I love watching and observing people. I find human beings so fascinating because no two people are alike. Everyone has their own way of doing things and it’s interesting to watch others go about their business.

One trend that I’ve observed with my return to college has taken place in the men’s room. The young guys don’t use the urinals. Instead, they opt to go into a stall and do their thing there. I’ll walk into one of the college bathrooms and there’ll be a line of men waiting for the stalls but rarely will someone be using the assortment of urinals lining the wall.

Why is this?

I’m no Jaime Sommers but I have decent hearing, so I can hear the guys unzipping and peeing. I don’t hear their pants hit the floor like they’re getting ready to squat or anything (and I’m certainly not watching) so it’s obvious that these guys are choosing to go behind closed doors to do the same thing I used to do against a tree in the front lawn (until my father taught me to use the back lawn).

I guess I’ve never been pee shy so that’s why I don’t understand. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy public bathrooms by any stretch of the imagination. They’re usually frighteningly dirty and as a clueless gay man I’m always afraid that I’m unintentionally giving out some secret signal to some not-so-clueless gay man who thinks I’m stomping, coughing or waving an intended advance when in fact all I want to do is pee. When I walk into a men’s room at a rest area or whatever I’m always sure not to cough, not to clear my throat and to keep my junk squarely aimed at it’s target. I’m not sharing. Not there.

This streak of modesty among my fellow male students has piqued my curiousity though. What happened in my generation that is causing us to teach our offspring that peeing in a urinal is bad? Is it low self esteem? Were we too free in the 80s and now the pendulum is swinging back to some weird Victorian age when it comes to bathroom habits?

I find it very interesting.