Monday, January 26, 2015

German Toilets and the Sitzpinkel: Why German Men Pee Sitting Down

It's purely an engineering issue that has become a cultural standard: the German toilet design provides for a "dry drop" onto a dry ledge. Astounding.
German Toilets

"Whenever folks who have lived or traveled in Germany gather for a beer, sooner or later one subject is sure to rear its ugly head: what is the deal with those toilets?

German toilets are quite extraordinary. Other European toilets - well, the ones that aren't merely holes in the floor - work much like their North American cousins. They are shaped a little differently, but the basic principle is the same: the excrement either lands directly in the water or it slides down a steep slope into the water, before being flushed away. Simple, effective and clean. See?

"Normal" toilet

Not so the German toilet. The excrement lands on a bone-dry horizontal shelf, mere inches beneath one's posterior. Repeated flushings are required to slide the ordure off the shelf into a small water-filled hole, from which it hopefully disappears. See?

German toilet

I do not understand the purpose of this toilet. It does not save water - you must flush it eight or ten times to remove every last scrape and smear. It is not hygienic - the smell is ungodly. The only conceivable explanation is that Germans love to inspect their stool, so the German toilet of necessity features a built-in stool inspection shelf. I wouldn't be surprised if the more expensive models include a digital scale: "Mein Gott, zwei kilogram!" exclaims G√ľnter, joyful and relieved.

Further research has revealed that the German toilet is in fact designed to facilitate stool examination. This is a wise, healthy practice, argue Germans, a person's best defence against intestinal disease, water-borne parasites or worm-riddled, undercooked pork sausage. While this made perfectly good sense around 1900, thanks to improvements in public health the whole shelf business should have become obsolete shortly after World War II.

Germans, however, see nothing amiss. They actually like their toilets. Some even dislike North American toilets. You splash yourself, they claim. I don't think this is possible. I've never splashed myself sitting on the toilet. For the wave to reach one's bottom, one would need to eject a hefty pellet at tremendous velocity. I think they're making that up."
For interesting toilet experiences, and the "sitzpinkel", go there. Personally, I'm not sure which is worse, the dry ledge toilet, or the infernal "squat holes" that aren't toilets at all, just holes in the floor over which you must squat.

But you can see why a man's right to pee standing up has to be a legal decision. It should be a case for wall urinals in every restroom, one would think. Of course, many men can't hit those, either. I always liked the horse trough up against a wet-wall that you could find in some rough-house bars; you couldn't miss those no matter how drunk you get, although you could fall in. (An observation from a prior life).

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