Culture Shock: When You Know Urine a Foreign Country

My roommate Ally just approached me in the kitchen as I was cooking dinner. The conversation went something like this (rough memory, rough translation):

Ally: Do you sit down on the toilet when you pee?

Me: Um. Why would I sit down when I pee?

Ally: Because it’s cleaner. You don’t need to clean the toilet as often.

Me: Um.

Ally: Is that surprising to you? All men in Germany sit down when they pee.

Me: Really? I have trouble believing that.

Ally: OK, probably not all, but certainly most.

Me: Wow. Well. I’m … sorry. I will try to sit down when I pee.

So I should explain that German toilets aren’t constructed quite like American ones. There’s this weird two-tier system, like a cow’s stomachs, whereby what comes out of one’s body is deposited on a kind of shelf, and is then washed down to the lower level, and from there down the pipes, when one flushes. There must be an good explanation for this system, but I really can’t come up with any, other than that it allows you to admire your handiwork a little better. It also produces quite a bit more splashback — hence the (to my mind peculiar) request tonight.

But men out there who have lived in Germany: Is it really true that men pee sitting down here?

(N.B. The German word for “to pee” is “pinkeln.” It’s a good word.)

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5 Responses to Culture Shock: When You Know Urine a Foreign Country

  1. britta says:

    At least all men who live with a woman 😉 Enjoy your stay here, in spite of our bathroom etiquette.

  2. No self respecting Bavarian would agree to that. It confirms that Prussian men are hen pecked.
    Here are sources for both arguments:

    1. Herodotus called the habits of the Egyptians strange where the men piss sitting and the women standing up.

    Coming from Munich, the “Athens of the Isar River” we agree with the Greeks.

    2. But your girls have a fatwa to support their argument:

    Fatwa No : 84910
    Urinating while standing
    Fatwa Date : 16 Rajab 1423 / 23-09-2002
    Is it approved to urinate while standing up?
    Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

    It is proved from Ayisha (Radiya Allahu Anha) that she said: “If some relates to you that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) urinated while standing, do not believe him.
    He (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) only urinated while sitting” [ Ahmad , al-Tirmizi , al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah ]. al-Tirmizi ‘s comment is ‘It is the best and the most authentic narration on this point’ .
    However, the following narration disagrees with above-Hadith. Huzaifah (Radiya Allahu Anhu) relates that “The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) went to a public garbage dump and urinated standing” [Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim ].
    al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar brought the two narrations into agreement saying: ‘What Ayisha said is based on the knowledge that she had. Then, we think that such narration is related to what happened within the house’ .
    On the other hand, the other narration relates to what happened outdoors. So, such narration was recorded by Huzaifah , who was one of the seniors of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam)’s companions.
    As a result, there is no harm to pass urine standing or sitting.

    Markus the Bavarian

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