Little did I know as I dived into the underbelly of international urinals just how deeply I would plunge.
First stop, Amsterdam, city of iniquity, home of hemp, place for the red light hump. Now host to something more.
The act of urinating on building walls and doorways was one so prevalent in Amsterdam that the masonry began to decay. Downtown streets began to reek; a solution had to be found before the entire city collapsed under a heap of urine soaked ruins. The lack of public restrooms as well as the practice of charging customers for use of facilities brought this problem to a head.
Why pay when you can spray?
Wouldn't the sight of this make anyone want to relieve themselves elsewhere?
The perfect solution seemed to be putting open air urinals on sidewalks and street corners">
yes, that's just what I thought
Seems like this would have been sufficient? Now the problem wasn't where to go but how to direct the stream. Bad aim equals unsanitary urinals. Again sanitary engineers put their heads together to come up with a solution; put targets in the urinals so users have something to aim for. Images of flies were first used as targets and now some urinals even have an interactive video game inside. Does this remind anyone of teaching Jr. to aim by floating a cheerio in the toilet?
What's next, an electric shock if you miss?
Thailand loved the idea of having outdoor urinals at night for the passing drunkards but found them unsightly during the day. Hence their urinals disappear into the ground during the day. Abracadabra.
At least in China there is a screen to hide the waist area of its users.
Mexico goes high tech by installing into their urinals a device that says in a woman's voice "Hey, big guy.Having a few drinks? Think you've had one too many?" The message ends with: "Remember, the future is in your hand."
Vienna sports a urinal in the shape of a woman's mouth. Several similar ones were offered by Ebay, but were soon removed for bad taste.
My favorite photo comes from New Zealand. The walls of the restroom are covered with leering women. I'm sure any day now there will be outdoor urinals available there due to an epidemic of urine related performance anxiety.
This is urinal reporter Jean Knee signing off. Next up: Why male hand washing is down.