Saturday, March 25, 2006

Drunken Ramble

I went to the pub tonight, I probably shouldn't have done as I've got more work to do than an English Lit. student should ever have to face, but I did anyway, as I was bored, tired and I've spent around 40 hours in the library this week. I went because Martin Jonathan was playing and he's always good for an evening of absurdly skilled guitar playing and damn fine songs. The drink was flowing (at a modest rate as I'm modestly bankrupt) and, in one of those 'inevitable rules of nature' doohickies, the trips to the toilet were frequent.

I'm not sure whether this is because I have a small bladder or that I just jump at any excuse to get my cock out (probably the former but who knows) but when I drink beer it seems to go through me at a great speed, taking all the liquid it can find on the way with it. This means that I spend probably more time in pub toilets than anyone who isn't either a coke addict or really easy.

For men, the toilet, whether it is in a pub, in a house or in a little wooden shack at the end of the garden, is a place of quiet contemplation. I was standing at the urinal (the one at the far end, closest to the wall - only a complete cad will choose the middle urinal if the others are not occupied) and looking at the exact same advert that has been on the wall there for about a year.

Which is strange in itself considering that those adverts must be subject to the closest 'eyes front, don't look at the other guy's penis or you'll catch the gay' scrutiny that any kind of advert is exposed to - you would have thought that this ad space would be fought over and changing hands constantly. It is not, however, and so after reading the government anti smoking advert for a few seconds (the one that tells you it will make you impotent - not really an issue to me as I've not got any in a good long while and don't smoke) my mind started to wander.

Whilst in this urine smelling reverie I started thinking about toilets, as you'd expect, given the situation. The toilet, I think, is one of the few areas of life in which the norm is biased towards women. Have you ever been in a house with a urinal? I think not... unless you have some very odd friends. The fact is that the toilet is something designed to work for women and work for men, just about, if you are trying.

I suppose it isn't exactly that its design is biased towards women it's more that it isn't biased towards men, which is either the ubiquitous norm or a loved memory depending on which websites you visit. I expect that it is this conspicuous difference to the other things in the world which are biased towards men (like porn, or any number of things I can't think of because I'm drunk) that makes the toilet such a domestic battleground. I mean, let’s look at this objectively here, how much harder is it for a woman to lower a seat than it is for a man to raise one? Considering fact that they are on average lower down and so have to do less bending, and their task involves less heavy lifting, I think if we go purely on caloric expenditure it would only be fair for 'up' to be the default position. However, it is this knowledge, conscious or otherwise of the toilet as a piece of feminist plumbing that makes these disputes so heated.

I mean seriously, women have no idea, the average penis (whatever that looks like) has about all the inherent accuracy of a rusty sawn-off shotgun in a hurricane, and a normal toilet is a long way down and very small compared to the safe surface area for a piss receptacle (about the size of a hedge or, whilst drunk, the Berlin Wall) even with the toilet seat up pissing into a toilet is a risky venture. By leaving the seat up man isn't causing a major inconvenience (unless the woman likes to sit on the toilet in the dark without checking the seat is down) it is that man is trying to make the toilet more man friendly, taking away a crucial area of dominance.

I'm not sure where I was supposed to be going with this, I'm drunk and I got distracted by shiny things, but basically what I think I was going to say at this point is that the toilet is difficult enough for man to navigate without the added difficulty of putting the seat up, which often wont stay up for very long and, mid stream, will come lunging down at your penis with rabbinical intent. For women going to the toilet is already easier, by leaving the seat up man isn't trying to take away women's rights, he's just trying to level the playing field a little.