Joel's Thinky-Party Night #1: Male Vanity

Does it smell like mildew in here, or is it just me? I hope it's not me. I think it's this musty, stagnant website, untouched since mid-December. As I've been finishing up my album/project/book/thing, working on my novel and adjusting to life in a new profession, there's been no time for the Fat Dog Blog anywhere in my days. I hate that—it's unacceptable to me. So, instead of working quietly at my desk and posting one big article in a few days, I've decided to take my topics and spit them over a few nights. Instead of planning anything, I'm just going to sit and rant for a few minutes about the subject of the night.

Tonight's subject: Male Vanity in the Bathroom.

Let me start by asking a question to those of you with a penis: Why do you stand when you pee in your own home? And, just to make things difficult, your answer cannot contain the phrase, “because I’m a man.”

Because, I’m a man, and I sit while I pee—so that particular argument is invalid. Do you know why I sit while I pee?

One, I’m lazy and like getting in a good sit when I can, and two—I hate cleaning. My mother stopped cleaning up my piss when I was sixteen, and I’m not the type of person to just go ahead and marry myself a new mother when one stops picking up after me, so I clean my own piss. My wife is not the one with male vanity hanging out of her pants, peeing into water from two and a half feet away, pretending it’s not covering the edge of the bowl; the little garbage can beside the toilet, the shower curtain, the back of the seat or my shins/knees in tiny little droplets. No, she’s the one leaving hair on the sink, big whoop. It’s the lesser of two evils, so I do the bathroom cleaning.

On Saturday, while doing said cleaning, I had a realization. One that made all before it seem just… meaningless. The clouds of frustration and toilet bowl cleaner in my brain parted, and a heavenly voice bestowed golden advice unto me:

“You wouldn’t have to do this if you just sat the fuck down.”

It was my own voice, flying in the face of my step-father’s voice. He once sat me down at the kitchen table and told me that boys pee standing up, so I needed to stop sitting down—because I’m a boy. Everybody else in the house was a girl, though. This dude had just moved in with us, and by-golly, us girls sat while we peed.

But, mom agreed; there was a man in the house now, and he needed to teach me to be a man, starting with the most fundamental of behaviors. They kept at the gender-reinforcement with my biological dad, he once took us on a road trip, and my mom made sure that he set aside time to talk to me about my junk and how it’s different from all the other junk I had heard about in the house.

I’ve never had kids, I’m probably not going to have kids, but I don’t know how I feel (in hindsight) about that behaviour in my parents. Partially because I believe that gender norms are dangerous to the human psyche when it's still developing. But, mainly, it's because I truly believe if you teach your son to pee standing up anywhere other than outside, when he moves out, you need to be sending him quarterly cheques for fourteen dollars, because you’ve damned that boy to a lifetime of smelly-ass shower curtains. And, they're not even smelly on the side you can rinse, you’ve gotta friggin’ wash it, that is, if you’ve bought one you can wash. If not—boom! There goes fourteen dollars—thanks mom and dad.