110320091025 Here’s something half-baked: In the UK, urinals in the gents (God, I can’t wait to be home and to stop having to ask for the mens room or restroom!) flush themselves on a timing mechanism so that (as long as it’s working) it gets washed out every few minutes. Here in the US, there are two types of flush that I’ve seen: a manual knob (as in the picture) or else an automatic one based on a sensor which causes it to flush when you walk away.

I don’t know what this says about our respective cultures, if anything at all, or what point you could use it to make, but I thought it might live in the analogy library until someone could work out how to use it for good or for evil.

And don’t get me started on the lack of soundproofing in the sit down loos or the ones that flush as soon as you stand up.

6 thoughts on “urinals”

  1. randomly landed on your blog and it sounded good so i gave it a quick read, one thing confused me though…

    “God, I can’t wait to be home and to stop having to ask for the mens room or restroom!” You can say anythign you like in the UK for the toilet (crapper, shitter, bog, gents, loo ect…)

    Is strange you should say that though as in the UK always been told that in America you have to ask for the restroom not the toilet or gents!

    oh well,
    Alex, UK

  2. haha! hi alex, yes, I’m british but over in Austin TX for SXSWi – these are observations on american “restrooms” from a UK point of view. Thanks for dropping by and I’m sorry to confuse you…

  3. From a cross-cultural point of view, the American urinal is stupid. They’re either too low, too small or a mess. The flushing mechanisms are all wonky. The closest thing we get to proper urinals is the troughs which can be found in some places, but that’s a bit like pissing in a gutter raised two feet off the ground.

    We American’s have also never figured out how to install toilets in bars which are worth a damn. Now, the standard cattle-grate situation in a pub is well worth the trip to the loo. No matter how pissed you are, there is little chance of dousing yourself, your neighbor, or the hostelry with gallons of re-cycled bitter.

  4. There’s a whole load (fnarrgh, fnarrgh, geddit?!?) of cultural weirdness around toilets. Like the American style of having 500 gallons of water in the bowl, which is then sucked away in a whirlpool that will take your eardrums with it if there isn’t adequate ventilation in the room to relieve the pressure differentials… Oh, and why are their cubicle walls always 30cm high and 1m off the ground?

  5. I always try to use a manual knob where ever possible. I find the automated ones get wee down your trousers!!

  6. What got me in Austin was the scarcity of doors on cubicles in the “rest rooms” of most of the cities bars! Call me an inhibited Brit, but I like a bit of privacy when sitting on the loo.

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