Thursday, May 21, 2009

Privacy, Personal Space, and Penises

A little before work let out one afternoon, I decided to take a quick jaunt over to the restroom. Upon entering, I noticed Matt using the far right urinal--the one that everyone uses to feel some measure of privacy since there are no dividers between them. It's basically impossible to feel any privacy while using the short one since its height makes it impossible to gain any cover from the urinal itself, and the lack of privacy in the middle goes without saying. Anyway, upon seeing him there, I went directly towards the toilet stall slightly pictured on the left. That's basically my gameplan for this restroom as well as any like it: if there's no privacy at the urinals, go for the stall. However, my greatest fear (at that moment, at least) was realized when he finished, turned around just as I went into the stall, and said, "Hey, pal."

I greeted him as I closed the door, but I felt compelled to apologize since it was clear that I knew he was there and tried to get in without saying anything. Things didn't go as planned since I ended up saying how much I disliked talking to others while using urinals. As Matt washed his hands, he replied, "Me too. I-" and he broke his sentence off there. I was about to tell him that he didn't need to stop talking since I wasn't using a urinal, but he quickly finished and left, letting me know that he'd see me back in the Writing Center. The whole thing got me thinking.

Talking to another guy while peeing at nearby urinals makes me really uncomfortable. I've come to realize that when I pee, I want to feel like I'm completely alone, that no one could possibly be paying any attention to me or my urine. That doesn't mean that I'm against talking in the restroom, though. I think I'm okay exposing my thoughts when I feel I'm not exposing another part of myself.

When talking to Matt later, he expressed a similar sentiment, though it was definitely more personal: "I don't think guys should talk to each other while holding their junk." That's a pretty good policy for any situation, though especially in the restroom.

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