Sunday, January 30, 2011

Height of decency

This is a new postulate that I have come up with:

“The level of what is considered decent in a society is directly proportional to the height of the partition between urinals in a public restroom”.

Before you guys start bashing me up. I have observed men in restrooms, changing rooms and gymnasiums in 3 different countries and I have evidence to back-up my postulate.

To start with, in India, the level of decency that you are expected to maintain in public places is very high. So, for example, if I wear shorts and go around in public transport, people give me the “look”. The “look” is a very powerful message which says – “Dude, you are not welcome here in these clothes”. Same is the case in swimming pool changing rooms. You are expected to cover yourself up in a towel, till you actually go to the pool and dip yourself into it. Anything less and people give the “look”. Naturally the partition between urinals in men’s restrooms in India is so high, that at times you wont even know that the guy using the urinal next to you is a celebrity.

The first time I stepped into a public urinal in the US, I found it awkward that they have no partitions whatsoever between urinals. Imagine, you can actually measure the pumping speed of the guy next to you in the urinal and compare who is faster! And then being in your birthday suits in public changing rooms is considered absolutely normal.

Then I went to Singapore. Urinals out there have partitions. But they are just big enough for you to not accidentally see the other guy’s tool. But you can very well chit-chat and strike a conversation – “How are you”? Same is the case with the public changing rooms. There are doors for every shower, but then closing them is strictly optional, and people won’t give you the “look”.

And then the level of what is considered decent also varies in the same proportion in the three societies. Sometimes I wonder why we don’t have awards for making such discoveries!! I am sure I would land up in a couple of record books for this.

While researching for this article on Google, I came across this video which teaches men restroom etiquettes. And, for a moment you thought only I had all the time in this world!!

Male restroom etiquette

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