By Daniel Guerrero
The male bathrooms at Granada Hills Charter (GHC) do not offer much privacy. The majority of them have more urinals than stalls, and those urinals do not have dividers. There is also often a smaller urinal that most guys avoid. Urinals are a strange phenomenon.
“I usually use the corner urinals, so no one can see my front. I only use the small urinal if I have to, but the thing is that it is so low. Also, sometimes people look around. You talk to them, but I need to focus on urinating,” senior Bryan Jimenez said.
Focus is important in urinal usage. Although the shape of a urinal means that we can aim from whatever direction works, urinal usage is an uncomfortable situation due to the proximity to one another. Eyes tend to drift in such tight spaces, which leads to unintentional glances at the surrounding people, which is against the rules.
There are certain unspoken rules of using the urinal. First, always leave a gap between yourself and the person in the adjoining urinal. Never choose a urinal directly next to someone else if there are other urinals available. If possible, never use the middle urinal, only the one at the far end of the bathroom. Second, never talk to other people in the bathroom. Lastly, never ever look around. Focus directly on your own urinal only.
“It’s very awkward because if people are on both sides, you have to concentrate on both peeing and looking directly in front of you at the same times. Sometimes loud kids come in and it can be hard to not turn to look,” junior Aidan Fountaine said.
According to VICE Media, 91 percent of 3 million surveyed men chose to urinate on a urinal furthest away from the middle to avoid creating an uncomfortable environment.
Moreover, the use of urinals in the restroom leads some men to develop paruresis, or shy bladder syndrome, a social anxiety disorder that makes people fear being judged by others whenever they are using public restrooms. However, studies have shown that this is more prominent in men because of urinals.
According to the International Paruresis Association, Inc., 90 percent of men suffer from “stage fright.” However, this number would significantly decrease with a little more privacy.
Urinals also make us feel uncomfortable because of the possibility of splash back due to proximity to the urinal itself. You also have to make sure to be close to the urinal to provide maximum privacy. This makes it for an inconvenient situation because droplets of urine can spread on your clothing in an embarrassing fashion.
So really, can’t we just get a little more privacy? Even without eliminating urinals altogether, installing some dividers between them would prevent all of these situations almost entirely. We wouldn’t feel the need to second-guess ourselves or stress themselves out for utilizing the restroom.