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Culture Shock: US vs. Europe: Public Pottying

Updated on September 14, 2009
Amsterdam.
Amsterdam.

Potty habits vary from culture to culture. In the US, it would be considered tacky for a man to whip things out in public and have a go at the nearest wall. It would also meet stipulations for “public indecency” in some places, so I wouldn’t risk it in some parts of town, if I were you.

Yeah, you see the occasional drunken fool writing his name in the snow, but this is not the norm in civilized society – cos we just don’t want to know you that well. Mmmmkay? So keep the snake in the cage while you’re out and about. Europe, on the other hand, is completely different.

Especially if you travel to places like Prague, Berlin and Vienna. I can always spot the American and Candian tourists, because they're often slack-jawed the first time they catch the locals in the act. You see, over here, men tinkle anywhere, anytime – and on anything. And don’t give me the “when you gotta go” line. When I “gotta go” I can’t just squat in the street and do my business. I have to find a toilet somewhere. Why don’t men have to do this? Hell, they have public urinals here. You know, those big, four-sectioned smelly walls in the middle of public squares where men can tinkle freely.

They are all over places like Amsterdam. Yet, many men walk straight past the tinkle-wall and do their worst to the 200 year old church standing behind it. Honestly, what is wrong with these men? Would you do this on the wall of your home? I think not! And if you think urinals cramp your style, that’s still no excuse for tee-teeing on the walls of buildings. Why can't you aim for the gutter, or the grass? Are you really marking your territory? Cos I gotta say I don’t find it very endearing. Want some examples?

Tinkling on your local Church:

  • US – If a cop sees you, you’re going to get a talking to.
  • Europe – If a cop sees you, he’ll probably join you.

Stopping at a busy intersection to get out and tinkle on the sidewalk.

  • US – If a cop sees you, expect several fines.
  • Europe – If a cop sees you, he’ll give you the man nod and just keep going.

Pausing in conversation with your date to lean left and tinkle:

  • US – End of date, unless she’s white trash.
  • Europe – She’ll continue with the conversation, as though it’s normal.

Going potty on the interior walls of a public telephone booth:

  • US – Nasty, even if you’re white trash.
  • Europe – Common, especially in big cities.

I’ve been living amongst this for several years now and it still annoys the poo out of me to see someone tinkle on a nice building. There’s just no excuse for it – if you can’t aim that thing, you shouldn’t be allowed to use it!

xx Isabella

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