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Stand Up and Urinate Like a Man:

From a Florida Court of Appeals opinion released today:

[T]he father [petitioned] for modification of the final [custody] judgment, requesting primary residential custody of their [15-year-old] son.... [T]he trial court based its ruling on evidence that the father was more likely to ensure the child was engaged in productive, normal, and healthy extracurricular activities, and the child would benefit from a greater male influence in his life. The trial court concluded that the child's development was "disturbingly retarded." It went on to find that the child possessed unreasonable fears for his age, and had "unmanlike" toilet behavior.

[Footnote: The child would sit to urinate and was self-conscious about urinating in the woods during excursions with the father.]

The court of appeals reversed, concluding that "the father failed to satisfy the extraordinary burden of showing a substantial and material change [in circumstances since the initial custody decision]." And the court seemed to dismiss the "toilet behavior" matter by saying, "The child simply did not conform to either the father's or trial court's perception of manliness."

Steve:
I had to click the link to find out how old the kid was, which struck me as somewhat relevant information. Turns out he was 15.

I have to say, the trial court's decision might be one of those cases where a wise Latina would have reasoned a little differently. Perhaps even better!

[Updated the post to include age. -EV]
7.24.2009 6:03pm
Ben P:
Do you have some sort of crazy westlaw notifier search set up to find these opinions?

[Yes, though it doesn't search for "urinate." -EV]
7.24.2009 6:05pm
Randy R. (mail):
So he was 15. HOw is that relevant?

This sounds like one of those techniques they try at 'ex-gay' camps. If you urinate 'like a man', the theory goes, you will no longer be gay.
7.24.2009 6:07pm
Law Student (mail):
This is an example where courts pretend that clearly relevant facts are not important because they deal with uncomfortable subject matter, like what is and is not manly. This is clearly strange behavior that will not lead to happiness in this boy's life.
7.24.2009 6:09pm
CalAttnyKen (mail):
This opinion should be filed under "why people hate lawyers"
7.24.2009 6:11pm
Buddy DeNunzio:
What a pisser!

Seriously, we have seen manifested in crime statistics, particularly among the more vulnerable minority communities, the effects of separating male children from their fathers.

Time for a change in welfare regulations? Time for audacity?

BTW, I see no substantiation that our supreme leader, raised by a woman, is abnormal in any way, despite the foolish accusations of the supermarket tabloid press.
7.24.2009 6:11pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Being male, I come down on the side of the father. The boy should have been with him from the start, or at least since the age of about 10 or so.

Yes, I will admit to being a sexist. I do not believe that very many women can adequately raise teenage boys without a strong male presence in the boys' lives. This is a time when most boys need enforceable limits far more than they need nurturing. (There are problems with women raising teenage daughters without males around too, but I don't see those as being as egregious). Looks to me here like he was nurtured a bit too much by the mother and his sisters.

As a note, I remember awhile back, I think here, learning that there was a term in German for males like the boy, something like sitz pizzer, or something like that.
7.24.2009 6:12pm
wooga:
Under the traditional setup, sitting down to pee is act showing deference to women. It means you will not leave the seat up, and you will not 'splash' (the woman is presumably the one who does the cleaning). It is a sign of a deeply overbearing mother.

That's what this guy was probably thinking, and that's probably why he included it in the papers. He incorrectly assumed the court shared the "sitting down to pee = momma's boy = bad" view.
7.24.2009 6:14pm
Arkady:
OT, but this reminded me of the NY case some years ago, well, incident, in which a man was electrocuted by pissing on the third rail in the subway. My question for the lawyers: Does (or did) his estate have a cause of action against the city for negligence (granting, I assume, contributory negligence by the deceased)? Just asking.
7.24.2009 6:15pm
wooga:

I remember awhile back, I think here, learning that there was a term in German for males like the boy, something like sitz pizzer, or something like that.


Interesting. Maybe that explains why the handful of guys I know who sit to pee are all first or second generation Germans.
7.24.2009 6:16pm
Putting Two and Two...:

Interesting. Maybe that explains why the handful of guys I know who sit to pee are all first or second generation Germans.


Maybe they're just big readers...
7.24.2009 6:17pm
Ohismith (mail):
As the mother of two grown-up healthy boys and one grown-up healthy girl, I can guarantee you that none of them has ever watched me or my husband go pee. And I certainly couldn't tell you whether they sit when they pee. And that includes the girl.
7.24.2009 6:19pm
bobh (mail):
"This is clearly strange behavior that will not lead to happiness in this boy's life...."

1. Why is it strange -- other than strange to YOU, which is not the same thing? (It is a little strange to me, too, but so what? Seems to me the position one assumes for urination is nobody's business but the urinator's.)

2. Why do you believe it will "not lead to happiness" in the boy's life? Why would it ever become an issue at all?
7.24.2009 6:23pm
Putting Two and Two...:

And I certainly couldn't tell you whether they sit when they pee.


Who cleans the bathrooms?
7.24.2009 6:23pm
Mike& (mail):
In prison, they make punks (a forced "boyfriend") sit down to pee.

Way to go, judges!
7.24.2009 6:23pm
u. saldin (mail):
I once witnessed my mother urinating out of a car window. She's pretty flexible.
7.24.2009 6:24pm
AJK:
Honestly, I've never heard of a healthy man who sat down (short of George Costanza in that Seinfeld episode where he claims to be a "stall man"). It may not be the missing paternal influence, but there's definitely something wrong with that kid.
7.24.2009 6:28pm
Putting Two and Two...:
If you read the decision, it's pretty obvious that the parents' childish tug of war over their children is going to result in a lot more problems for these kids than how the choose to pass water.
7.24.2009 6:30pm
ShelbyC:
True story: I was at a party and a man was telling an anecdote about standing up to pee. This resulted in the following exchange with his wife:

Wife: Well, what the hell were you doing standing up anyway?

Man: I was at work.

Wife: Oh, OK.
7.24.2009 6:34pm
fishbane (mail):
Honestly, I've never heard of a healthy man who sat down (short of George Costanza in that Seinfeld episode where he claims to be a "stall man"). It may not be the missing paternal influence, but there's definitely something wrong with that kid.

I don't know if that says more about those whom you talk about such things with or your definition of "healthy man", but I started to sit down when I got sick of cleaning around the toilet so frequently for no good reason.

Honestly, I've never met healthy people that make such bizarre sweeping claims about people over such obviously trivial things.
7.24.2009 6:36pm
Putting Two and Two...:
I suspect some posters here are so manly that they poop standing up!

I'm going to indulge in one of the joys of the anonymous internet. I'm pee-shy. There, I said it!

I can really identify with this kid. Though, to be honest, the biggest problem I had with outdoor elimination wasn't standing up to pee. I'm supposed to use leaves? LEAVES?!?!?
7.24.2009 6:39pm
Splunge:
I can understand the appeals court overriding the trial court's "perception of manliness" in favor of their own. That's the pissing order, as it were. Presumably at some point Big Penis -- the Supreme Court -- will weigh in with its interpretation of what the Constitution defines as "manly," and the argument within the judicial system will be over. All lower courts will need to bend over and point their rump submissively at Sonia SotamayOR or whoever pens the deathless prose.

But the father's? Excuse me? Shouldn't courts at all levels give substantial deference to the father's "perception of manliness?" I mean, hello, he's raising the boy, right? He's the male role model. He's the one who knows the boy and can best project the man he'll become -- if for no other reason than for the obvious genetic and sexual reasons. His "perception of manliness" is what should rule, barring some bizarre and antisocial extreme version. I mean, unless all these fathead sidewalk supervisors on the bench want to climb down, roll up the black sleeves, and get the job done themselves.
7.24.2009 6:40pm
Burt Likko (mail) (www):
I take the case as a reminder that if you don't comply with rule Number One, you're in a lot of trouble.
7.24.2009 6:41pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
I started sitting down as I became blind. Just way easier.
7.24.2009 6:46pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
By the time my daughter was 15, I had long, long since left off having any knowledge of how she conducted herself in the bathroom. If we had been in the woods, or wherever, I would have given her privacy there too. Couldn't it be argued that it's not healthy for a man to be so involved in his teenage son's bathroom habits? Or is that a male thing?
7.24.2009 6:47pm
PeteP (mail):
This forum is going down the toilet.
7.24.2009 6:47pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):

This forum is going down the toilet.


At least if they ever gave the internet a enema, the VC isn't where they would put the nozzle.
7.24.2009 6:50pm
Real Man (mail):
Uncomfortable pissing the the woods at 15? My mother had me piss in the street if I had to go when I was 7. He sounds retarded, and his mother is evil.
7.24.2009 6:52pm
AJK:

By the time my daughter was 15, I had long, long since left off having any knowledge of how she conducted herself in the bathroom. If we had been in the woods, or wherever, I would have given her privacy there too. Couldn't it be argued that it's not healthy for a man to be so involved in his teenage son's bathroom habits? Or is that a male thing?

'
According to the opinion, The child would sit to urinate and was self-conscious about urinating in the woods during excursions with the father." It sounds like the dad couldn't help noticing. Now I don't think that that observation is, in and of itself, grounds for changing custody arrangements, but it's not normal, and it certainly could be an indication of a deeper problem.
7.24.2009 6:52pm
AJK:


I don't know if that says more about those whom you talk about such things with or your definition of "healthy man", but I started to sit down when I got sick of cleaning around the toilet so frequently for no good reason.


If you can't get it in the toilet consistently, then I suspect you've got some kind of problem. If you were my friend, I would certainly make fun of you, and I don't think I'm alone in that.
7.24.2009 6:54pm
Still standing:
Respect for women does not call for tolerating petty behavior. This really isn't about manliness, it's about boundaries. A man who tolerates petty, micromanaging crap from his wife is in for a rough marriage. I believe it goes without saying that the reverse (converse?) is true as well.

When I got married, my new wife attempted to do what her mother and sister had done - make their husbands sit down to piss.

I told her if she wanted to marry a woman she had missed her chance. It set the tone for years to come, and yes, the marriage is still standing, as am I.
7.24.2009 6:55pm
Mike McDougal:

[Yes, though it doesn't search for "urinate." -EV]

DESCRIBE your search string.
7.24.2009 6:58pm
Still standing:

DESCRIBE your search string.


"urin!/s stand! &father"
7.24.2009 7:01pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):

Uncomfortable pissing the the woods at 15? My mother had me piss in the street if I had to go when I was 7. He sounds retarded, and his mother is evil.


That'll get you on the sex offender registry in Texas.
7.24.2009 7:04pm
SFH:
Of course, now the son's bathroom habits are a matter of public record. That sounds really helpful.
7.24.2009 7:05pm
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Bruce Hayden: the term is sitzpinkler. Google returns 175,000 hits for it; it also means "wimp". The opposite is stehpinkler.
7.24.2009 7:05pm
DCP:


If we had been in the woods, or wherever, I would have given her privacy there too. Couldn't it be argued that it's not healthy for a man to be so involved in his teenage son's bathroom habits? Or is that a male thing?


I didn't read the opinion, but it seems that the boy was so self-conscious about going to the bathroom outdoors (even with privacy), that it was getting in the way of healthy recreational activity. Men like to bond with their sons by doing outdoor things - hunting, fishing, hiking, sports, etc...I can undetstand how some "unmanlike" toilet behavior would compromise some important developmental opportunities.

I know I've pissed in a bush hundreds of times. And when I look back on the times when I was forced to do so, those were some of the greatest times of my life.
7.24.2009 7:06pm
Melancton Smith:
Standing to pee is just another of those benefits of being male...granted not as great as not having to suffer the pains of pregnancy and childbirth or having to earn 60 cents on the dollar.

Not standing to pee isn't proof of a problem but it could be evidence of a problem. Just like keeping your DVDs in alphabetical order isn't proof of a problem but stopping to re-order the DVDS on your way out to take your kid to the ER seems evidence of a problem.

I'd like to call foul on the bathroom being any more clean with women than men, however. I figured out this like when my first wife had some medicine for an infection that turned her urine red. Apparently splashing urine is not a male perogative.
7.24.2009 7:08pm
Real Man (mail):
Pissing in the street is not a sex offense. It's manhood.
7.24.2009 7:12pm
BTB (www):
"I know I've pissed in a bush hundreds of times. And when I look back on the times when I was forced to do so, those were some of the greatest times of my life."

The best times of your life were when someone forced you to pee in a bush?
7.24.2009 7:12pm
DG:
If my son refused to go camping because he was too scared to pee in the woods - at 15 - this would be indicative of a significant problem.
7.24.2009 7:16pm
Putting Two and Two...:

If you were my friend, I would certainly make fun of you, and I don't think I'm alone in that.


And if you did, I'd pee on your shoes, just to prove a point.

One of the great things about being pretty out about being pee-shy, is that you find out you're not alone and that there are a wide, WIDE variety of reasons that some men choose to sit.

Some have the problem (as AJK would put it) of being modest. Frankly, that sort of sounds like what's going on with this kid, as the decision mentions his family's focus on religion and, I would guess, "proper behavior".

Some have the problem of fluid dynamics. Some guys splash a lot more than others. Some have split streams. Some need more uh... manipulation to finish up than is acceptable while standing at a urinal.

Some the have the problem of being waaay more hung than most guys and not appreciating the stares.

You also find out that people are raised very differently. Some experience routine same-sex nudity in their households, from skinny dipping to James-Dobson-like showering with dad. Some never, ever see other family members nekkid. EVER. Some kids grow up with their very own spa-bathroom. Some share with bunches of brothers. I had one friend who was one of six brothers born within 4½ years -- two sets of twins -- and for years they all peed at the same time into the same toilet, just to cut the time it took to get ready for bed.
7.24.2009 7:25pm
jackson:
He'll never be able to write his name in the snow
7.24.2009 7:36pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
Is being this self-conscious likely to make the kids life worse? Of course! I bet it will/does cause teasing and other cruel treatment from other boys. However, likely the very worst thing one could do (and possibly a contributing factor) is to give him the whole "be a man" macho treatment. That will probably just scar him even more seriously.

Seeing a psychologist would probably be more useful. Of course if I'm misreading this and it's just an isolated neurosis rather than extreme shyness/self-consciousness then what's the big deal?
7.24.2009 7:36pm
vinnie (mail):
Not a lot of farmers or ranchers around here.


Real Man (mail):
Pissing in the street is not a sex offense. It's manhood.



But a gentleman will turn his back.
7.24.2009 7:38pm
Stephen C. Carlson (www):
Interesting. Maybe that explains why the handful of guys I know who sit to pee are all first or second generation Germans.


According to this preacher on YouTube, that's exactly what's wrong with Germany today: Pastor Steven L Anderson Pisseth Against the Wall
7.24.2009 7:40pm
deepthought:
Honestly, I've never heard of a healthy man who sat down (short of George Costanza in that Seinfeld episode where he claims to be a "stall man"). . . .

George Costanza a healthy man? You are kidding, of course. Talk about paranoid, insecure personality. If anyone is a "stall man" it's Larry Craig.

From The Note:


(George is describing to Jerry a massage he received from a masseur):

George: A man gave me... a massage.

Jerry: So?

George: So he... had his hands and, uh, he was...

Jerry: He was what?!

George: He was... touching and rubbing.

Jerry: That's a massage.

George: And then I took my pants off.

Jerry: You took your pants off?

George: For my hamstring.

Jerry: Oh.

George: He got about two inches from... there.

Jerry: Really?

George: I think it moved.

Jerry: Moved?

George: It may have moved, I don't know.

Jerry: I'm sure it didn't move.

George: It moved! It was imperceptible but I felt it.

Jerry: Maybe it just wanted to change positions? You know, shift to the other side.

George: No, no. It wasn't a shift, I've shifted, this was a move.

Jerry: Okay, so what if it moved?

George: That's the sign! The test; if a man makes it move.

Jerry: That's not the test. Contact is the test, if it moves as a result of contact.

George: You think it's contact? It has to be touched?

Jerry: That's what a gym teacher once told me.
. . . .
Kramer enters, with George and Jerry still there, and starts talking about seeing Joe DiMaggio and Dinky Donuts.
......

George: I don't even like to sit next to a man on an airplane 'cause our knees might touch. . . . I don't even like to use urinals, I've always been a stall man.

Kramer: Look I'm telling-- (he does a double take and looks at George) I'm telling you, that was Joe DiMaggio.

Kramer: A stall man, huh?
7.24.2009 7:41pm
Randy R. (mail):
First, no one has produced any evidence at all that how a man pees has anything to do with his happiness in life or his manliness.
Second, any father who thinks that he needs to raise a boy and dictate how the boy uses his body is an abusive overbearing father. What's the father going to do -- beat the kid if he doesn't stand while peeing? Good way to build a lifetime of resentment in the boy.
Third, the real issue here that everyone seems to dance around is this notion that if you sit while peeing, you are somehow a girl, ie., gay.

Trust me -- if they kid is gay, it doesn't matter how he pees.
7.24.2009 7:44pm
AJK:

you are somehow a girl, ie., gay.


No, I don't know any gay men who sit.
7.24.2009 7:47pm
glangston (mail):
When the DI gives him and a dozen other recruits permission to piss and there's only one urinal, well.......he'll get over it.
7.24.2009 7:53pm
mcbain:

What's the father going to do -- beat the kid if he doesn't stand while peeing?


I presume the father will pee standing up and the son will learn from his father's example that standing up is the better way.

and for the record standing IS the better way.
7.24.2009 8:03pm
mcbain:
and for the record my gay friends (well friend, but whatever) pisses standing up, maybe someone should tell him that he is doing it the hetero way.
7.24.2009 8:05pm
mcbain:
ugh 2 "for the records in a row" thats what i get when I type in a hurry.
7.24.2009 8:05pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Bruce Hayden: the term is sitzpinkler. Google returns 175,000 hits for it; it also means "wimp". The opposite is stehpinkler.
Thanks.
7.24.2009 8:12pm
Oren:
It is not good to be uncomfortable with your body.

It is even more not good to attempt to make your son comfortable with his body by yelling at him to be a man.

Problem, yes -- solution, definitely not.
7.24.2009 8:13pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
McBain -

Just why is standing the "better way?"

More macho, that's for sure, but also more toilet and bathroom cleaning.

Seems to me there's no real difference how one does it, except for the "side effects."

So, if your aim isn't too good and you don't like cleaning the bathroom often, or if you don't see why your wife should have to do it any more than necessary, you can sit when at home (nobody on the VC will know).
7.24.2009 8:14pm
tired of blogs:
For the record (ha), I'm a little astonished at how strong people's feelings are about this subject, in all directions.
7.24.2009 8:20pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Second, any father who thinks that he needs to raise a boy and dictate how the boy uses his body is an abusive overbearing father. What's the father going to do -- beat the kid if he doesn't stand while peeing? Good way to build a lifetime of resentment in the boy.
My original post on female raised boys was based on the fact that males do statistically better in life if raised by male than just females. They have significantly lower chances at going to prison, doing drugs, etc.

I think that part of the problem here is that the boy will likely be treated as a wimp, girly-man, etc. if he doesn't ultimately how to urinate in front of other guys. Or, at least in the urinal next to them in public restrooms. I think that it is just part of being a guy in our society.

Ok, I did have four brothers, and then lived in a fraternity house. Not as bad as the military, but still enough that I haven't been self-conscious about it since maybe I was 10 or 12.

I don't think it has anything to do with sexual orientation. My memory of the restrooms in gay bars was that they had mirrors so other guys could see what other guys had. Rather, I think it indicia that the mother raised the boy too much like she had raised her daughters. And, yes, girls are much more private about this than boys are, even around members of their same sex.
7.24.2009 8:24pm
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
AJK, mcbain, and a few other commenters remind me of the time in high school when I was told that I was standing like a girl. I tend to keep my weight on one foot, since when I was younger it allowed me to jump out of the way, or into a run that much faster if I noticed an assault on the way.

Anyhow, I asked my critic what would count as standing like a man. He planted one foot, then the other, solidly at shoulder-width. Then he sank his right hand deep into his pants. I didn't look closely enough to tell if it was inside or outside his underwear.

Either way, I'll stand like a girl; sit down to urinate when I want the excuse for a few moments' rest (and for at least two of the problems Putting mentions); and remain comfortable in the notion that if your notion of masculinity is so tenuous that it can be threatened by the way I urinate, maybe you should sit down next time and use the time for some serious introspection.
7.24.2009 8:30pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
u. saldin:

I once witnessed my mother urinating out of a car window. She's pretty flexible.

Was she driving? Which side of the window were you on?
7.24.2009 8:35pm
fishbane (mail):
If you can't get it in the toilet consistently, then I suspect you've got some kind of problem. If you were my friend, I would certainly make fun of you, and I don't think I'm alone in that.

I never thought I'd be discussing the physics of urination on Volokh, but if you have a method and process of suppressing splash that doesn't involve removing one's legs from the knee down or being born short, then good on you.

And that you'd make fun of such a trivial preference illustrates why we'd likely not make make good friends - normative pressure over trivial bathroom habits is not something I'd put up with, and make me wonder more than a little about your motives for concerning yourself about it.

Takes all kinds, I guess.
7.24.2009 8:37pm
mcbain:
Brooks Lyman,

Just why is standing the "better way?"


good question I wonder if the court did a thorough evaluation.

Pros of standing:

1) more macho (important in a male settings such as college dorms and prisons)
2) quicker since it does not require taking off one's pants.
3) more hygenic (your junk will not touch the rim).
4) considrate to other public restroom users since you will not be taking up valuable stall space.
5) It makes it possible to write one's name in the ground.
6) easier to urinate in the wild.

Pros of sitting:

1) it makes it easier to clean up.
2) your wife will not be pissed (heh)
3) easier to urinate while very drunk.


and so on.

I can definitely think of way more positive aspects of standing up to pee, it will be hard to think of more positive of sitting down.
7.24.2009 8:37pm
mcbain:
also, what Oren said
7.24.2009 8:42pm
Vermont Guy (mail):
Tom Wolfe told this one that implies how a real man pees.

It was back at the start of WWII and a bunch of buddies were sitting around talking.

One of them says,"This war is really just about one man, Adolph Hitler. This whole thing would be over in pretty short order if somebody would just shoot the SOB. Heck, I could do it myself."

His buddies ask him how he would go about shooting Hitler.

"Well it wouldn't be hard at all. Now the government will have to get me and my rifle over there but I can do the rest. I'll just knock on his door and when he answers, then I'll shoot him."

"Oh no", his friends say, "a man like that must have people that answer the door for him. That wouldn't work."

"Well in that case I'll go around to the back and in the morning when he comes out to take a pee, then I'll shoot him."
7.24.2009 8:59pm
Owen H. (mail):
It never ceases to amaze me the fascination so many have with what constitutes "manliness" in other people. I don't give a damn what anyone thinks. If I get up in the middle of the night, I sit down, because I don't feel like turning on the lights. How I pee has nothing to do with being "manly".

If this kid is shy about peeing in the woods around his Dad, ever consider it might be his Dad that's the problem, not the kid and how he pees? He sounds like a truly judgmental sod.
7.24.2009 9:12pm
JB:
Bruce Hayden,
"My original post on female raised boys was based on the fact that males do statistically better in life if raised by male than just females. They have significantly lower chances at going to prison, doing drugs, etc."

Are you correcting for inner-city blacks, who have greater chances of being raised by women, going to prison, doing drugs, etc, all independent of each other?
7.24.2009 9:13pm
Oz:
So I gather the lad is the father's number one son?
7.24.2009 9:23pm
Lincoln Gage:
From a great book, Pissing in the Snow

One time there was two farmers that lived out on the road to Carico. They was always good friends, and Bill's oldest boy had been a-sparking one of Sam's daughters. Everything was going fine till the morning they met down by the creek, and Sam was pretty goddam mad. "Bill," says he, "from now on I don't want that boy of yours to set foot on my place."

"Why, what's he done?" asked the boy's daddy.

"He pissed in the snow, that's what he done, right in front of my house!"

But surely, there ain't no great harm in that," Bill says.

"No harm!" hollered Sam. "Hell's fire, he pissed so it spelled Lucy's name, right there in the snow!"

"The boy shouldn't have done that," says Bill. "But I don't see nothing so terrible bad about it."

"Well, by God, I do!" yelled Sam. "There was two sets of tracks! And besides, don't you think I know my own daughter's handwriting?"
7.24.2009 9:25pm
Order of the Coif:
Is this a humor site?
7.24.2009 9:36pm
ShelbyC:
I wonder if the Mom is a member of this organization...
7.24.2009 9:43pm
TomHynes (mail):
When my son was about 3, he had to pee in a park and I told
him to go pee against the wall. He did, then turned around
and his pants were sodden. I hadn't explained the need
to take your pee pee out of your pants before peeeing
against the wall.

At least he did it standing up.
7.24.2009 9:45pm
loki13 (mail):
I've enjoyed this thread, for both the intentional comedy and the, ahem, unintentional comedy.

I know I've pissed in a bush hundreds of times. And when I look back on the times when I was forced to do so, those were some of the greatest times of my life.

Not sayin' a thing.

Anyhoo, I don't give a fig about peeing standing up or down. I do both (always standing up in public places, usually down in the house, and you're welcome for that sharing of information!). I do think there's something odd about a teen male who is completely uncomfortable standing while peeing.
7.24.2009 10:04pm
Hank Anderson:
JB writes:

Are you correcting for inner-city blacks, who have greater chances of being raised by women, going to prison, doing drugs, etc, all independent of each other?

****

To segue into the current news, how's about outer-city blacks, like the President's friend, Skipper Gates, Jnr?

This brings to mind other media-trumpeted "Presidents' Friends", notably mysterious operative Beebee Rebozo and aerosol valve king Robert "Bob" Abplanalp.

Not to mention Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones? Abdul? Sorry that I haven't a complete file on these sorts of friends and lovers.
7.24.2009 10:06pm
Brett Bellmore:

but if you have a method and process of suppressing splash that doesn't involve removing one's legs from the knee down or being born short, then good on you.


What? It's basic hydrodynamics, the Coanda effect: A moving fluid follows a curved surface. You don't piss into the water, you piss onto the porcelain, and make it a glancing impact. It's the same principle as pouring carbonated beverages without producing a lot of foam. Turbulence, produced by angles of impact near 90 degrees, is your enemy here.

Every manly man knows that. So do the girly physicists. ;)
7.24.2009 10:08pm
MattCB (mail):

My memory of the restrooms in gay bars was that they had mirrors so other guys could see what other guys had.


That's an unfair time to be comparing size. What if you're a grower, not a shower?
7.24.2009 10:10pm
JPG:
Why would the boy need a father when a software can teach the kid how to use the hardware?
7.24.2009 10:14pm
Anatid:
Bruce Hayden: You are misreading your data. A child raised by a single parent has a higher chance of going to prison and experiencing other social problems. As it so happens, the overwhelming majority of single parents are women.

Seconding Owen H. The kind of dad who'd go to court on these grounds - rather than, if the mother was truly overbearing or the child badly psychologically damaged, finding better evidence - sounds like the kind of dad I'd be nervous about taking a leak in front of, as well.
7.24.2009 10:31pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
I read somewhere, the writer was a warden or cop or something, that in prison a guy who sits to urinate is more likely to be a problem prisoner, because they were probably raised by a single mother and lack socialization skills for living in tight quarters with other men.
That doesn't mean I think the appeals court got it wrong.
7.24.2009 11:01pm
David Hardy (mail) (www):
When you're man, the world is your urinal.

My father sat to pee. He once mentioned that he'd grown up in rural Arizona where there was no "indoor plumbing." Outhouses didn't have flip up seats, and a mess left by errant aim was not so easily cleaned up without water and toilet paper (they used old Sears and Roebuck catalogs when they had them, and when not ... well, Dad had an expression, "rough as a corn cob," from those days).
7.24.2009 11:15pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Asia has solved the problem. Both men and women squat to pee. No standing, no sitting, just bend the knees.
7.24.2009 11:19pm
Ol' guy:
50 years ago at the club one of my pals, Brian I think, we must have been 4 or 5 y.o., climbed the big tree out by the barbecue and peed on the adults below.

His furious father asked, "Why'd you climb that tree and pee on everyone?"

Brian said, "'Cause I couldn't hit them from down below."

I am not making this up.
7.24.2009 11:23pm
Randy R. (mail):
arbitrary; "I read somewhere, the writer was a warden or cop or something, that in prison a guy who sits to urinate is more likely to be a problem prisoner, because they were probably raised by a single mother and lack socialization skills for living in tight quarters with other men."

Oh, well that explains everything.
7.24.2009 11:53pm
Gregspolitics:
As someone who has successfully handled family law appeals, I note two things:
1. The court simply thought that none of this was a change in circumstances to support a custody modification (and note the commentary about how the father fulfilled a threat to file this if mother persisted in her position on the tax exemption which implies that father did not think this all that serious until mother wouldnt do what he wanted)
2.Mother apparently succeeded on this appeal pro se.
7.24.2009 11:59pm
CMB (mail):
Larry David pees sitting down, for what it's worth.
7.25.2009 12:09am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
It's not a gay issue, Randy.
7.25.2009 1:42am
Christopher M (mail):
It makes me sad that, in such a beautiful world, where each of us is allowed to live for only 50 or 100 years, in which the range of normal human behavior is huge, in which absolutely not one speck of anything of importance to anyone depends on whether some kid feels comfortable peeing next to his dad in the woods, that anyone bothers worrying about ridiculousness like that, let alone finds it worthy of inclusion in an official judicial opinion.

I'm not one of those people who thinks the sexes are exactly the same; there are obvious biological and behavioral tendencies that differ between the sexes, and there may be times when it's right for society to take account of that.

But the idea that there should be an ideal of "manliness" implying that a kid is a failed example of his sex if he likes to sit down to piss, or feels strange peeing with his father in the woods -- and who knows what led him to feel that way, what behavior on his father's part, what aspect of his personality, what burned-in experience from some event earlier in life -- what a sad, sad, waste of time.
7.25.2009 2:11am
whit:

But the idea that there should be an ideal of "manliness" implying that a kid is a failed example of his sex if he likes to sit down to piss, or feels strange peeing with his father in the woods -- and who knows what led him to feel that way, what behavior on his father's part, what aspect of his personality, what burned-in experience from some event earlier in life -- what a sad, sad, waste of time.

d00d. the alan alda, hypersensitive feel your pain estrogenified male era is over. didn't you get the memo.
7.25.2009 2:23am
Christopher M (mail):
whit, d00d, the era of being so scared about what other people act like is over. this isn't estrogenified masculinity, it's who gives a shit masculinity.
7.25.2009 2:27am
whit:
i got mad skillz at peeing in a gatorade bottle. when you are sitting in your car surveiling a house for hours on end, this is a necessary skill. i feel bad for the wimminz cops. not as easy for them. i think we need to provide them nasa type suits
7.25.2009 2:31am
Christopher M (mail):
i think we can agree on the usefulness of peeing in a gatorade bottle.
7.25.2009 2:54am
whit:

the era of beng so scared about what other people act like is over.


ah, the "fear canard". usually only shows up in gun control debates. thankfully. let's leave it there.
7.25.2009 4:50am
Alex22 (mail):
When I got married, my new wife attempted to do what her mother and sister had done - make their husbands sit down to piss.

I told her if she wanted to marry a woman she had missed her chance. It set the tone for years to come, and yes, the marriage is still standing, as am I.



Does your wife clean the toilets, asshole?
7.25.2009 7:54am
Still standing:

Does your wife clean the toilets, asshole?


Sometimes yes, sometimes no, if it makes you feel better. A bit grumpy this morning, no?
7.25.2009 9:34am
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
I usually sit at home and stand in public or outside. But I think this discussion is missing the real issue here:

How come there are no home urinals? Because that would be awesome.
7.25.2009 10:00am
Cornellian (mail):

I told her if she wanted to marry a woman she had missed her chance. It set the tone for years to come,


I'm sure it did.

and yes, the marriage is still standing, as am I.

I'm sure you believe that.
7.25.2009 10:09am
ASlyJD (mail):
Stormy,

The Dilbert Ultimate House had separate husband/wife closets and bathrooms off the master bedroom. The husband's bathroom actually had a urinal.

I imagine that it's just a rare enough idea that home builders don't think to incorporate it. My husband and I have decided that our dream house will have one. Three tomcats and a 6' husband entail a lot of urine cleaning at the Sly house.
7.25.2009 10:21am
ShelbyC:

and yes, the marriage is still standing, as am I.

I'm sure you believe that.


Yeah, cuz a guy can't be happily married if he stands to pee. Amazing the crap folks are spreading nowadays. At my house, I don't tell my wife how to pee, and she does me the same courtesy, and we get along just fine.
7.25.2009 10:39am
ShelbyC:

How come there are no home urinals? Because that would be awesome.


It's called the shower.
7.25.2009 10:40am
Levon (mail):

Does your wife clean the toilet's, asshole?

Toilets don't have assholes. Assholes have toilets.
7.25.2009 11:08am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
I believe this is what Alex referred to:

"I told her if she wanted to marry a woman she had missed her chance. It set the tone for years to come..."

instead of something like

"No, I won't sit down to pee, but I will clean up after myself."
7.25.2009 11:29am
ShelbyC:

"No, I won't sit down to pee, but I will clean up after myself."


Well, marriage is about sharing these types of things. When you share your life together you clean up after each other, cook for each other, support each other financially, etc, etc. And if you're lucky you do it without being told how to pee.
7.25.2009 11:46am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Oh yes, that's what marriage is about. "Wipe up my pee, woman."
7.25.2009 12:10pm
Toby:
My son got all sorts of complaints and wise cracks from my wife when growing up, until he went off to school and ti was revealed that the teenage girls were quite able to squirt under the seat. My wife did the complaining, but I did more of the toilet cleaning - what kind of sexist bastard thinks that men standing is a sexism issue because the little woman will have to clean up...

The real issue here is that the poor boy seems to have an overbearing mother trying to remove any sense of masculinity. Why - I don't know. Perhaps it is to remove all traces of the father. As he grows up, ashamed to be a man, apologizing for his existance, I'm sure he will be happy and adjusted....
7.25.2009 12:13pm
ShelbyC:

Oh yes, that's what marriage is about. "Wipe up my pee, woman."


Hopefully you realize it's about neither that nor, "Pee like a woman, man!" In fact, that's the whole point.
7.25.2009 12:14pm
mcbain:
Laura, women have annoying physical habits that men have to put up with too.
7.25.2009 12:16pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

The real issue here is that the poor boy seems to have an overbearing mother trying to remove any sense of masculinity.


Toby - and you base this on what? As stated, the father didn't voice a complaint until the mother wanted to claim the kids on her income tax.


Laura, women have annoying physical habits that men have to put up with too.


"Women"? Or "Some women, who see no need to mitigate the annoying effects that they might have on the men around them"?
7.25.2009 12:27pm
ShelbyC:

"Women"? Or "Some women, who see no need to mitigate the annoying effects that they might have on the men around them"?


Women. And God bless 'em for it.
7.25.2009 12:30pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Okay, Shelby. So what annoying physical habits do I have, that my husband has to put up with? Please do not include habits that he may have also, since we are discussing "women" and not "people".
7.25.2009 12:35pm
ShelbyC:
I would, of course, have to defer to your husband, there.
7.25.2009 12:42pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
I acquainted my husband with this thread just now.

He says that I have the annoying habit of actually being right most of the time. But I don't think that's a physical habit that he has to put up with.
7.25.2009 12:56pm
ShelbyC:
My wife has the same habit.
7.25.2009 12:57pm
innocentbystander (mail):
Please tell me I'm not the only grown man around here who sits to pee when sick, and thus weak, and when very tired (which includes those middle-of-the-night toilet treks.)
Except for such situations, the teen ought to stand on his own three legs.
7.25.2009 1:36pm
Putting Two and Two...:

what marriage is about


Since this isn't a gay-rights thread, we can dispense with the Absolute Truth that marriage is about reproduction. There, that's better. Now, on to reality. It's pretty apparent that marriage, like peeing, varies from household to household. Imagine that!

For some, it's about asserting manly superiority. For others, it's about accommodating reasonable requests aimed at more pleasant and less frequent clean-up chores. Or it's giving into nagging (that one could work either way). Or just perpetuating habits learned in childhood with nary a thought (also applies either way).
7.25.2009 1:58pm
Putting Two and Two...:

How come there are no home urinals? Because that would be awesome.


We're hoping to install at least one of these. Yes, I realize it's sleek, modern design will be just too metrosexual for some to consider using...
7.25.2009 2:03pm
exception:

We're hoping to install at least one of these.


One in each room!
7.25.2009 2:32pm
DallasMike424 (www):
I was born with a kink in my urethra just outside my bladder.

How many of you have a kinky urethra?

As a kid, I always came in last place (with yellow tennis shoes) in pissing contests.

When I was in mid-twenties, I went to pee and found out that I was blocked. I left and drove quickly to the nearest quack shack. My bladder was full and it was becoming quite painful.

The young doctor looked me over and asked me to give him a list of the men I had slept. I told it was a nice round number -- zero. He left the room and said he would be back a few minutes later. He came back in 10 minutes later and did the same routine.

Shortly after he came and left for the third time, I opened up the door, saw him yukking it up with the cute receptionist, ran out and slammed him against the wall, and told him he'd better &^$%# catheterize me ^@#$ now.

He tried to catheterize me and couldn't get past the kink. The doctor got really scared. I told him to get me to the hospital or I would yank his wanker off.

The ambulance came and I was still yelling at the doctor as they put me in.

The urologist at the hospital used a rubber-coated metal rod catheter and got 1.7 liters out of me.

25 years, several operations, and a stent implant later, I now proudly pee like a donkey.
7.25.2009 2:39pm
wooga:

I never thought I'd be discussing the physics of urination on Volokh, but if you have a method and process of suppressing splash that doesn't involve removing one's legs from the knee down or being born short, then good on you.


Start by hitting the sloped side of the bowl to deflect downward into the water without splashback. Once the surface tension of the bowl is broken, you can pee away into the center of the bowl.

What amazes me is that most guys don't have such dexterity with their piss. I have been known to start peeing 5 feet from a urinal, walk forward, and not spill a drop. Hooray for me! I should go on a talent show.
7.25.2009 3:12pm
Russ (mail) (www):
Peeing while standing.

Multiple orgasms.

Pick one, and stop complaining.
7.25.2009 3:17pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Well, marriage is about sharing these types of things. When you share your life together you clean up after each other, cook for each other, support each other financially, etc, etc. And if you're lucky you do it without being told how to pee."

Oddly enough, this is an excellent argument for same sex marriage. Two men or two women can agree how to pee and live accordingly, and apparently much better than two heteros.

Since David Chapman insists this isn't about being gay, then can someone, anyone, please explain to me what it IS about? If peeing sitting down is some sort of example of unmanliness, then what exactly is unmanliness? Womanly? Hermaphroditely? If you aren't 'man' enough to pee correctly, then what exactly does that make you?
7.25.2009 3:22pm
Anatid:
Randy-

You should be the first to appreciate that there can be little or no correlation between sexual orientation, gender identity, and relative masculinity and femininity (which are not mutually exclusive, a developing fetus can be both masculinized and feminized in biology and especially behavior).

Thanks,
7.25.2009 3:42pm
docweasel (mail) (www):
Well for one thing, a world of Euroweenie sitzpissers would ruin the old joke:

A man stands to do it
A woman does it sitting down
A dog does it on 3 legs
What is it?
7.25.2009 4:06pm
deepthought:

How come there are no home urinals? Because that would be awesome.

It's called the shower.


While George Constanza claims to be a "stall man," (see above) he apparently also enjoys using the shower. From The Wife:

. . .

JERRY: Hey, where's George? I thought he was with you.

ELAINE: I waited, he didn't show up. Anyway, this guy gave me an open-lip kiss.

Elaine and Jerry continue to talk about the open lip kiss.
The buzzer sounds, Elaine answers it.

. . . GEORGE (on intercom): Oh, uh...it's George.

ELAINE: Hey, what happened to you?

GEORGE (meekly): Nothing...little problem.

ELAINE: Well, what was it? I mean, I was waiting.

GEORGE: Can I come upstairs, please? (Elaine pushes the button and lets George in.)

ELAINE: I respect that. (George enters.) Mmm, what happened?

GEORGE: Nothing, I... said it was a little problem.

ELAINE: Yeah? What was it?

GEORGE (defensive): Well...I was in the locker room showering, and I...I had to go, so...

JERRY: Here we go.

GEORGE: Anyway, I think the guy in the shower opposite saw me. He gave me a dirty look.

ELAINE: You went...in the shower?

GEORGE: Yeah, so what? I'm not the only one! (Kramer enters with his quilt.)

ELAINE (to Jerry): Do you go in the shower?

JERRY: No, never.

ELAINE (to Kramer): Do you?

KRAMER: I take baths.

GEORGE: Well, what was I supposed to do? Get out of the shower, put on my bathrobe? Go all the way down to the other end? Come all the way back?

ELAINE: Ever hear of...holding it in?

GEORGE: Oh, no...no, that's very bad for the kidneys.

ELAINE: How do you know?

GEORGE: Medical journals!

JERRY: Do the medical journals mention anything about standing in a pool of someone else's urine?
7.25.2009 4:09pm
Still Standing:

I believe this is what Alex referred to:

"I told her if she wanted to marry a woman she had missed her chance. It set the tone for years to come..."

instead of something like

"No, I won't sit down to pee, but I will clean up after myself."


Never said I didn't, though maybe I should have. Of course I clean up after myself. I also forgot about how abrupt statements look in print when there's no vocal inflection to take the edge off.
7.25.2009 4:21pm
H. Bosch:

it will be hard to think of more positive of sitting down.


It will be hard to think of a better example of availability bias.

Anyhow: Facilitation of regular bowel movements for health reasons.

Nothing spectacular about the ability to pee standing up. I first started trying the other way when I read in the WSJ about a satanic cult in Iran that insisted on this (among other things) and after running a controlled experiment while living by myself. No matter how careful, you cannot prevent all splashage. And ... beer reduces care.
7.25.2009 4:36pm
Funeral Guy (mail) (www):
God gave men the ability to piss standing up. Women got the ability to have multiple orgasms. Wanna trade?
7.25.2009 5:41pm
yankee (mail):
Man who likes to sit down to pee: personal idiosyncrasy of no particular importance.

Father who gives a hissy fit about trivial idiosyncrasies: control freak who's likely to stifle his son's development. Good for the court of appeals.
7.25.2009 6:16pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
ShelbyC:

How come there are no home urinals? Because that would be awesome.

It's called the shower window.
7.25.2009 6:20pm
Putting Two and Two...:
25 years, several operations, and a stent implant later, I now proudly pee like a donkey.

Well, on all fours and out in a field sounds inconvenient, but I can see how it's an improvement.

Back to the kid. Maybe he's not sitting to pee. Maybe he's sitting to text.
7.25.2009 6:21pm
Common Sense:
This debate has gotten seriously off track. This isn't a discussion about sharing the housework, any made up correlation between urination and homosexuality, or anybody's perception about manliness. This is about the child's best interests.

There are certainly indications that this boy has serious self esteem issues and may be embarrassed or confused about who he is. His father, someone who presumably cares about his son's well being far more then anybody on this blog, is certainly concerned, and the fact that he is very shy and sits to pee suggests that, as the trial court found, the boy would be well served by having more time with a positive male role model.

Is there something wrong with sitting to piss in and of itself? Maybe not. But when a 15 year old male, who has been living with his mother and 2 sisters for 10 years does it, it at the very least creates a rebuttable presumption that more time with his father is beneficial.

Some have pointed out medical reasons why he may sit - if the boy is sick or injured then that is obviously another story. If, as the appellate court suggested, this was simply done as retaliation for the mother's seeking to use the tax exemptions, then again - we have rebutted the presumption. But lets remember, the trial court had a better opportunity to speak and interact with the parties, and found that more time with the father was in this child's best interest.

Again, there is nothing per se wrong with his behavior, the comments on this blog prove that a number of intelligent men utilize this method, but a look at all the facts suggest that the child was exhibiting non-normal behavior for a 15 year old boy, and as both the father and court found, more time with a positive male role model was in the boy's best interests.
7.25.2009 6:50pm
Norby (mail):
hell, when we first started drinking and attending house parties in our early 20's we started this little tradition of getting up on top of the house to pee off the edge of the roof in a great arcing stream --- it was called a "ceremonial". Besides, our whole neighborhood of suburbia every boy could write his name in the snow... to stand out, you had to learn how to print it in block letters.

the poor kid is going miss out on lots of fun if he can only sit down to pee.
7.25.2009 7:34pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
150 posts later, Common Sense prevails.
7.25.2009 7:39pm
Molon Labe (mail):

If you can't get it in the toilet consistently, then I suspect you've got some kind of problem.


Well on rare occasions it comes out in two streams. In that case, well, you just gotta pick one.
7.25.2009 7:50pm
come on sense (mail):
i pee standing up. it's called hygiene, people.
7.25.2009 11:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
"You should be the first to appreciate that there can be little or no correlation between sexual orientation, gender identity, and relative masculinity and femininity (which are not mutually exclusive, a developing fetus can be both masculinized and feminized in biology and especially behavior)."

I do. Apparently some people do not, however. To wit:

" But when a 15 year old male, who has been living with his mother and 2 sisters for 10 years does it, it at the very least creates a rebuttable presumption that more time with his father is beneficial. "

So, in other words, spending too much time being raised by women makes you act like a woman. Where the hell does anyone get an assumption that being raised by a woman would make any male more inclined to sit on a toilet? Where is the correlation? I guess Common Sense thinks that the boy somehow observes his mother and sister sitting on a toilet to pee and, against his normal inclinations, decides that this is way to do it. Spending time with his father will of course correct this 'abnormality'.

Of course, this is all BS. How exactly is standing while peeing more 'beneficial' than sitting? How exactly is it in the boy's best interests? Oh, of course, this has nothing to do with masculinity or homosexuality, so then what IS it about? No one will say.
7.26.2009 1:04am
Randy R. (mail):
I just explained this very weird blog item to my friend Robert, who has lived in Europe for many year, is totally straight, very masculine, and is from Canada. He states that he enjoys the occasional pee sitting on the pot. Furthermore, he attests to the normalcy of this practice among many european men. Moreover, he was raised by two parents, male and female. He has a healthy relationship with his girlfriend.

However, I'm sure people such as Common Sense would find that he, and all these european men, such as italians and greeks, are unmanly, unmasculine, and desparetely need the guidance of good male father figures.
7.26.2009 1:10am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Laura:

My wife asked me to pee sitting down. I said "no" and that was that. Sometimes, one has to stand up to one's spouses and heavens know my wife stands up to me on occasion.

Marriage isn't about giving up all bodily autonomy for men or for women. And all married folks are sometimes are sometimes annoyed with their spouses' habits. Yet hopefully once the yoke is fastened, both oxen learn to pull roughly in the same direction.
7.26.2009 1:24am
come on sense (mail):

Where the hell does anyone get an assumption that being raised by a woman would make any male more inclined to sit on a toilet?



I have heard that men who grow up with women pee blood sitting down once every 28 days or so. Is that true?
7.26.2009 1:25am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Common sense:
I agree with your points. However, it seems to me that the issue that the court had was the question of the standard to which the case had to be proved. A rebuttable presumption that more time with the father is beneficial does not amount to meeting the extraordinary burden of showing a substantial or material change of circumstance.

Of course if the court makes the bar too low, then it opens the matter up to literally endless litigation between divorcees. So this may be one case where the best interests of one child are not served, but the better interest of many others are.
7.26.2009 1:29am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

einhverfr (mail) (www):
Laura:

My wife asked me to pee sitting down. I said "no" and that was that. Sometimes, one has to stand up to one's spouses and heavens know my wife stands up to me on occasion.

Marriage isn't about giving up all bodily autonomy for men or for women. And all married folks are sometimes are sometimes annoyed with their spouses' habits. Yet hopefully once the yoke is fastened, both oxen learn to pull roughly in the same direction.


Well, sure. Still standing has clarified what he said: "Never said I didn't, though maybe I should have. Of course I clean up after myself. I also forgot about how abrupt statements look in print when there's no vocal inflection to take the edge off." So let me clarify what I saw in what he originally said he said, while acknowledging that he didn't mean it like that: It looked like his wife wanted him to sit down so that she wouldn't find herself on hands and knees periodically wiping up his pee from the floor, the wall, and the base of the toilet; and rather than to address her concern, he pretended that he thought she was trying to emasculate him in order to get her to shut up. If this was what happened (I accept that it was not after his clarification) then that's not both oxen learning to pull together.

How about if the wife says, "I don't want to crawl around wiping your pee up and I don't want to see it on the floor and the wall, etc. Sit to pee, clean up after yourself, whatever, but please find a way to fix that." Because that removes the issue from violating his bodily autonomy and moves her complaint to the effect it has on her, which is where it belongs. Of course, he can then say, "if it bothers you don't look at it," or start peeing off the back porch in view of the neighbors, and then they have deeper problems.
7.26.2009 1:50am
Zoe E Brain (mail) (www):
crunk - that opinion of yours is the best argument for lesbianism ever made.

Unfortunately, while we can control our actions, we can't control our attractions.
7.26.2009 8:19am
devil's advocate (mail):

Maybe they're just big readers...


Guilty as charged - indoors. But not in the woods for crying out loud -- and I live in the woods.

Only person in my life I ever heard make an issue of this was a gay organist (sorry, but sometimes life is stranger than fiction).

Despite the great joy I've had reading clever comments (including all the new nom de flume's, although I'm too lazy to go out and get sitzpinkle), and a feeling that there is some substance to the concerns expressed on the boy's behalf, the fact alluded to by those who have had the politeness to read the primary materials that this came up during arguments over who gets the tax exemption is pretty much dispositive in my mind. How important could it be to the father such that a change in custody would lead to an expected fix. And what are the dangers of giving custody to a parent apparently more concerned about the tax break than the child?

Obviously that is pushing the point, but this thread went off that cliff posts ago. . .

Brian

Brian
7.26.2009 10:39am
Connie:
Actually, Kohler makes a urinal for home use . . .
7.26.2009 11:52am
Toby:
As noted before, Common Sense wins

As to home urinals, suerprisingly, I have been thinking about them a lot this week. I heard a report last week, from, I believe, The Ohio State U, of research into an efficient hydrogen generation system, based upon urine. Hydrogen generation is the first step into hydrogen storage. More cost effective local energy storage is perhaps the single most important nut in sustainable energy, distributed energy resources, smart grid, renewable energy generation or whatever you wish to call that cluster of technogies.

The problem. of course, is that we typically dilute urine into a lot of water before flushing it away. If the approach in the report pans out, perhaps each home should have urinals to enable their storage system. Of course, this technology is sexist because it discriminates against single parent homes, particulalry if the mother is working out her reproductive partner angst by making sure her son does not act in stereotypically male ways..

But perhaps thsii is the beginning of the rehabilitation of the mans place at home. To have a sustainable home, perhps even a net zero energy home, you need someone to pee into the urinal regularly...

[And while the urine-hydrogen generator report is true, anyone who takes the rest of this post too seriously back away from the keyboard and go outside for a while.]
7.26.2009 12:38pm
I'm Just Sayin':
Throwing all perceptions of "manliness" to the side, the reality is that men in our society are expected to be comfortable with public urination and in fact nudity. Our bathroom spaces in public restrooms, for the most part, do not provide privacy. Furthermore, our public showers, for the most part, provide little if any privacy. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, male bonding activities (going to the game, working out at the gym, hiking, fishing, hunting, etc) frequently do not provide the level of privacy this kid currently requires. Whether that is good or bad seems like a personal view, but one thing is clear----if he continues down his current path, it will have far-reaching impacts on his ability to bond with other men. I don't think that is in his best interest.

Now, of course, the question remains whether increased exposure with his father will assist him in being more comfortable doing the things that men in our society are expected to do. I don't know the answer to this. However, I will say this----most of our social learning comes from modeling. In that regard, being around his father can't hurt. Furthermore, to the extent the kid is afraid for some reason, perhaps a closer relationship with his father would encourage him to talk it out. While he could certainly talk to his mother about it, boys prefer to talk to men about "boy things" in the same way that girls prefer to talk to women about "girl things." Finally, exposure to someone who places this kid within environments where this behavior is required is a good thing. There is no better way to get over the fear than to simply face it. I know I was not excited about the notion of public showers in middle school. However, it was required. I hated it. Now, it doesn't bother me. I am better for that.
7.26.2009 12:44pm
Common Sense:
I would like to address points raised by Randy R. and einhverfr.

First I agree with Randy that being raised by women does not make a boy more likely to "act like a woman." I would suggest that the vast majority of male children raised by single mothers are well adjusted and perfectly comfortable with themselves.

The problem appears to be with the relationship between this particular child and this particular mother. A number of commenters have suggested that this is a sign of an overbearing mother, and worse, may suggest that he is embarrassed or ashamed of who he is as a man. I fully agree with what Melancton Smith said above - "Not standing to pee isn't proof of a problem but it could be evidence of a problem"

This is where I wish we all had more facts. I found the appellate court decision on westlaw, but unfortunately the decision below is unreported. If the boy is in fact well adjusted and confident, then the fact that he sits to pee is completely irrelevant, and I am wrong to have criticized the appellate court. This is however, where I tend to defer to the family court judge who had a much better opportunity to observe the interaction between mother and son and conclude that he wasn't well adjusted, and cited this behavior not as a problem itself, but as "evidence of a problem."

To address einhverfr's point regarding the standard of proof required to modify a child custody agreement, he is absolutely right that it is a very high burden - "unforeseen material changes in circumstances." However, after 10 years of custody I would submit that a substantial decline in a child's self-confidence suggesting his well being may be at stake may meet this burden. Again, this is where I defer to the family court.

While we don't have the decision below, the appellate court did discuss the reasoning below


Instead, the trial court based its ruling on evidence that the father was more likely to ensure the child was engaged in productive, normal, and healthy extracurricular activities, and the child would benefit from a greater male influence in his life. The trial court concluded that the child's development was "disturbingly retarded." It went on to find that the child possessed unreasonable fears for his age, and had unmanlike" toilet behavior.


Factoring in the trial courts first hand observations and conclusions regarding the boy's emotional development, fears, and yes his "toilet behavior" I submit that the standards for modification of child custody were met, and the boy's best interests are served by having more time with his father.
7.26.2009 12:50pm
Toby:
I must note a mistake; it appears that the radio preport was wrong and that the report came out of Ohio U, not The Ohio State U.
7.26.2009 12:54pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
There's actually no evidence that the mother had anything to do with the kid's preference to sit instead of stand. He could have come up with that all by himself.

After the father has told the entire universe how his son is acting like a girl by being uncomfortable about peeing in front of him in the woods, I'm kind of surprised by some folks who seem to think that the son needs to spend more time with the father.

I also doubt seriously that for a man to desire a bit of privacy from other men when taking care of personal business is really that rare. If a man mentions it and others say that they think he's weird (whether they do think that, or think they're supposed to think it) then it's not surprising that you wouldn't know how often that's the case.

And finally, cosign Zoe. If I thought that being a non-emasculating woman meant I had to put up with a man calling me an idiot and telling me to shut up, I wouldn't put up with a man, period.
7.26.2009 1:17pm
Common Sense:
I completely agree with Laura's point - there is no evidence to suggest that the boy's behavior is the mother's fault. This is, once again, where the trial courts direct observations come into play, but you are absolutely right - sitting here we have no evidence of the cause.

Regarding the second point however, I respectfully disagree. The father raised an issue with the family/trial court, who did not publish their opinion. The mother then appealed, and it was the appellate court made its decision public. The father has an absolute responsibility to protect his child from something he believes (rightly or wrongly) is harmful to his child. A mother, similarly has an absolute obligation to fight to protect her child. If anybody made this public, it was the appellate court.
7.26.2009 1:30pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Laura:

How about if the wife says, "I don't want to crawl around wiping your pee up and I don't want to see it on the floor and the wall, etc. Sit to pee, clean up after yourself, whatever, but please find a way to fix that." Because that removes the issue from violating his bodily autonomy and moves her complaint to the effect it has on her, which is where it belongs.


Heck, I rebell at the idea I should put the toilet seat down after I pee. After six years, that is still not a rule in my marriage.

One issue not in your post though is that most of these issues have a great deal of give and take in a marriage. A woman has the right to ask any of these things, but the man has the right to decline the request. One hopes that eventually give and take leads somewhere equitable, but this only happens when both sides are able to negotiate in good faith.

Demands are not negotiation. Demands have no place in a marriage because they don't bring the parties closer together.
7.26.2009 2:42pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
einhverfr, did you see my hypothetical communication from the wife there as a demand or as a request?

Also, seems to me that in general, among non-disabled adults, the person who makes the mess ought to clean it up, or not make it in the first place. Commonly made messes like dishes can be alternated or swapped for other chores, of course. Now whether or not to tolerate some messes could be negotiated, but surely pee sprinkled around the toilet is very low on the list of messes that people should be expected to overlook. On the flip side of the emasculating wife demanding that her husband sit to pee, is the husband saying that he will make any mess he damned well pleases in the house he pays for*, and she can clean it up, leave it, or whatever.

As to putting the seat down - we have cats, and after about the third time you've had a cat run into the bathroom expecting to bounce off the seat onto the lavatory, and miss entirely and dump itself into the toilet, said angry wet cat to run through the house knocking into things because it's mad, in the middle of the night, you see the wisdom of keeping not just the seat, but the lid down. Solves both problems.

* Was going to reference Crunk's comment here, but it's gone.
7.26.2009 3:38pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Laura:

It would depend on tone of voice. Suppose the man simply says, "So don't clean it up. The bathroom really only needs to be cleaned once a week anyway and we can take turns. You cleaned it yesterday so I will clean it a week from yesterday." Seems reasonable from a man's point of view, but not from a most women's....

Or suppose the man says he will clean it up but the wife never feels it is up to her standards.

The fact is that one can't really judge from the text you provided whether there is room for negotiation or not.
7.26.2009 5:20pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Also this point is fair:


As to putting the seat down - we have cats, and after about the third time you've had a cat run into the bathroom expecting to bounce off the seat onto the lavatory, and miss entirely and dump itself into the toilet, said angry wet cat to run through the house knocking into things because it's mad, in the middle of the night, you see the wisdom of keeping not just the seat, but the lid down. Solves both problems.


We have a small kid who we dont want to play in the toilet (obviously). I don't object to putting the lid down at all. I do object to all accomodation being one way. If I am asked to put the seat down, I ALWAYS put the lid down too. I agree it solves a lot of problems, and it is quite far to both parties, since it affects both equally.
7.26.2009 5:23pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

The bathroom really only needs to be cleaned once a week anyway and we can take turns. You cleaned it yesterday so I will clean it a week from yesterday." Seems reasonable from a man's point of view, but not from a most women's....


The reasonableness probably would depend on the volume of spillage.


Or suppose the man says he will clean it up but the wife never feels it is up to her standards.


Ah, the critical-wife motif. Yesterday I parked the car in a fairly large parking lot with exactly one other car in it. My spouse was irritated because, while I was within the lines on both sides, I was not exactly centered in the space. I offered him my keys to fix it himself, at which point he decided it was probably OK. I've let him finish washing the dishes before when he didn't think I was doing it right. I don't know where the hyper-criticism comes from, unless it's stress, but I have stress of my own and could do without it. If a person makes a good-faith effort to do whatever-it-is and the other person criticizes it, and the first person reevaluates and decides that the other person really is being unreasonable, then the person is justified in ignoring the criticism or inviting the other person to do a rework, IMO. Good-faith doesn't mean doing a half-ass job or breaking things so as to be let off the hook for doing the job, of course. The partner's criticism itself doesn't let the person off the hook of continuing to do a good-faith job - I don't park cross-ways in the parking lot, or put dishes in the drain with soap bubbles still on them if I am aware of it.

Really, I think problems are caused when one person wants to make damn sure he or she isn't having to do one iota more than he or she feels is his or her fair share; or, worse, when he or she feels justified in finding a way to not do even that. And no one likes the feeling of being taken advantage of.
7.26.2009 5:57pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Laura:

Ah, the critical-wife motif.


My wife is so critical of how I clean that she won't LET me clean up anything. Heck, if she walks in and sees me changing a diaper, she sometimes freaks out (not that I mind changing diapers mind you, but I DO mind being told to hand over the process half-way through because my job isn't good enough so given the choice I let her have her way and let her change all the diapers). I suspect critical-of-how-the-husband-cleans-the-house is far more common than critical-of-everything.

Nor am I saying my wife is critical about everything I do. It is limited to a few specific areas, so if she wants, she can clean the house if my efforts aren't good enough for her. And I can do some other things if her efforts aren't good enough for me.

However, my original point was that the husband and wife might have VERY different standards of what is clean enough. Who gives? Why?


Yesterday I parked the car in a fairly large parking lot with exactly one other car in it. My spouse was irritated because, while I was within the lines on both sides, I was not exactly centered in the space.


Sure. It goes both ways. I don't worry about how my wife parks, but there are other things that tend to tick me off. For example, I have to handle a lot of the discipline of the kids because she gets sucked into fights with them when she tries it. But hey, usually after a bit of head-butting, things settle down into something which is a modicum of fairness and which both parties can live with.

Two simple rules that avoid a lot of problems:
1) Whoever does the work gets to decide how the work is done.
2) If the other person's efforts aren't good enough, do the work yourself the first time and save you both the grief.

We both have high standards in cooking and we both enjoy eachothers cooking to a large extent. But there are certain things where each of us does better to take control and just do the job without involving the other person.
7.26.2009 6:38pm
Randy R. (mail):
I recall reading an article many years ago that discussed the issue of shyness of men in public. Turns out that it isn't all that uncommon -- an inability to actually pee when another person is nearby.

So we have two questions that need to be addressed:

1) Is this actually a common problem, and
2) Whether men who are shy suffer from any other problems.

As no one has the qualifications or credentials to speak of this up to now, then we have to assume that there are many people who have this issue, and that it has no discernable effect on their lives. Furthermore, no one has actually defined what 'manly' behavior is, other than the dubious reasoning of saying manliness is defined as men who pee standing up.

If the trial court did not entertain any such evidence, it has no competence to issue any decisions on this matter.

"Not standing to pee isn't proof of a problem but it could be evidence of a problem." Sure, it could be evidence of a problem. Playing video games could also be evidence of a problem, so could playing basketball. ANY thing could be evidence of a problem. In the absence of any evidence of any sort that peeing standing up is any more of a problem other than it bothers some men, there is simply no basis for your concern.

If you have any basis, please offer it, but I've been asking for while, and no one will offer any.
7.26.2009 7:03pm
Randy R. (mail):
Having done a search on the internet, I could find no evidence at all on how a boy 'should' pee, standing or sitting, and whether it's a problem. Sure, many parents gave their opinions, but that's not evidence of any problems.

What is clear is that potty training is the job of the parent, and that if you want your son to do it standing up, you have to teach him to do that. Potty training, as we should know, takes place around 2-3 years of age.

So, if the father really cared about how his son pees, then he should have taught him that about 12-13 years ago. Evidently, he didn't do it when he had the chance.

If the father wants to assign any blame, then it should go on himself, not his son. Since there is no evidence that the son has any other problems related to this particular issue, and it's a concern only to the father, then I would suggest that the father drop the issue and focus on more important issues, which would include the fact that the son really doesn't seem to be around the father.
7.26.2009 7:16pm
I'm Just Sayin':
Randy R:

Do you really believe "pee shyness" has no discernable effect on a person's life? I think you should ask one of the people in this conversation who admitted to having it. I bet that person believes it has a discernable effect everytime he/she needs to use the bathroom in public. Assuming the person is a male, I imagine that is all the worse, given that men's rooms frequently lack nearly every form of privacy.

Now, imagine that the shyness is moderate to extreme. Do you think the individual would forego social engagements on the basis that the restrooms were insufficient? Would that be healthy? This kid's life could be limited in a number of ways just because of this rather small issue.

All of that being said, I agree with you on one point: dear ole dad should have noted this earlier.
7.26.2009 8:02pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
There's no "fair" in relationships, only what works for the particular individuals.
7.26.2009 8:34pm
DeezRightWingNutz:

Some the have the problem of being waaay more hung than most guys and not appreciating the stares.


Wouldn't this be more of a problem when sitting? I mean, unless you don't mind pissing underwater.

Also, you guys must have had way fewer drunken escapades and hangovers than I've had. Either that, or you have better equilibrium, because I can definitely appreciate the steady base a nice porcelain seat provides when the room is spinning and you need to piss.
7.26.2009 9:54pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

This kid's life could be limited in a number of ways just because of this rather small issue.


It's pretty inconvenient not to be able to "go" in less than optimum circumstances. I was like this myself as a teenager. I grew out of it completely by adulthood, probably because no one was calling it to my attention and shaming me about it.
7.26.2009 10:07pm
Ummm:
Do you really believe "pee shyness" has no discernable effect on a person's life?

So what do you suggest? This boy be dragged to court over it because obviously it's something to do with his parents and couldn't possibly be just a personal thing not even related to his mother, right? ALL phobias develop because of your parents. And the most obvious thing couldn't be that this is a typical bitter divorced couple using the courts and their kids as pawns in a game to hurt each other and "one up" each other.

There must be some deep psychological scarring to this child not from that, not from his father using something so ridiculous as his son's comfort level with peeing outside and bringing such a personal thing into court records and thus the entire internet (which I'm sure none of his teen buddies use. if the kid wasn't being made of fun of before, I'm sure his father who is so concerned over his child's psychological well being fixed that), but some wildly assumed sexist baseless accusation of it being his mother doing something bad to him because he doesn't want to piss in a bush.

"Pee shyness" is very common. When this became a sign of bad parenting I'd love to know. I have it as well and I had the most "normal" upbringing I can imagine and I love my parents. This is just another abuse of the courts and abuse of children through them. What does a parent who is actually concerned about his child do if he thinks his urination phobia is a problem? Sue his mother over it of course! Oh, but only when it involves her taxes. Makes perfect loving sense on his behalf. Please.
7.26.2009 10:17pm
Anatid:
"ALL phobias develop because of your parents."

Wait, are you joking?

The common consensus in psychology right now is that phobia formation is overactivation of a genetically-predisposed fear (such as snakes, spiders, blood, or heights) common to all primates and/or the result of powerful and negative experience with the object of phobia (such as phobia of dogs after being bitten as a child). While primates have the ability to activate genetic fears by observing another primate appear afraid, as well as the ability to learn about dangers in the environment in general by observing others, these generally are not as powerful as phobias nor are they restricted to parents.
7.26.2009 10:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
Just sayin: "Do you really believe "pee shyness" has no discernable effect on a person's life?"

I don't know. And of course neither do you. Unless you have some actual evidence that it does, there is simply no argument here.

Furthermore, there is no evidence at all that the boy had any issues with his pee shyness. It was his father who had the problem. IF they boy was asking for help, I might inclined to agree with you. But if the boy doesn't have a problem with sitting on the toilet, why should you have a problem with how he pees?
7.26.2009 11:37pm
AlanDownunder (mail):
This blog is not ideal territory so assert that the old ways are not the best ways, and I certainly won't be winning any pissing contests here by acclaim, but y'all should check out Alexander Kira's The Bathroom.

In it, he demonstrates that even the accurate and coherent-seeming streams spray lots of minute droplets. And I'll wager that those whose manhood is most invested in standing urination are the least likely to be cleaning up after themselves.

Do yourself and your wife/housecleaner a favour and sit to urinate - unless you have a purpose-designed urinal.
7.27.2009 12:07am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
AlanDownunder:


Do yourself and your wife/housecleaner a favour and sit to urinate - unless you have a purpose-designed urinal.


Or better yet, piss outside like my brother-in-law (good thing he has a fenced back yard)!

Look, I don't mind cleaning things. My wife pretty much refuses to let me actually, say, clean the floor because she doesn't like the way I do it. Not that there is anything wrong with the way I clean but it doesn't fit her sense of order. If figure if she wants the control, she can do the work (that is a good rule and really does go both ways).

One interesting thing about toilets is that they do emit aerosols of whatever are in them when flushed. This is why bathroom walls start looking gross after a while if not cleaned. Unfortunately closing the lid doesn't entirely solve the problem either, but rather contains it until someone comes to open it and gets a blast of toilet-water-aerosol to the face. So in the end, I am not entirely sure that it is significant enough to worry about. Nor would I be certain that urunals would necessarily emit less backsplash, etc. than toilets.
7.27.2009 1:02am
Toby:
Ahh backsplash.

Back in the days when there were home economics departments, there was plenty of cleaning research. Not surprisingly, it often does not match the cartoons

Flushing a toilet creats an aerosol more than a yard around a toilet, as measured with white paper on the ground and red dye in the tank. New high-pressure "efficient" toilets can spray much further. Guys can get a bad rap merely by doubling the number of flushes. With pandemic flue in my area, I find myself avoidign the "efficient bathrooms" with their miasma of back-splash from the new fixtures.

Putting the lid down before flushing reduces but does not eliminate this effect, as noted above. Any defender of the cleanr, whoever it may be in the house, should e a strong advocate of keeping the lid down. If not, then they are merely indulging in domestic barratry.
7.27.2009 7:04am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
The aerosol is generated during the flushing process. An aerosol is a suspension of tiny droplets, so it will subside due to gravity given time. Unless you flush, and immediately lift the toilet lid while leaning way over it, you won't get a face full of aerosol.

Also, missed this:


Leo Marvin (mail):
There's no "fair" in relationships, only what works for the particular individuals.


That's true, but what works for the particular individuals has to work for BOTH individuals, not one individual who then bullies the other into accepting it. And that goes both ways.
7.27.2009 8:15am
I'm Just Sayin':
Ummm:

If you read carefully, I never said anything about bad parenting. Particularly, I never said the mother was doing anything wrong. I did, however, indicate that the boy might be more inclined to talk to his father about "boy issues," and thus, that could be a reason that increased exposure to his father would be beneficial.

I have also agreed that I think dear ole dad's motives in this lawsuit are questionable (at best). Nonetheless, that doesn't make the issue any less of a problem. Given that you suffer from the condition yourself, I would imagine you would be best able to discern the negative effects such a condition could have on one's life.
7.27.2009 10:29am
I'm Just Sayin':
Randy R:

Do a search on the internet for "pee shyness." I think you will find that people who suffer from the condition do in fact experience negative fallout in their lives. In fact, there are whole support groups for it. That, without more, is sufficient evidence for me. As to whether this particular kid sees it as a problem, that is a nonissue. Children often don't see a variety of things as problems. That is why having involved, caring parents is so important.
7.27.2009 10:33am
Mordecai:
EV, you totally asked for this.
7.27.2009 11:07am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
"I did, however, indicate that the boy might be more inclined to talk to his father about "boy issues," and thus, that could be a reason that increased exposure to his father would be beneficial."

In this case, the boy evidently is not inclined to talk to his father about boy issues. I don't blame him.
7.27.2009 11:12am
I'm Just Sayin':
Laura:

Perhaps that is from lack of exposure.
7.27.2009 12:04pm
CCTrojan:
I am surprised by how many men have had their wives try to tell them how to pee. It hasn't come up in my marriage, something for which I am now very grateful.

I also wonder if the wives who are so concerned about toilet spash have ever raised any children. I would think splashing urine would move way down on the priority list once a todler has smeared his feces in the refrigerator and barfed in the clothes drawer.
7.27.2009 12:28pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
I'm just sayin', we don't have enough evidence here to determine whether the son is uncomfortable peeing in front of his father b/c he lacks sufficient exposure to his father, or whether his father is a jerk. If the former, then he would benefit from being with his father more, and if the latter, then he wouldn't. Or of course, he could be a naturally modest person (yes, modesty is not confined to women) and it wouldn't matter either way.

CCTrojan, you have a point, but if the family includes children who have messy bathroom habits, the husband could at least refrain from making it worse.
7.27.2009 1:13pm
ShelbyC:
Leo Marvin:

It's called the shower window.


Lol kind of a bummer when the windows is too clean and looks closed...
7.27.2009 1:49pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Laura:


That's true, but what works for the particular individuals has to work for BOTH individuals, not one individual who then bullies the other into accepting it. And that goes both ways.


Agreed. And I will admit that the initial comment that set this off was open to that interpretation. However, another interpretation is that folks in a marriage need a fair bit of control over how they do things. When the other partner (happens for both men and women) is being told both to do something and how to do it, this creates unnecessary stress.

Once again, the way I clean floors REALLY bothers my wife for no good reason that I can see. I clean small linoleum or tile floors the way I was taught to clean large floors when doing a little janatorial work (very wet mop quickly once over, followed by a much drier mop to mop up the water). Saves a lot of time, gets floors nice and clean. But it really, really annoys my wife for no reason she can articulate.

Consequently she cleans the floors. She knows that if she asks me to do it, I WILL do it my way. So since she is not OK with that, she won't ask me to do it.
7.27.2009 1:53pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
einhverfr, if I were you I'd let my wife clean the floors too.

(You don't wait until she asks you, do you - if the floor looks to you like it needs mopping you just do it, right?)

When my daughter was born the hospital gave us some magazines, "American Baby", things like that. One of them advised mothers not to take on the role of "expert" b/c that sets them up to have to do everything. That made a lot of sense to me. So when my husband asked how we probably ought to do so-and-so, or what we should do about such-and-such I deliberately said, "I don't know, what do you think?" He could put her shirts on inside out or backwards and I didn't say a word - he'd spot it eventually and fix it. If I thought he put her diaper on in such a way that it would leak, ditto - I thought he'd figure it out. Actually, he helped quite a bit with the care of his sister who is 10 years younger than he is, so he probably knew more about all of that than I did.

I let one of my delicate blouses get into the general laundry by accident, and discovered that after he washed it he set up the drying rack and arranged it on there to dry nicely; the label had said to "dry flat" and, smart person that he is, he figured that out.

So I don't get the hypercriticism for two reasons: it annoys the hell out of the partner, and makes more work for the criticizer. But, whatever.
7.27.2009 2:15pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Laura:

(You don't wait until she asks you, do you - if the floor looks to you like it needs mopping you just do it, right?)


Got in trouble for doing that a couple times. Don't do it anymore. I spot clean occasionally but that is the extent of it.

Same basic pattern with diaper changing.


So I don't get the hypercriticism for two reasons: it annoys the hell out of the partner, and makes more work for the criticizer. But, whatever.


Agreed there.
7.27.2009 3:44pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Laura,

There's no "fair" in relationships, only what works for the particular individuals.

That's true, but what works for the particular individuals has to work for BOTH individuals, not one individual who then bullies the other into accepting it. And that goes both ways.

I thought that was implicit in my comment. Obviously things have to work in the aggregate for both individuals, or one opts out. As for bullying, many people, based on an emotional/psychological calculus I find neither healthy nor desirable, prefer being bullied to ending the relationship. Which brings us back to the ugly truth that, social norms notwithstanding, for those people, in the context of everything else in their relationships, being bullied works.

In extreme cases we may step in and decide someone's willingness to endure some behavior relies on such a flawed ego, we won't allow it to continue. But that doesn't mean that person's priorities (or their partner's behavior) can necessarily be rehabilitated, or that the most satisfying relationship for both might not be the one we find intolerable.

The optimal balance for a satisfying relationship between asserting our needs and desires and accepting the flaws of others simply can't be normed. "Right" and "wrong" are essential concepts for teaching children and writing laws. For relationships, the one that matters is "compatible."
7.27.2009 6:36pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
"many people, based on an emotional/psychological calculus I find neither healthy nor desirable, prefer being bullied to ending the relationship."

We are going far afield now. I hope one of the VC people will say something if we are getting on their nerves.

I agree with the above statement, but I suspect that many more people aren't happy being bullied; on the whole they prefer to stay in the relationship rather than leave it, but they'd really like the bullying to stop. They just don't know how to make it stop. And the other person might not mean to be overbearing but they've never had to confront what they are doing. If you ask that person, the relationship is working.

I internalized a long time ago that no one is a mindreader. I may have to ask my husband if my way of doing something is actually causing a problem or hurting anything; he says no, I say fine, and I go about my business. Or, as stated above, invite him to fix things to his satisfaction, or flat out tell him to stop critiquing everything I do. I've come to realize over time that a lot of people just aren't comfortable with direct communication. For whatever reason.

To come full circle to this hapless 15-year-old - if he was an adult and his father's peer, and the father sneered at his unmanliness, he could tell him something like "if it bothers you, don't watch." Or "I don't understand how the way I pee affects you at all." A child cannot talk that way to his parent. Which is probably why, in Ephesians 6, right after "children obey your parents," it says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children."
7.27.2009 7:44pm
AlanDownunder (mail):
For einhverfr, an equation:

pee (misses + aerosol) + flush aerosol > flush aerosol

Nevertheless I do acknowledge that some things can be way more important that rationality or commonsense.
7.27.2009 8:02pm
Anatid:
Laura and Leo:

Beyond cases more extreme than one partner simply being overbearing, there's actually a dearth of literature on the specific factors that cause one to remain in a bullied/abusive relationship. It's depressingly Freudian: the type of attachment a child has with their primary caregiver (usually the mother) in the first few years of life will predict with ~80% accuracy the types of relationships the child with enter as an adult. In the cases that someone in an abusive relationship does leave their partner, they usually wind up in yet another abusive relationship, seeking the same personality type as before.

The 20% who do change are the admirable and miraculous few, but the sad fact is that the majority don't. It's like they always told you: don't enter a relationship expecting to be able to change or "fix" the other person.

I can go into more detail on the specific mechanisms of how this works and cite some papers you might be interested in, but I'm reluctant to go any more off-topic in this thread. Let's just say that psych research is depressingly deterministic these days. (By interviewing a pregnant mother, you can also predict with ~80% accuracy what her child will be like. It's scary.)
7.27.2009 9:09pm
Oliver Clozoff (mail):
I was at the home of a single mother of two boys, aged about 8-12, working on a class project with two other students. I had to use the bathroom where I found a large threatening sign over the toilet which read, "You sit when you pee, or your ass belongs to me!"

The bathroom was right off the room where we were working, and it had a cheap hollow-core door, so I knew she could hear me in there. Besides that, the shag cover on the lid was so thick the seat would not stay up by itself. I waited about 45 seconds, flushed the toilet, turned on the faucet, and pissed in the sink.

I really felt sorry for those kids being raised by that man-hating bitch. Too bad they weren't there. I would have told them the trick.
7.28.2009 12:13am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Oliver, so based on that sign, the backstory of which you did not know, you felt qualified to read that woman's mind and heart, pass judgment on her as a human being, and punish her for displeasing you by urinating in her sink? Wow.
7.28.2009 9:09am
Johnny Knuckles (mail) (www):
You can't win a pissing contest sitting down.
7.28.2009 3:01pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
OK, going in the sink is wrong, but so are those covers that prevent the seat from staying up on its own. Ironically, they're also no friend to good aim, something any man knows who's used his knee to keep the seat up.
7.28.2009 4:38pm

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