Your Man on the Can’t

Your Man on the Can’t

Alternative Title: To pee, or not to pee…

Do you ever find yourself standing at a urinal – this is probably not so much of an issue for the few ladies amongst our readers – next to some guy, and completely unable to go? This is The Number Four Reason guys give for disliking urinals. That puts it just above “Sure I can barely keep my massive cock from dangling in the water if I use the toilet, never mind keeping it from cracking the ceramic if I use the urinal” and below “The poo won’t fit down the drain”.
For most, retreating to a cubicle or waiting until the other guy has buggered off is sufficient.

Or you might sometimes find it difficult to pee under pressure – like when your father stops at a gas station (please take a moment to appreciate how Knight’s Atari is adapting to cater for our international audience) and warns you that this is the final stop before driving the entire length of Route 66, or when that crazy German chick you met at the party wants you to give her a golden shower, or when you’re Joey from “Friends” and you have to pee on Monica’s leg to alleviate the pain of a jellyfish sting or when you’re Tyler Durden and Monica is mushroom soup and the jellyfish sting is contempt.

Maybe you feel your character will be judged based on the strength and duration of your piss stream. Or maybe you still have nightmares after seeing that documentary about the Candiru parasite which lives in the Amazon and crawls up the stream of urine as you pee, into your urethra, and then lives there happily ever after. Maybe you’re Catholic and have been taught that urine is evil, and you want to hide your shame.

Sometimes you might find that the more you think about it, the more difficult it becomes, like getting an erection or skydiving.
In an episode of some doubtlessly popular and amazing television show which I saw once upon a time, one of the characters explains how he counts prime numbers while trying to urinate to distract himself until he starts peeing. For completeness’ sake, because we at Knight’s Atari like to educate our readers, I include as a footnote Euclid’s proof that there are infinitely many primes and thus, the character need not feel any added pressure to start urinating before he runs out of numbers.

The terrible 2005 film “Waiting”, which I watched for research purposes and Anna Faris, features a waiter who also suffers from the problem, and who is apparently cured in the sequel, “Still Waiting”, but finding a potential cure didn’t seem worth the effort of watching the second film.

Perhaps as some strange combination of some of these things, or perhaps not, some people find they can’t pee within earshot of others, or even when they imagine someone else can hear them. This is known as “bashful-bladder” or “shy-bladder” syndrome, or more technically “paruresis”, from the Greek “uresis” meaning “urinate” and “par” meaning “massively inconvenient inability to publicly”.

You may have noticed, in previous toilet reviews, how Your Man on the Can rates facilities’ privacy very highly. This article may explain why.
He could probably tell you every single place in which he has urinated this year. “Not the most useful skill in the world!”, you might think – and you’d be largely correct, though the mental map of suitable bathrooms can prove to be a vital time-saver on occasion. Universities and museums are usually good bets, whereas busy pubs and fast-food outlets are not. Your Man on the Can is currently working on a trip-advisor-esque app for bathroom facilities – purely for his own entertainment and erudition, but we’ll keep you posted.

Not all of the following have happened to yours truly, but I’ll understand if you find it more amusing to believe that I am speaking from first-hand experience.
Bidding a premature goodnight to a girl you’d like to spend the rest of your life or at least the rest of the night with, because you instead have to stagger the entire way home to spend a penny. Wandering off a mile into the woods in the dark on a camping trip, just in case, and ending up lost and eaten by a raccoon – despite having spent the previous week practising by peeing in your back garden late at night. Not staying out all night wandering from club to club – though this could be a blessing in disguise – because whatever about anyone else, those bastard bathroom attendants are definitely judging you and listening to you pee and then they want you to pay them for it. Getting trapped in a vicious cycle of ordering a drink in a bar so that you can check if their bathroom facilities are acceptable, only to find that they are not, putting even more pressure on both you and your bladder. Glancing jealously at a drunken student on a night out pissing against a wall but mostly on their shoes and thinking, “Man, I wish I had her talent*.” Running in and out of bathrooms around campus trying to find one which is empty, hoping the security guards aren’t watching your antics on camera suspiciously – if they question you and they hear your Irish accent, you’re fucked. Being unable to provide a urine sample for the doctor or whomsoever else might require it. Planning your day in advance around where and when you’ll be able to make a pee.

If you or a loved one has been affected by the issues addressed in this article, then… urine trouble!! …cough… I’m afraid you may need to see a professional. A medical professional, that is, as opposed to, say, one of the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a psychological issue and can be a massive inconvenience, depending on severity, but the worst that’s likey to happen is that you piss your pants** – your bladder won’t actually burst from holding it in. Technically, you can die from “water poisoning” – by disturbing the balance of electrolytes in your body – but it’s more likely that someone will club you to death with a frozen joint of ham.

There are a number of possible different approaches to the issue – some more extreme than others. I recall being on a date once with a nurse to whom I explained the problem. She offered to equip me with a colostomy bag. I declined. We’re friends. Some people believe that holding your breath for as long as you can and then slowly exhaling will relax you and allow you to pee. Others believe that if you are brave and die in battle, you will be rewarded with an eternity of poorly executed blowjobs. In Japan, of course, where women in public bathrooms would continuously flush the toilet to mask the sound of their micturition, they have installed “The Sound Princess” in some public bathrooms – a machine which produces the sound of a toilet flushing, in efforts to prevent water wastage.
There are even some people on youtube who upload videos of themselves urinating in an effort to cure themselves, but personally, I find the sharing of one’s bathroom habits with complete strangers on the internet a little distasteful.

*Speaking of talents I wish I had – here’s a semi-related awesome doodle by Dr. Kevin.

**I feel it necessary to clarify at this juncture that this has never – touch wood – happened to me.

Pee S:
Since writing this article originally, I have had a few related incidents, a couple of which I will recount here, to illustrate the ups and downs of the issue.

On one occasion, on a family boat-trip, sleeping in the galley, I found myself awake and needing the toilet. I arose and tip-toed to the toilet and was preparing to relieve myself quietly, when I heard an “Are you awake?” whispered irritatingly at me through the paper-thin walls by my mother. Irretrievably distracted, I cursed under my breath and returned to the kitchen, where I was forced to piss into a cup in the darkness- holding my thumb inside and thus gauging when I needed to periodically stop and empty the cup out the window – coining the phrase – “a rule of thumb”.

More recently, while idling in Holyhead after a cancelled ferry one afternoon, I wandered into a field behind some houses, and widdled against a garden wall – how fucking cool is that?! Probably my proudest achievement of the year.

Euclid’s Proof that there are infinitely many primes:
Suppose there are a finite number of primes, and suppose P is what we believe to be the largest prime number. Let L be the list of all prime numbers up to and including P.
Let N be the product of all the numbers in L. Now, consider the number N+1. It cannot be divided by any of the primes in L, since each of these primes is a factor of N and no number bar 1 can be a factor of both a and a+1, so N+1 must therefore be prime itself, or have a prime factor which is not contained in L. This means that no matter how large L becomes, there is always a larger prime than is contained in the list.
Quod erat demonstrandum.

One thought on “Your Man on the Can’t

  1. It’s weird – I’ve had this problem for about fifteen years, but since publishing this article I’ve peed in hotels, pubs, conference halls (or at least the bathrooms outside them), airports, and behind bushes by the side of the road. I’ve even peed with the bathroom door open while talking to my friends. I wouldn’t say I’m fully cured yet, but I’m getting there. Maybe I should write articles about my hair loss, lack of success with women, and chronic unemployability…


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