In this vale of tears and time of deep moral and psychological conundrums, I often ponder a question I have been asking myself for years: why do men insist on peeing outside, even when conditions don’t warrant it and they have to pass at least one bathroom to get to the al fresco?
No one has ever been able to answer this question for me satisfactorily. No woman I know would pass up a bathroom to go outside to water the geraniums. It makes no sense.
Of course, peeing in the woods when you are hiking goes without saying. Naturally that makes sense. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about this: a man will happily be in the house—doing what men do—watching football, creating clutter of one kind or another by dropping his socks and underwear everywhere, or standing in front of the fridge and saying plaintively, “Well I don’t see it”, when the milk is right in front of him. Then the siren call of the wild beckons to him and he’s out the door. You spy his shoulder just over the lilac bush, where, if you didn’t know better, you would think he is gathering blooms. Then he wanders nonchalantly back inside again, usually passing at least one bathroom, and resumes whatever destructive behavior he was engaged in before.
A male friend of mine posits this theory: a man does not plan to go out to pee; he is drawn out by something and then, triggered by the cold temperature, develops the urge to pee. This theory does not (pardon the pun) hold water. In my experience, men will wander out into the garden on a warm August night and even if they have to pass two bathrooms to get there, merrily rain on the nearest lobelia, whether six neighbors are watching or not.
My own feeling is this occurs because men are primarily driven by their limbic brains. No matter how you apply the thin veneer of education and civility to the average man, he apparently cannot fight the urge to mark out his territory like a muskrat or a gopher.
Nothing interferes with this primitive urge except extreme inconvenience—like living on the 27th floor of a high rise—in which case a man will, despite the fact that a bathroom stands within three feet of him, eschew that convenience and go to pee in the sink, or perhaps a bedside jug which is only 6 inches closer than the toilet, to make some kind of a point.
The toilet is the last place the average healthy man will want to use. Somehow he must feel diminished by using the same facility that others do: his marking, his essence becomes diluted and this does not suit his primitive urge to make a statement.
After years of speculation, my own informal interpretation of al fresco peeing is this: like any friendly poodle, he is making the statement, “I live here…..bug off.” That this signal no longer works in our modern world (he could just put his name and house number on his mailbox with less fuss and bother) does not, naturally, occur to the man.
Like so much of his behavior, man is driven by primitive urges and one wonders how Jefferson, Madison and Franklin ever got the time to found a country, or Leonardo da Vinci to paint the Mona Lisa.