with you, please just agree to chat outside when you're both finished. A bathroom isn't somewhere you'd propose as an ideal meeting place for a get together so for god's, and your own, sake move your chat on somewhere more suitable, like a café. There are many cafés.
8) Don't Do The Full 'Drop & Lift':
From the age of about seven onwards it's unfortunately no longer acceptable to do the full 'Drop & Lift'. What's the 'Drop & Lift' I hear you ask? Why it's when you take that gung-ho approach to clearing your firing line for action by dropping your trousers to your ankles and lifting your t-shirt up to your neck like you're parodying some Spring Break reveller. Anyone who persists with this kind of carry on beyond infancy belongs in a padded cell.
9) Coping With Stage Fright:
Occasional awkward situations can crop up due to 'stage-fright', 'performance anxiety' call it what you will. It can sometimes happen where two people will be standing at urinals, and in the eerie silence of the bathroom, it's clear nothing's happening for either of you. The sage advice here is to simply weather the storm of awkwardness and persevere. Or you can cut your losses and move on to greener pastures (a cubicle). What you should never do is copy the man who I saw recently in a similar situation who, after a significant silent pause, stared down at his own genitals and angrily growled 'Get a move on will ya!'
10) Never, Ever, EVER Shit In A Urinal:
I hope that we could've all taken this as read, but this genuinely happened in my school. Don't be that guy.