There I was, in a trendy restaurant the other day with some friends. I went off to the toilet, as we men are prone to do.
Now I'm guessing that many of the women reading this won't have much knowledge about mens' toilets. Us men are quite used to them of course. We go out, have a few beers and then go off to the toilet. What's more we go to the toilet on our own, we don't have to go with a friend and then return about five hours later. But ladies take it from me, the average mens' public toilet is quite a nasty place.
Ladies' toilets smell of perfume and make up, sugar and spice and all that. Mens' ones smell of asparagus and poo.
One of the good things about being a man is that we can aim our pee. As a young boy I recall "crossing swords" with my brothers. Jets of wee would overlap and we'd laugh at our skill and swordsmanship. At school it was an ongoing battle to see who could be the boy who could pee the highest against the wall, with rumours about certain chaps being able to reach great heights. These days the modern man can point his willy in a chosen direction and pee with all the accuracy of Luke Skywalker with his light sabre.
With two daughters, an ex wife and my considerable reputation as quite the ladies' man I know enough about women to know that they can't aim their pee in the way we can. A few women DO have the level of muscle control required, but they're mostly porn stars and Thai ping pong ball artistes. Granted women beat us in most other departments but I think it's fair to say that we are the undisputed winners in the peeing stakes.
But the mens' urinal is undoubtedly the epitome of bad design. Just about any urinal, wherever you aim, gives some element of splashback. This is annoying and frustrating and I can't be the first chap to wonder why someone, perhaps Stephen Hawkins or one of those types, can't invent a urinal that doesn't do this.
Women, you probably won't know this, but some years ago someone came up with the bright idea of putting an image of a fly, yes a fly, on the inside of a urinal. The principle is that the image is put right on the spot where, if a chap aims for it, the splashback is minimal. Not that many toilets have this feature but it tends to be in the toilets of smarter establishments. Trendy wine bars, five star hotels, and the like.
This leads me nicely back to the start of my post. I walked into the toilet of this trendy restaurant and each urinal had a perfect life size fly painted, or stuck to its middle "minimal splashback" point. I unbuttoned my fly, hauled out the old fellow and fired, aiming at the fly. The fly, because it was a sticker or picture and because it wasn't actually alive, moved not a millimetre. So naturally I peed a little bit around its outer perimeter to see if I could dislodge it at all. I couldn't. I finished up, put the chipolata away, washed my hands and went back to our table, thinking no more of it.
Until some days' later. From nowhere the thought hit me, the thought that actually all of us men are stupid. If we were pets we'd be dogs, women would be cats. We can be taught to sit, to roll over and have our belly rubbed. We can be trained to round up sheep and do a bit of hunting, perhaps make a poor attempt to run a country or a company.
But we're ultimately so fucking stupid that, paint a fake fly on a urinal and you can bet your bottom dollar that every man will spend his time peeing furiously at the thing trying to dislodge it and make it move. And we do this knowing that it's fake, that it's not going to move at all.