Men, don’t worry! They’re not coming for your right to pee standing up.
But you should sit down, anyway.
Did you hear the news? Sweden plans to introduce a law that would force men to sit down while peeing. Can you believe that? No? Good, because it’s not actually true.
This story made an appearance on a recent episode of the popular NPR news quiz Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me, when panelist Mo Rocca described the supposed law during a game in which listeners must tell truth from fiction. “[Sweden’s Left Party wants] to ban men from urinating standing up,” Rocca said. “The first step, replace all urinals with sitting-only toilets.”
So, was Rocca’s story one of the fake news items, intended to bluff the listener? No. But it’s not quite true, either.
What may have been the result of a transcontinental game of telephone – Swedish whispers, if you will – started when a local chapter of the Swedish Left Party, citing health reasons (including “a longer and healthier sex life”) merely suggested that the men in their offices would be better off sitting down to pee. To make it easier for those men willing to take a stand by taking a seat to avoid sitting down on whatever’s left of those who came – and stood – before, the party proposed designating specially labeled toilets for men who cannot stand the thought of sitting down, leaving the remaining seats for the sitters.
So, relax. No one is going to force you to sit down to urinate, not in Sweden and not anywhere else. You can stand up and tinkle all you want. But should you?
Sit down. But not because it’s healthier. The Swedes cite a study that claims sitting down reduces risk of prostate problems. Detractors say there has not been enough research to verify any health benefits. All everybody seems to be agree on is that there are no known dangers in taking a seat.
Sit down. But not just because it’s more hygienic. True, no matter how good your aim, there will always be spillage, stray droplets, and urine vapor landing on your toothbrush. Sitting down will reduce the risk of any unwanted liquids landing outside the bowl. However, it’s not as if you’re in any danger from rogue pee. A healthy person’s urine is safe for human consumption, after all.
Sit down. But not just because it’s more comfortable. Yes, you’re free to use both hands as you sit and read the New York Times, check your e-mail without the constant fear of dropping your phone into the toilet, or finish one more paragraph of that book you started a year ago, are not really that into but still want to know how it turns out. If you can only find time to do any of these things while you’re peeing, or you go to the bathroom so many times a day that you’re actually turning those pages, you might have bigger issues to tackle than whether to pee sitting down or standing up.
Sit down. But not just because you’ll never have to hear your cohabitants complain about leaving the seat up. Although that sure would be very considerate of you.
Sit down. Because there’s nothing wrong with it. It won’t demean you, or rob you of your manhood, contrary to what some may think. In a comic on his site The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman lists “the pros and cons of a man sitting down to pee.” The primary con: It “pretty much makes you a sissy little bitch.” Now, even if Inman is given the benefit of just making a joke, it is one deeply rooted in the believe of many men – and possibly some women – that the act of crouching down to urinate, which men can take or leave while women (pretty much) are forced to do, somehow emasculates those who choose not to hold on to their penises for the process.
“Reporting” on the – again, non-existent – Swedish attempt to “Outlaw Peeing While Standing,” website GuySpeed.com (categories include “Girls,” “Sex & Dating” and “Pics”) contemplates what consequences a forced sit-down might have: “Will we have to pretend we like sparkly ‘Twilight’ vampires, and long talks about our emotions?”
If standing up in front of the toilet, eyes firmly on your penis to make sure it’s still there, is the one thing that separates you from that fate worst of all – being a woman! – then maybe reading a book or two isn’t such a bad idea, after all, even if you have to sit down to do it.
But if you’re man enough to face the world… well, the other side of your bathroom, at least… then proudly sit down on what has been designed for just that purpose – it’s called a toilet seat, not toilet stand – rest your arms, don’t worry about health risks or hygiene and just close your eyes and think of your toothbrush.