THE CASE FOR URINAL TALK
A few years back, the Esquire office was quartered on a floor of an old office building. The men’s room featured two urinals, as most office-building restrooms do. The unfortunate thing was there was no divider of any kind between the urinals. To make matters worse, the urinals were mounted so close together that it was possible — maybe even likely — that your shoulder and the shoulder of the other urinator would come into contact. Which was awkward. But it made the eternal question of whether or not to engage in conversation with the person at the next urinal significantly easier to answer. You had to. There are few things more awkward than inadvertently rubbing up against another man — unless it’s doing so without comment. Which may explain why we hold it to be appropriate — maybe even polite — to verbally acknowledge the presence of the guy standing next to you, divider or not. Not conversation so much as a greeting — maybe a rhetorical question, the answer to which will be drowned out by the cascade of noise when you flush.