I’ve been planning my toilet speech all day and it occurs to me that the perfect time to deliver it is right now while the boys are brushing their teeth because they’ll be able to act on my advice almost immediately after leaving the bathroom for their bedtime pit-stop.
My plan is to keep it short and simple and to deliver on some key points – slow down, take aim, lock your eyes on the bottom of the bowl, keep your hips still, do not lose focus until the last drop has fallen – so that I don’t start fluffing about, as usual, and take a more round-about route.
I let Maki play with his toothbrush after finishing his teeth and time my run perfectly by starting on Tyson’s molars just as Lewis and Archie start on theirs. I now have two minutes while their mouths are occupied to deliver my speech uninterrupted…
‘I’m not saying peeing into the toilet bowl is easy because it’s clearly not. Penises are unpredictable and hard to control and you’ve only had a few years to work yours out. So I’m not angry about the constant spillage at all… I am a tad over peeling urine stained socks off my feet but I know how tough it can be to hold a steady stream. A tiny five millimetre movement in your penis and the stream can climb several centimetres up the side of the bowl. I know because I’ve measured it. God, when I was a kid I sprayed urine like a marmot. It used to drive your Gran insane and I’d get angry at her in return but do you know what? I credit her relentlessly pointing out the mess on the floor and the walls for my current 80/20 strike rate because I still can’t go to the toilet without hearing my Mum’s voice. Take your time it says, don’t start until you’re right over the bowl, it says don’t turn away as you shake yourself it screams, over and over. But there are still so many things that can go wrong. Like when you’re lost in the virtual world of Minecraft, for example, going to the toilet can be a massive real world inconvenience, so you keep holding off and holding off and then you’re urinating as soon as you open the toilet door, attempting to loop that first burst into the bowl like a basketballer shooting from the three point line with only seconds left on the clock. And even when you do get there with plenty of time to spare there are still so many variables. You have to take into account your wee-force – which can change from visit to visit – because there’s always the potential for the splashback to rise right over the rim and pockmark the floor tiles like a Jackson Pollock painting. And how about foreskins? Most boys these days have them and I don’t want to get into any debates about the ethics of circumcision except to say that your Mum and I opted to leave the four of you intact because I didn’t get circumcised until I was 19 – it was my choice – and so we thought it would also be good for you guys to decide for yourself when the time was right but, hey, that was before I had the four of you urinating the paint off the toilet walls so I’m on the fence about it now… but maybe that’s a discussion for another day. Point is, there’s no doubt that wrinkly bit of skin makes the task of hitting the bullseye much more difficult. In fact it makes it almost impossible. There, I said it. For example, if your foreskin’s mashed against you undies in a u-shape for hours you’ll find yourself urinating straight up in the air, frozen in a mindless panic, as it slowly unwinds itself to slash a line down the middle of the cistern like you’re some mediaeval swordsman. And, for that very reason, I have to recommend that you pull the foreskin back before you wee but… man… I also know it’s a real a hassle to have to do that. It shouldn’t be such a big deal, should it? To take that extra second to unsheathe? But it’s yet another thing to add to the growing list of toilet pressures placed on men. And, God, now that I’m on to my “sexism inherent in the toilet bowl” schtick… at some stage in your life you will be drawn into the debate, generally by women, about whether men should sit down to urinate. I am dead against it. It’s an attack on freedom and is actually kind of sexist. Would you tell a cow to ruminate with only one of its four stomachs? Would you tell a bird it has to climb the tree to get to its nest? Of course not. What’s the point of having this amazing, wondrous, extra special appendage if you can’t enjoy one of the major advantages it offers of standing up to relieve yourself without lowering your pants? It’s a suggestion borne of an extremist kind of insanity and if you want to know the real reason there’s been such fully-fledged gender wars waged around the toilet cubicle it’s because the toilet bowl is a sexist amenity which has clearly been designed and redesigned towards the anatomy of women. It’s an outrage really. Pubs, clubs, restaurants and sporting venues – knowing that penises are made for trees not toilet bowls – provide urinals for their male customers, which not only offers a more natural avenue to urination, but also cuts down on cleaning costs. It’s a wonder then that a urinal isn’t a standard feature of the modern home. For hundreds of years women have been forcing us to perform a test of nerves and skill over an undersized hole – with appendages they clearly have no direct experience with – all the while ramping up the pressure to perform by complaining about the odd slip or error. They don’t understand, boys, that the tiniest twitch or cough or kink in our foreskins could cause a deviation of over 40% in the stream and that it only has to happen for a nanosecond to create a noticeable spill or splash. But what can we do about it? Talk to The Australian Builders Association? Influence the Government by urinating on the steps of Parliament House? Campaign for men’s rights until urinals join kitchen sinks and showers and televisions as assumed conveniences in household plans? Yes! Maybe that’s what we should do, because pissing against a wall with your belt still buckled is about as liberating as is gets and that’s all wrapped up in a little term called “penis envy” which basically means that women wish they could do the same as us but are stuck with sitting down. Anyway, in the short term, we’re also stuck… with the toilet bowl… and so I’d like to enter your braincases like my Mum entered mine by saying this; if a spill happens, own it, clean it up, take a handful of tissue and wipe the bowl or the lid or the floor or all three and then make it seem that it never happened by using one of the disposable wipes in the cupboard. Off you go.’