Beyond Babedom

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Mr. Clean in Paris

I know it’s quite popular to denigrate Europe, and especially the French (even though they were right about Saddam Hussein and his non-WMDs. . . but that’s another story). But you know what we’ve been noticing since we arrived here in France? First of all, the people are really friendly. Especially when you try (and butcher) speaking the language. Oh, the baker at the local patisserie was so happy to help me! And their economy? Doing quite well, by the way, despite the call by some to boycott French products.

But the most amazing thing to us is simply how clean everything is. The streets. The trains. Even the public bathrooms. We had lunch in a little hole in the wall and, when I went to use the bathroom, I was amazed at how clean and pleasant it was (they even had a complimentary shoe shiner there). Forget about the restaurants; check out the bathrooms in the trains. Can you imagine using the bathroom on the commuter train from New York to Red Bank, NJ? Well, here they are spotless. Spotless! (And the trains are incredible, but that is another story.)

The streets? Nary a sign of trash. And washed every morning. Which brings me to the real point of this post: For all it’s cleanliness, there is one dirty, dirty habit that the French have. Wait: let me correct myself. It’s a dirty habit that French men have.

They like to pee in public.

It is so incongruous that it is hard to understand. Everything is so clean, yet men feel the need to whip it out just about anywhere and let ‘er rip. Of course, having worked in NYC for many years, I am immune to the smell of urine. But I have to wonder what drives them to do this.

Gary says it is because they can. Yes; men can pee anywhere. And we can’t. But would we? What would happen if every man suddenly woke up penis-less and women had overgrown clitorises (which is what a penis is, after all)? Would we suddenly have the urge to empty our bladders willy nilly as well? Would we no longer worry about spills on the seat? And would we put the seat down?

I don’t know the answers, but I do know this: we’d still change the toilet paper roll.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 at 5:15 AM and is filed under Social Issues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Susan Buchanan says:

    Like dogs marking their territory – simple as that. This makes for constant laughs for us, Americans. When I was young and lived in France, my Dad would honk the horn and we would all wave. I am STILL laughing.

  2. Pat Wright says:

    Ah, to finally have the men in our lives attempt to sit on the toilet seat late at night (in the dark and half asleep) only to discover the one with “the penis” left the seat up and your butt ends up going for a swim!! I’m with you Lucille, I’ve seen men (including my EX husband) whip it out on a whim because they were too lazy to walk to the restroom. From a young age, when their father’s teach them how to write their names in the snow or sand, boys/men seem to have the need to “sign their names” to errant landscapes like starving artists. And when you call them out on it they say, “Hey, I’ll bet if you could do the same thing you would.” And who knows, maybe we would….if for no other reason than to wipe the smirks off men’s faces.

  3. Judy Herring says:

    This is one of your funniest storys yet!! I remember the first time I saw a man pee in Paris I was stunned – I was all of 16 – he stood behind what looked like an oil barrel
    cut in half vertically. I think Gary is right on – they do it because they can and have witnessed men doing it for centuries. Personally – I wouldn’t want to pee in the streets, even if I had the where-with-all to handle it!! I’m glad my clitoris didn’t grow into a penis!!!!

  4. Mary F says:

    Nightline” did a report on this. One of their reporters tagged along with the “urine” police. Yes, they have a special police force that goes (no pun intended) out at night trying to catch men doing this. The reporter said the stench was absolutely disgusting. And guys just whip it out and go anywhere – on people’s doorsteps and under windows – gross.

  5. Karen C says:

    My friend tells me that during at least the 1940s, French women as well as the men would urinate in the streets. Of course way back when, the women all wore dresses, making public urination that much easier.
    By the way; when I was in Paris in 2008 I did not find French bathrooms to be especially cleanly, nor was my hotel bathroom clean. It was just short of disgusting. There were no bedbugs though thank God.

  6. Barry Jay says:

    Guess all that glitters is not gold.

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