So BFF Jon and my co-editor, Jerry Gordon, were over for dinner. My boys, ever eager students of male bonding conversations, were in rapt attention as we discussed the simple rules to going to the bathroom (we’re talking “away games”). Ultimately, this left them more confused than when I tried explaining race relations in this country. Plus, I’m not sure I knew all of the rules. Apparently there is as much ritual to this as a Japanese tea ceremony. Anyway, to wit…

The two most important rules:
1) No talking. There’s nothing you need to talk about in there. This is a sacrosanct moment, filled with doubt about your shortcomings and subtle homophobia.
2) Maintain the pee line. This means keep your eyes straight ahead, never dropping down. You know where your equipment is. Just reach down and handle it.

Keep those rules in mind at all times. However, there is a protocol one must maintain. Upon entering and facing the row of urinals, one must go to the furthest empty stall. When the next person comes in, they must go to the opposite end of the row. Should a third person come in, they should go to the middle. However, this is where things get a little tricky. That third person has to figure out if there IS a middle urinal. It’s important to leave space enough to leave the every other urinal space between men. Therefore, you know if a man has designed the bathroom, because there are an odd number of urinals.

The only acceptable time to go to a stall (other than to poo) is when there are no available urinals. Similarly, you’re not supposed to use the kid urinals unless there are no others available (but you still need to maintain proper spacing). Use your best judgment when it comes to these.

And now, troughs. This is a lowest common denominator pee event. It’s nothing less than a free for all/Lord of the Penises, er, Flies. Simply space yourself out as best as you can. If you know you will be facing a trough situation, remember, no open-toed shoes, flip flops (especially at the Indianapolis 500 track – if your choice is that trough, it’s better to stand outside and piss where everyone can see you).

There should be no handshakes or celebratory gestures of any kind while in the bathroom.

Do NOT cross streams. Under ANY circumstances.

There was some question about stalls and how to handling a no toilet paper situation. This is easily enough avoided if you simply check your stall first, but sometimes you just have to go and don’t think to do your due diligence. In the event of no toilet paper, you have a few options: 1) if the bathroom is not busy, you run to another stall or make a break for paper towels (pulling up your underwear is optional); 2) if you’re a man’s man or in a crowded bathroom, you sacrifice your underwear to wipe with and then go commando for the rest of your evening.

And as I told my sons after this informative and instructional seminar, “now today, you are a man. Or at least you will be once you’ve mastered the art of crop dusting a room.”

BFF Jon and Co-editor Jerry are available for school lectures and Boy Scout meetings if you need them.