Urine or you're out
September 15, 2010 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Toilet shyness. How did you beat it?

...that's not a double entendre.

In a few months, I'm moving to an office with a big communal toilet with echoey walls and a bastard big Armitage Shanks trough (which I would be more than happy to piss in if I were alone). I've managed all my life avoiding these places but this bathroom has no cubicle (those are a very noticeable diversion away).

It seems stupid to ask. I need advice. How did you beat toilet shyness?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I visualize Christ dying on the cross, in the most gruesome and hideous detail possible. I know it sounds weird, but it distracts me long enough to get the job done. Try it sometime.
posted by hermitosis at 12:48 PM on September 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

No cubicle? Where do people go to do #2?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:52 PM on September 15, 2010

I stare at a fixed point on the wall in front of me and mentally recite numbers, like a numbers station. If I have to, you know, take a seat, I'll scope out less-frequented bathrooms. Weird, I know, but it works.

And why anonymous? There's absolutely nothing to be embarrassed of!
...or is there?

posted by slogger at 12:53 PM on September 15, 2010

I used to have such a hard time with this - even though I'm a girl and we have stalls, something about people hearing me freaked me out!

I basically trained myself by going in front of family members (well my mom and my boyfriend).
posted by radioamy at 12:54 PM on September 15, 2010

Maybe this is an odd question but if there is no cubical - where do you poo?
posted by missmagenta at 12:54 PM on September 15, 2010

Do math times tables in your head. 6 times 6 is 36, 7 times 6 is 42, 8 times 6 is 48, etc, etc.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:55 PM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mental long division.

I kid you not.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:55 PM on September 15, 2010

Why not just use the cubicles every time? If anyone tries to give you shit about it, just shrug and say "I like the privacy". If they keep it up, give them a raised eyebrow and ask why they're so worried about your toilet habits.
posted by neushoorn at 1:02 PM on September 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

Similar to mental math, I type things in my head, meaning I think about the lyrics to whatever song is running through my head or a recent conversation and envision the physical act of typing it, letter by letter. Never takes long.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:14 PM on September 15, 2010

I was the same way until I started drinking. Now the urinal's no big thing.

Or you could be like my co-worker and use the other, nicer restroom. If someone calls you out on it, say it's nicer because { it has better paper towels, it smells better, it's less echoey, none of your business }.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:17 PM on September 15, 2010

I used to have this issue as well. And someone on an internet forum gave me this advice, and I rejected it as gross, but then got over a lot of my fears and now I'm passing it on to you. When I pee I aim for the loudest part of the bowl or urinal or trough and grin a big grin thinking about Willem DeFoe in Wild At Heart: "Ya'll take a listen, you'll hear the deep sound comin' down from Bobby Peru."

When you look around, you'll notice nobody has noticed a damn thing, because as a species we are really good at ignoring each-other's bodily functions. Relax. Nobody's looking, and if they are give em the Willem grin.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:18 PM on September 15, 2010

I'm a girl, but I've struggled with this too. Like crazy. I either count the tiles on the floor or count up in numbers like 17. Oh, one other thing works. I used to struggle to pee in front of my husband. It was a subconscious thing. One day, he was in the bathroom when I was trying to pee and he said "pssssssssss" like you would tell a kid. It made me kind of irritated at him, that such a stupid thing would work. However, it distracted me enough that I was able to pee. So now, if I imagine that sound, I can pee. It is such a mental game.
posted by ms.v. at 1:22 PM on September 15, 2010

I think back to the times I've held it waaay too long at the movies (seeing Stealing Beauty always comes to mind).
posted by MediaMer at 1:36 PM on September 15, 2010

Well, what helped me get over it was dorm living, when I had to live with constant proof that everyone does it, and no one is really any more delicate about it than anyone else. Everyone pees, poops, farts, barfs, whatever - Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, the queen of England, everyone. Once I tried visualizing {insert hot movie star here} trapped on the toilet after some bad shellfish, it really seemed much easier to take a tinkle in a public bathroom.
posted by SamanthaK at 2:00 PM on September 15, 2010

I am not toilet shy. But I was until high school and the thing that mortified me was making any sound. How about headphones?? You turn music up loud and the combo of focusing on the music and not being able to hear any noise may help.
posted by beccaj at 2:13 PM on September 15, 2010

I used to sing "Row row row your boat" in my head.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 3:07 PM on September 15, 2010

I use a strategy taken directly from Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine. You imagine urinating all over the person next to you at the urinal. He goes into such great detail about the power of the stream and the way it parts the target's hair just so--the way your victim sputters as urines flows down his cheeks, soaking his shirt. Thinking about that specific passage is usually how I get by.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:00 PM on September 15, 2010

Stand like this | , not like this ) .

That's to say, pay attention to the position of your pelvis as you stand there. If you push your pelvis forward a little to try and encourage the wee to leave your bladder, then you are in fact constricting the pipes it has to travel down to do so--only very slightly, but enough to combine with the nervousness to keep it in. Drawing your pelvis back a little can make all the difference. Seriously.

Also, a bit less esoterically, wait until you really need to go.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 4:03 PM on September 15, 2010

Think of something funny—something really funny that will make you laugh.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:23 PM on September 15, 2010

I am a woman and I have the shyest of all shy bladders, seriously. I hate having people hear me pee, let alone #2, so my ability to urinate shuts down if there is someone within earshot. My solution is to create a sort of mental trigger for myself. When I pee at home or in a situation where I don't have an issue I repeat in my mind "One... Two... Three... Pee" and start urinating at the word "pee". Now when I am in a shy bladder situation I repeat the One Two Three Pee and it is a lot easier to start urinating at the word pee.

I know it sound absolutely ridiculous but it does work. It is a pavlovian thing.
posted by gwenlister at 4:43 PM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

I used to have that problem, and it was a problem because of the routine urinalysis. I did not have the time to be waiting around all day until the mental block finally gave up.

I finally just decided in my head that whoever wanted to see my wee wee could damn well have a look. I started imagining in my head just walking in there and giving a show, cackling madly while everyone else covers their eyes crying "aagh! god man, I don't want to see that! Make it stop! Make it stop!" and runs away.

You'll find that once you've imagined whipping it out for an audience, the real situation seems kind of a silly thing to worry about. A bunch of dudes carefully trying not to look at everyone else? Pfft.

It worked.
posted by ctmf at 5:01 PM on September 15, 2010

I just use cubicles. No biggie. You're hardly alone in this. If anyone asks, I tell them I'm gun-shy; if they give me shit about it, I say "But masturbating at the trough just feels so awkward!". Shuts em up, every time.
posted by smoke at 5:12 PM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

No-one is looking at your dick (Or is only doing so because they think you're equipped well), no-one is listening intently and no-one is judging.
posted by Quadlex at 6:35 PM on September 15, 2010

I visualized a button on the wall in front of me and when I pressed it, it would make me pee. Alot of guys put their hand on the wall for support so it doesn't look out of place. Started doing that as a teen, now I don't even need the visualization anymore, but I still can't do troughs.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 6:14 PM on September 17, 2010

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