THE CASE FOR URI­NAL TALK

Men's Style (Australia) - - Manual -

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.

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