Men should use the urinals

By Mark Dietzel

Every day, when I drive home from school or work, I pass an electronic sign offering a different kind of cautionary advice. It typically says “PLEASE CONSERVE WATER” or “NO WATERING WITHIN 48 HOURS OF RAIN EVENT.”

As many Californians have done, I have dutifully followed the glowing yellow dictum of the road sign and cut back on anything I do that involves precious water. Showers? Down to five minutes and replaced the head with a low flow. Laundry? Only full loads (which requires extra planning). Ditto for the dishwasher. Outside watering? Only the barest minimum to keep the trees alive. Washing my car? Every other week. I do these things because I do not want times to become desperate enough where we all have to pull a Bear Grylls and drink our own urine for survival.

Speaking of urine, I have also become one of those people who only flush when the solid duties are present in the porcelain bowl. For some, this is extreme, but I keep the bathroom, kitchen and shower impeccably clean in my own “tinge of OCD” manner, which I hope will diminish those expressions of disgust directed my way.

In the public domain, we have a wondrously convenient alternative. There are these wonderful inventions “for men anyway ” called urinals. They are easily wall-mounted, speed up wait times in the restroom immensely and foster awkward conversation while another guy unloads next to you.

These benefits aside, they also use far less water than a standard toilet, helping out with the drought.

In April 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order mandating that toilets only use 1.28 gallons per flush and urinals no more than 0.125 gallons per flush. These numbers, coupled with the fact that humans tend to pee more often than we poo, mean much greater water savings.

Yet, whenever I am in a public restroom, many men make a beeline straight for a stall instead of using the urinal. Perhaps these guys have something more “dense” to dispose of, but the sound of a steady stream often arises moments later, dispelling this theory. The subsequent flush of a bowl full of water after a quick “number one” is disheartening, to say the least.

What’s the matter, guys? Considering all the other sacrifices Californians make every day to help out with the drought, why can we not use the urinal instead? It is awkward letting loose with other guys next to you in the open; I get it. But are there not greater concerns at stake here?

I think we can all stomach a less private experience and bear with some stilted conversation about the weather or sports for the sake of saving water. Even better, I see so many guys with headphones on all the time; you don’t even have to worry about being self-conscious because they are off in their own musical wonderland anyway. I have even seen guys standing in front of urinals totally hands off to the task at hand because their hands are busy tapping away on a touch screen. So unless the guy is trying to angle the phone in your direction, you have nothing to worry about.

I may be the crazy guy who does not flush his toilet at home unless I need to, but that does not mean other guys have to be. Public restrooms have these convenient water-saving alternatives to normal toilets, which require virtually no extra effort to use. All men have to do is put up with a little discomfort for the sake of helping save everyone from the post-apocalyptic future where Bear Grylls teaches us how to distill liquor from urine.

Will this one act of wall-mounted heroism save us all from the terrible drought? Probably not, but the point is that every little bit helps, and if all of us guys work together on this one, it will make a dent in the bigger problem.

The next time someone brags about not washing his or her car for three months, you can tell him or her that you just saved hundreds of gallons by switching to the urinal.


Jairo Pineda / The Poly Post

Men’s restroom

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