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05 February 2008

A Fly in The, uh, Urinal?

Summary: The Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam has urinals that have a fly painted in the bowl. Men pee on the housefly painting and, um, 'spills' and 'misses' are reportedly a thing of the past. Except for people suffering from entomophobia I'm sure. Those dudes probably spray all over in a panic.

To many, the fly-in-the-urinal tactic is human factoring at its finest. Or at least at its most basic. In a city that is home to Heineken (yeah baby!) who provides the world with 51,841,000,000 mugs of beer each year, perhaps the urinals were so over worked to begin with that the fly trick was merely one of a long line of tactics to keep the recycled grog from ending up on the floor.

Previously, I waxed philosophic about my favorite toilet game when I was a kid. Two teen boys with hurried schedules, a bathroom with poor lighting and a small diameter toilet bowl spelled trouble at our house. Our mother gave my brother and me each Potty Pot Shots and at least I know I have been the equivalent of a laser beam since then (just smile and nod, Tonya!). In part because there was something in it for me: a winning strike against a floating enemy combatant, who curled at the ends and sank like Britney's singing career. Man, was that fun.

As we discussed before, we - the global we - keep doing things because we receive some measure of reward (which we like) and stop doing things which aren't rewarding (which we don't like). Human nature folks.

So while the clever Amsterdamians (yes, I made that up) came up with an awfully creative way to keep us men focused on the bowl for a few seconds....I can see where it can also backfire. For the men who need that reward, what's keeping them from scraping the enamel off with their Bic pen trying to liberate the 'fly' from its spot where a simple urine stream will not? After all most men need not just a spirit of competition and a worthy target to shoot at, literally, but also a righteous reward must be in the mix if the behavior has any hope of, you know, sticking.

So, assuming that the stories are true and that the fly is a successful 'magnet' for our urinary attention...what does it say about our male psyche?

And what is the female equivalent?


Kat Wilder said...

I'm not so sure the fly is there to reward a man's competitive edge; More likely, somewhere, there's a mother who got so tired of cleaning the spills, splashes and "oops!" that she created a way to make it all go away!

Wish it had been me!

Michael M. said...

Clearly, the brains behind this was a mom, janitor (or both)...but not a fly.

Not sure how much mileage the fly invention got though, because ABC gum (already been chewed) in the bottom of a urinal does essentially the same thing!

Stay tuned for a post on "inventions" I am saving for a rainy day.

Deb in OPKS said...

To quote Elaine from Seinfeld "I don't know how you guys walk around with those things." (or something like that.

Michael M. said...

Seinfeld rocks. And those things are not entirely useless, as writing our name in the snow is a gift, dontchathink? :)