Gender-neutral urinals? Give women a break

Berlin is trying to curb outdoor peeing - with gender-neutral urinals in public toilets.

Berlin is trying to curb outdoor peeing - with gender-neutral urinals in public toilets.

OPINION: Berlin is planning to introduce gender-neutral urinals to its public toilets. This raises many, many questions.

Firstly, how does a woman use a urinal without squatting? If she's squatting, why wouldn't she just use a normal toilet? Will she be expected to use a urinal as men do, side-by-side with strangers?

Why did the urinal report presented to city authorities run to 99 pages? And was calling it The Toilet Concept someone's idea of a practical joke?

But no: it turns out that Berliners are perfectly serious about the idea, which they see as a remedy to the problem of Wildpinkeln, which roughly translates as "outdoor peeing".

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It's such a delightfully onomatopoeic word that I fully expect there to be a Guide to Wildpinkeln before the year is out, in much the same way as we've embraced the concepts of hygge, feng shui and wild swimming.

Apparently, a German specialist in lavatory design (there is such a thing) has found that unisex urinals could save water, because a survey suggested that women often flush a public toilet three times during one visit. Three times! What are these women doing that requires that level of repeated flushing?

I, for one, am not a fan of the idea of a female urinal. I already suffer from performance anxiety in public lavatories, so I'm not sure I'd cope with having to bare buttocks next to a stranger. I've always felt sorry for men, having to let it all hang out on public display.

I remember a friend of mine saying he'd once stood next to his boss at the office urinal. His boss let forth a torrential gush and my friend was so intimidated by this manly display that he found it impossible to go, zipped up his trousers and left. His boss never looked at him in quite the same way after that.

I'd far rather have the blissful privacy of a cubicle door.

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 - The Telegraph, London


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