Urinal etiquette

Relatively speaking, there has been very little written on the subject of urinals. This is strange, as urinals are very much a part of the life of the modern day man. I have decided to redress this shortcoming, and provide a detailed explanation of the usage of said conveniences.


There are many, many different factors to be taken into account during the use of urinals. It is not, as some people uneducated in the field may think, a simple matter of walking into the men’s toilets, doing one’s business, washing one’s hands, and leaving. Oh no. Using a urinal correctly has as much etiquette and as many rules as eating at a high-class restaurant. Not that those two things are in any way related.

Now we get down to the actual rules themselves:

Finding a Urinal

  • If there is a cubicle available, you should always use it in preference to a urinal, unless:
    • none of the urinals are currently being used, or
    • there are several free (and contiguous) urinals, or
    • you would have to walk past the urinals to get to the vacant cubicle.
  • If you must use a urinal, it is necessary to carefully pick the appropriate urinal. Failure to do so will result in strange looks and a feeling of embarassment. This will also make you less of a man. Use the following rules to pick a urinal:
    • If there are 3 vacant urinals in a row, choose the middle one of the three.
    • If all the urinals but one are free, and if the one being used is at one end of the set of urinals, do not under any circumstances choose the urinal at the other end of the line, unless there are less than four urinals in total. Doing so would be homophobic and bad. In general terms, when faced with this situation, you should pick a urinal that is halfway between the centre point of the line of urinals, and the vacant end.
    • If there are only 2 vacant urinals in a row, then which one of the 2 you pick is pretty much up to you, but if possible pick the urinal that is nearest the end of the line, or nearest the door.
    • If each free urinal is separate (i.e. there is a maximum of 1 free in a row) then only use a urinal if the spacing between urinals is greater than 70cm. Any less than this, and you risk brushing against one of the other urinal users. This is bad. If the spacing is less than 70cm, you must wait until 2 or more urinals in a row become available.

Using a Urinal

We now assume that you have successfully found a urinal, and are ready to start using it. The process becomes a little more complicated at this point, and there are several things you must think about:

  • Unzipping - this must be done completely nonchalantly. No signs of self-consciousness or uncomfortableness should be shown. It is preferable to keep looking straight ahead, but if necessary then a quick glance downwards is acceptable.
  • While doing your business, eye position is extremely important. In fact the importance of this point cannot be overstated. Always look straight ahead or up at the ceiling. Do not look down, and under no circumstances should you look at other urinal users.
  • Some people find it helpful to whistle as a way of informing others that they are comfortable with the situation. Remember not to whistle too loudly, as this indicates a slightly forced comfortableness, suggesting that in fact the urinal user is ill at ease in the situation. A sound recording of the suggested whistling volume will be uploaded to this site soon.