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Please don’t pee in handwashing stations

Here, from Edmonton Journal reporter David Staples, is an opinion about peeing at hockey arenas:

I don’t think this was a joke, because our protagonist did quite a bit of arguing and trolling-in-hindsight for someone just seeking a laugh:

Let’s go over some facts and assertions.

The object Staples photographed exists so multiple people can wash their hands. That’s a fact.

A motion sensor or foot pedal triggers water to spout forth, and up to 8 people can wash their hands at the same time. Very efficient!

This object is not meant to receive your pee. I did multiple control-F searches on the product’s page to confirm that the manufacturer makes no mention of this usage:

It’s for washing your hands.

Now, there are often lines to pee at stadium men’s rooms, which sucks. It’s been especially bad at Oilers playoff games, and their solution to the problem is dubious.

Men sometimes avoid long bathroom lines by peeing in sinks. I’ve seen it happen at a concert, in a normal individual-use sink with one faucet and one drain. Guys misuse urinals sometimes, too. Desperation and alcohol breed innovation.

Staples insists (and others confirm) that at some point in the past, men regularly peed in circular troughs like this at Edmonton Eskimos games:

I can’t tell if that’s a “we all did it all the time” thing or a “once in a while if we got desperate or the toilets were busted” thing, but I’ll take their word for it.

For the sake of argument, let’s imagine the world Staples envisions. The toilets are occupied, so everyone who would otherwise have to wait in line circles up to pee in the washfountain. I have diagrammed this scenario for you:

Instead of waiting in line, you stand in a tight huddle of strangers, all of whom are facing you and peeing. Hopefully, everyone is looking up at the ceiling, but inevitably one creep is looking you right in the eye. Some people are probably having some flow troubles. Someone’s probably got terrible aim, casting his stream dangerously close to you. The people who want to wash their hands in the sink, which is what the thing you’re peeing into is, have to either give up and exit with unwashed hands or get creative. Oh, and the motion-activated handwashing thing is spraying water while you’re peeing, because it thinks you’re here to wash your hands. Just so much spraying, so many criss-crossing radii of fluid.

It is mayhem. And what’s next? Peeing into the trash can? Just going on the bathroom floor? What about other venues? Do we all piss in the sea lion exhibit if the zoo bathroom is busted? It’s a slippery slope. It’s a slippery slope because someone probably pissed all over the slope.

Waiting in line to pee is not fun. Waiting in line when you REALLY have to pee might lead to some unseemly choices. But by god, no line is so bad that we should systematically resort to peeing in a circular handwashing station.

Update: Staples informs me he merely advocates the implementation of circular urinals, not urinating in the handwashing station, so this post has been tweaked somewhat to reflect that. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that circular urinals do exist or have previously existed, but the object photographed is for washing hands and the research I’ve done suggests that every time you see something that looks like that, it is a sink.

(h/t Alison Mah)