WHY do men spit in the urinal???
January 24, 2016 9:52 AM   Subscribe

For the love of God, and WHY am I the only guy that doesn't do this?

This happens nearly every time I'm standing next to some other guy in a public bathroom. Will some guy please tell me why you do this?
posted by Thrillhouse to Human Relations (28 answers total)
Because spitting on the floor indoors is impolite.
posted by zamboni at 9:58 AM on January 24, 2016 [10 favorites]

If you need to spit it's a convenient location, and for some reason folks get real bent out of shape when you spit in the sink.

Sincerely, a lady who spits in toilets from time to time.
posted by phunniemee at 9:59 AM on January 24, 2016 [7 favorites]

It's a meme^ that perpetuates itself via Pavlovian reflex.
posted by XMLicious at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

if we're taking a poll, i guess i might if i felt the need to spit. why is it upsetting you?
posted by andrewcooke at 10:09 AM on January 24, 2016

Because you have a lugie in your throat and it's more decent than in the sink or the floor. Lugies are good to get out and it's good dudes are waiting until they're in a restroom and putting it in a waste receptacle. Women may put it in some tissue paper and then in the toilet. Just let this go.
posted by Kalmya at 10:10 AM on January 24, 2016

Maybe I have just never had the need to hock one... pretty much anywhere. All righty then.
posted by Thrillhouse at 10:11 AM on January 24, 2016 [7 favorites]

Suggest an alternative other than swallowing.
posted by dws at 10:14 AM on January 24, 2016

A previous AskMe on the same subject (plus even more bathroom behaviors the poster abhors).
posted by ShooBoo at 10:15 AM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Because you haven't been able to do it anywhere else for a while.
posted by John Cohen at 10:17 AM on January 24, 2016

I always assumed that it was like, "I need a water sound to start peeing," or similar kinda ritual, with maybe a twist of memetic Pavlov.
posted by rhizome at 10:47 AM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hey, it's better than the people who either don't ever flush or don't wash their hands when they're through. Let them keep spitting if that's the worst they're planning to do.
posted by holborne at 11:14 AM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

My boyfriend offers up the twin explanations of "I don't really understand it but some people spit habitually, and spitting in the urinal is better than spitting on the floor" and "men are horrible."
posted by babelfish at 11:49 AM on January 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm male, 49, and have never understood spitting.

There are a few times I have spitted. On my bike, after running through a cloud of gnats. I don't remember any other circumstances at the moment.

I do not eat sunflower seeds with shells on, in large part due to the spitting that seems to be required.

But lots of guys like to spit, frequently, even without consumption of sunflower seeds or oral tobacco.

I don't know why. There aren't that many clouds of insects.

As I said, I don't get it. Spitting is an uncouth and largely voluntary act.

But at least they're doing it in the bathroom.

There are worse places it could occur.
posted by yesster at 11:52 AM on January 24, 2016 [14 favorites]

It's also possible that there is something lot of men find a little disgusting about urinating in a public toilet. The body has reflex to salivate in preparation to vomiting, which can activate even when the person isn't actively nauseated. So possibly these people are producing extra saliva at the urinal which they expectorate away. This is effectively where "spitting in disgust" comes from.
posted by slkinsey at 11:56 AM on January 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

also, even if people generally swallow saliva, perhaps if it's a stinky urinal (and so many are) then the idea of swallowing something while smelling that smell drives more to spit?
posted by andrewcooke at 11:59 AM on January 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Spittoons are hard to come by these days.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Along those lines, I am not a spitter in general, but walking into a bathroom it often smells bad, which triggers a spitting reaction. The urinal seems like the best choice. I’m not really understanding how this is offensive, you know we’re about to piss in there, right?
posted by bongo_x at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's all fluids dude. Fluids you don't desire to have in your body. Strikes me as a particularly masculine form of perceived efficiency to get rid of both at the same time.

Plus you get the bonus mini game of washing it down the hole with your wee wee.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:46 PM on January 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

For the love of God, and WHY am I the only guy that doesn't do this?

1. I don't spit in a urinal, but then I rarely feel the need to spit at all. Or at least don't remember having the urge.

2. Bodies are different. I don't know why, I certainly would not have designed them to have such variance, but nobody consulted me on this, which is something I intend to take up with the management at some point.

3. It's a public bathroom. Weird shit happens in there that none of want to share with others, but whatcha gonna do.

4. Food for thought: If you're the hearing other men do this pretty much all the time, maybe you're the odd out if you never do that? Which is fine, but hey careful being a judgey mcjudger.

5. Where would you prefer they spit?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:51 PM on January 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

Why wouldn't you spit in the urinal? It's more hygienic and greener than spitting into a tissue and throwing it away. I do think people should spit quietly though.
posted by w0mbat at 1:06 PM on January 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

It's there.
posted by pheide at 1:39 PM on January 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

FWIW, I have never in my 29 years spit in a urinal, a toilet, or any other form of sanitary disposal device.

I would not want to risk splash back onto my torso, clothes, hands, or anything else. The splash back from the stream itself is bad enough.
posted by Flashbullzeye at 3:14 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh gosh, the splash back.

Spittle is such an inherently stringy, gelatinous thing. I never really got the hang of how to eject it from my mouth. Inelegant is my nature I guess.

Other boys must have had more time than I to practice the lingual gymnastics requisite to the task.

But on the subject of spitoons: when I was growing up, my father frequented an old, odd bar. It was dirty and grungy. If you stood in one place for very long, your feet might leave your shoes behind. But Dad thought nothing of taking me and the dog there for an afternoon/evening. I'd sit in a booth, hugging the dog, nursing an Orange Crush.

Meanwhile, Dad would be playing euchre with the guys. There were spitoons scattered around the bar. Probably 5 or 6. There were 2 within sight of the card table. It was important to not be between a spitoon and a patron. This, by necessity, develops a highly sensitive awareness in anyone who is not drunk, which is why I tended to stay in the back booth, with the dog, who long ago learned his lesson.

This was the kind of bar where, before the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21, the high school jocks would pal around. Most of the older guys, like my Dad, found it entertaining to buy them beers. These were guys who found it hilarious if, when one of their troop was in the bathroom, the others would piss into his beer glass. I, watching from the side, saw the inescapable truth that they apparently didn't: this might be happening to your beer too.

I was always very careful about the location and provenance of my bottle of Orange Crush.

When I was in my twenties, there was a major fire that burned through a large portion of our town's business district, including the block that housed this bar.

Surprisingly, the shitty little bar was the only building that survived.

There were rumors that several women were standing at the door of the bar, lighting matches and throwing them inside, to no avail, while the rest of the block burned down. Disgruntled wives, you see, just to be perfectly obvious.

It's a tangled mess of memories for me: old drunk men, high school athletes, penises and beer mugs, stale candy bars, our Brittany spaniel, and spitoons that were, like most good intentions, missed more frequently than hit.
posted by yesster at 4:41 PM on January 24, 2016 [8 favorites]

While it might not be your thing, other people might have more phlegm than you, or, well, any number of reasons, and might have enough practice not to worry about the strands mentioned. For my own part, the change in air between home and the outdoors when I leave for work in the mornings really gets things dripping, running, mucusing, whathaveyou.

Basically, better out than in, and better in the toilet than not.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:47 AM on January 25, 2016

I'm going to call b.s. on the people here saying they have never had to spit for any reason ever. Have you ever had a slightly stuffy nose with a lot of phlegm? The nasal cavity includes the mouth. There are two ways to get a blockage out of there, and one of them is through your mouth.

Urinal = receptacle for gross bodily fluids. Where else would you spit? You can't spit in the sink or the garbage.

There was a time when spitting was recognized as its own activity and we had spittoons around for that purpose. But in the modern era, we have urinals.
posted by deathpanels at 5:40 AM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just came in to state that this occurs throughout the world - saw this in Europe, Africa, India and a couple of other Asian countries. Astonishing! and we still fight over petty differences.
posted by theobserver at 9:24 AM on January 25, 2016

I was completely mystified when a runner I know said that she didn't understand why people spit when they are running (like "gross, are they just trying to be tough" kind of comment). I'm someone who needs to spit sometimes. It's gross but running or if I'm getting over a cold or whatever.

One of my very favorite quotes was from a Washington Post article describing the Folklife festival that summer. There were two guys that were exhibiting about camels, one from Texas and one from Oman, and the Texan addressed the spitting camel thing: ""They're just like people -- some spit, some don't."
posted by Pax at 10:13 AM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm wondering, OP, if you happen to be on the happy side of the dividing line between those who have allergies that trigger post-nasal drip, and those who don't. It might be hard for one side to have empathy for the other.
posted by dws at 3:20 PM on January 25, 2016

« Older Compensation clawback experiences   |   Heritage foundation Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.