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View Full Version : When only public bathrooms are available, do women act on their urge quicker than men?


Leo Bloom
07-05-2012, 02:10 PM
Very often when I'm on line to get into the bathroom for a pee, I see the inevitably longer line of women waiting to get into their bathroom.

I understand the reasons for this and I always feel bad for the women.

I've thought of this on line, sometimes while trying like hell to hold it in, and thinking about similar cases w/ women:

I will assume men and women have the same pee flow rate, and the reasons for the line is the whole chick clothing up-and-downing thing, etc.

Now, all people have internalized a "should-I-stay or should-go-now" clock regarding to their urge and the distance, expected crowd, or other factors having to do with the restroom.

This has lead me to believe that women react to far less insistent urge ("vesical pressure", as Joyce put it)--or_should_--to make their way towards the bathroom, whereas men can put off the decision till later.

Comments? I actually have thought of this often, having bladder troubles of my own.

Inner Stickler
07-05-2012, 02:19 PM
I thought about something similar last week when I was at a bar that had 2 unisex bathrooms instead of a mens and a womens and I had to wait a not inconsiderable amount of time to pee. By the end of the wait, I really regretted putting it off as long as I had.

In an interesting inversion, both bathrooms opened up at the same time when I was 3rd in line. A man went into one and two women in the other. The two women emerged first to much wonderment of the crowd.

TriPolar
07-05-2012, 02:22 PM
My observation is that women will hold it until there's an acceptable place to go. So the line may be women who have been waiting awhile. Either they just got there, or they've been waiting for a while and the passage of time has made the facilities more acceptable.

A local establishment I frequent is known for it's clean lady's room (disuse makes it easier to keep clean I guess). Late at night women will begin to show up following their adventures elsewhere so they can have a clean, safe place to take care of matters.

In addition, even the smallest men's rooms usually have a toilet and a urinal, while the lady's have only the toilet and are used individually. Besides the extra steps involved if you can't do it standing up, I assume women usually wash better than men (at least I hope so), and spend more time in front of the mirror.

TriPolar
07-05-2012, 02:28 PM
As a slight hijack, are they men's and lady's rooms, or mens and ladies rooms?

canadiankorean
07-05-2012, 02:31 PM
I always figured that it takes more time for women to go pee.
Woman: Put away purse, clean toilet seat, take off pants/lift skirt, etc.
Man: Walk to urinal, unzip, pee.
Maybe 4x more time vs men going to urinal

Don't forget that ppl do #2 also.
Perhaps they should have 50% of the women's stalls labelled as express (Pee only).

RealityChuck
07-05-2012, 03:11 PM
Often there are fewer facilities in the women's rest room, since toilets take up more space that urinals. It's also more complicated for women to get ready to use a toilet.

Nava
07-05-2012, 03:27 PM
I will assume men and women have the same pee flow rate, and the reasons for the line is the whole chick clothing up-and-downing thing, etc.

Nope. While average bladder size is about the same, women also need to go to the bathroom to change/empty higienic products (as well as the aforementioned #2, but let's assume the same rate for that one in both sexes), are more likely to have UTIs (one of whose symptoms is a need to urinate frequently) and, due partly to shorter urethras and partly to complications derived from vaginal delivery, more likely to suffer from urine retention issues. And those who retain liquids right before their periods need to go to the bathroom a lot of times during their periods, to pee that excess liquid.

TruCelt
07-05-2012, 03:28 PM
If I'm at a large concert or something I will often go before I really need to; this prevents "having" to go during a break when the lines are long. I'll also go before the end in order to avoid the inevitable TP extinction event.

LawMonkey
07-05-2012, 03:57 PM
As a slight hijack, are they men's and lady's rooms, or mens and ladies rooms?

I vote men's and ladies'.

TerpBE
07-05-2012, 04:34 PM
As a slight hijack, are they men's and lady's rooms, or mens and ladies rooms?

The plural of man is men.

The plural of lady is ladies.

The possessive form of those are men's and ladies'

It drives me nuts when I'm in a department store and see a sign on the wall that says "MENS". That's not a word.

TriPolar
07-05-2012, 04:55 PM
The plural of man is men.

The plural of lady is ladies.

The possessive form of those are men's and ladies'

It drives me nuts when I'm in a department store and see a sign on the wall that says "MENS". That's not a word.

Yeah, sorry, I picked poor alternates. I was just wondering if it's meant to be plural or possesive, or both.

thelurkinghorror
07-05-2012, 05:11 PM
My take. I don't notice much difference in pee willingness, it seems (confirmation bias) that women need to go more often, except it places like the woods where men feel more comfortable walking fifty paces and then just going.

When men go to the bathroom, they want to go in, pee, and get out. No talking to the guy next to you, no eying his shoes. Women often treat it as a social event, to talk about their dates, tell secrets a friend told. The other women in line just have to go, and are sneaking glances at the mens' room door and contemplating sneaking in there when it's not in use.

Rachellelogram
07-05-2012, 07:33 PM
The plural of man is men.

The plural of lady is ladies.

The possessive form of those are men's and ladies'

It drives me nuts when I'm in a department store and see a sign on the wall that says "MENS". That's not a word.
I know, right? Every time I see the phrase "Mens Department," I think I'm in the mind's section (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens) of the store. :eek: What the hell is that!? Minds don't wear clothes! I mean, occipital camisoles? amygdala miniskirts? That apostrophe is absolutely necessary to remove any ambiguity as to what section of the store I'm in!! How stupid can you GET? :mad:

...

Okay, not really. It's a retail sign, not a research paper in the field of apostrophical studies. This is SUCH a common mistake that many educated people still don't know which form is proper. Men's? Mens'? Mens? Menses (okay, maybe not (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menses))? It's so low on the scale of annoying signage as to not even register on my radar.

You did remind me of a good story about "skin milk," though. :D

SeaDragonTattoo
07-05-2012, 08:16 PM
My own observational bias is that men have an enormously smaller tolerance for "holding it." Living in a big city and taking public transportation every day has led me to this conclusion and I doubt there's anything anyone can say to make me change my mind. I couldn't hope to count the number of guys I've seen pissing behind dumpsters and on train platforms - and why the hell they can't at least go to the end of the platform and piss off the edge is beyond me. Oh no, they have to piss ON something, like a steel support post, so others have to walk over, around, or through it.

I make what I believe to be a 90% correct assumption whenever I see a wet spot on a sidewalk, especially next to a wall, it's not drainage from a previous rain, it's not air conditioner runoff, it's not a spilled drink. It's likely piss from a weak-bladdered dude.

There's one particular dumpster in the alley behind the nearest El stop to my home. I bust a guy pissing behind that dumpster at least twice a week. I've made an amusing pastime for myself by pulling out my flashlight and shining it at them. They either run away, apologize, act like they're not suddenly well lit, or beg me not to call the police. (my favorite is the dick-flapping running and trying to tuck and zip. gives me a giggle fit every time) Since I'm just one person making one trip home once a day, I can't imagine how many dudes actually piss there every day. There must be gallons of piss soaked into the strip of dirt behind that dumpster. Disgusting. And seriously, how far from home/destination could they possibly be? 10 minutes, tops?

Lukeinva
07-05-2012, 08:24 PM
There aren't as many appliances in women's room - compared to the men's. So the men's room can handle a greater number of men - compared to the women's.

It's called batch processing.

thelurkinghorror
07-05-2012, 08:28 PM
My own observational bias is that men have an enormously smaller tolerance for "holding it." Living in a big city and taking public transportation every day has led me to this conclusion and I doubt there's anything anyone can say to make me change my mind. I couldn't hope to count the number of guys I've seen pissing behind dumpsters and on train platforms - and why the hell they can't at least go to the end of the platform and piss off the edge is beyond me. Oh no, they have to piss ON something, like a steel support post, so others have to walk over, around, or through it.

Well yeah, but it's also because they can. Women are usually shyer about that kind of thing, plus it takes longer and requires pulling pants down further. Men can give a quick glance over each shoulder, whip it out, pee, and zip up. In other words, tolerance for holding it can't be assessed on this measure alone.

Also, the guys that you are seeing peeing in public aren't going because they're in pain because they have to go so back, and they checked, like, three places, and the gas station was closed, and McDonalds said they had to buy a coffee first, but they only had $0.11. They're doing it because something is probably wrong with their heads. Although I have seen at least one chemically and/or neurochemically impaired homeless woman peeing right out in the open.

SciFiSam
07-05-2012, 08:33 PM
My own observational bias is that men have an enormously smaller tolerance for "holding it."

Me too, though for less unsavoury reasons. If I'm in a mixed-gender group at a pub the men will go to the loo much more frequently than the women.

It's not that women can't hold it in so well. If you had fewer peeing places to choose from (cubicles take up more space than urinals) and had to remove clothing to pee, you'd take longer to go too. Plus the other stuff Nava mentions. So there's a queue.

Checking your make-up, washing your hands, etc, doesn't cause the queue, since that happens outside the cubicle.

brainstall
07-05-2012, 08:42 PM
Yes, well, if I know there is going to be a long line-up for the women's washroom, I don't wait until my back teeth are floating to wander over there, so the OP is correct, I will respond sooner to the urge if I think I'm going to have to wait in line.

On a personal note, men are sometimes surprised at how quickly I am in and out of a public restroom. That would be because I don't have makeup to fix and a hairdo to arrange and just get in and get done what needs to be done. Really not that big of a deal.

gallan
07-05-2012, 09:09 PM
On a personal note, men are sometimes surprised at how quickly I am in and out of a public restroom. That would be because I don't have makeup to fix and a hairdo to arrange and just get in and get done what needs to be done. Really not that big of a deal.

This is part of the conundrum for me. Women's restrooms at major events often have enormously long lines, and yet I've observed that despite numerous jokes on the subject, women often "handle their business" as fast, if not faster than men. So I tend to think along the lines of the OP, that women just take the opportunity more often than men.

Here's something to think about. I'm currently in the middle of potty training a toddler, and I've read over and over and heard from many different "experts" on the subject, that girls on average potty train much faster than boys, often a full year ahead of the average boy, and that the average girl stops wetting her bed a year or two faster than the average boy. I wonder if there's any corrolation.

Leo Bloom
07-05-2012, 09:25 PM
Nope. While average bladder size is about the same, women also need to go to the bathroom to change/empty higienic products (as well as the aforementioned #2, but let's assume the same rate for that one in both sexes), are more likely to have UTIs (one of whose symptoms is a need to urinate frequently) and, due partly to shorter urethras and partly to complications derived from vaginal delivery, more likely to suffer from urine retention issues. And those who retain liquids right before their periods need to go to the bathroom a lot of times during their periods, to pee that excess liquid.
Interesting. Ignorance fought.

Leo Bloom
07-05-2012, 09:30 PM
This is part of the conundrum for me. Women's restrooms at major events often have enormously long lines, and yet I've observed that despite numerous jokes on the subject, women often "handle their business" as fast, if not faster than men. So I tend to think along the lines of the OP, that women just take the opportunity more often than men...l.
But the lines still are relatively longer...Eppur si non mueve.

What you're saying is that the lines are longer, but (broadly speaking) the women on the lines arrive with a lesser urgency? So they waste more time on line, but are not squirming as much as would men on similar queues?

(I'm aware that upthread it was suggested that men do go more often than women....)

gallan
07-05-2012, 10:04 PM
Well what I was trying to say was simply that I think women go more often than men when they know there won't be an opportunity to go later. The theory I hear most often is that women take longer because they're fixing their make-up or have more complicated clothing or because there are fewer stalls or because they stop and chat. That just hasn't been my observation though. Having stood outside countless women's rooms waiting for friends/relatives/girlfriends/dates/etc, I've noticed that women don't really spend that much more time than men when using a public restroom during an event where a line may form.

Just as an example, a few weeks ago I was at an opera with a pretty packed house, and during intermission, most women lined up at the restroom. Men, on the other hand, were divided. Most either stayed in their seats, waited outside the women's room for someone, or lined up at the bar. The line at the women's room moved fairly quickly, but there were far more women who headed to the bathroom than there were men. So my opinion, based solely on my own observations, is that men tend to think, "I can hold it" while women tend to think, "I should go now."

panache45
07-06-2012, 12:05 AM
Some of you guys are clearly not old enough to have prostate problems. Everything changes.

even sven
07-06-2012, 12:06 AM
When there is a crowd, it only takes a small number of slow bathroom-goers to cause a back up. It's kind of like a traffic jam, in that small delays can compound into a big jam that persists long after the triggering event. If one out of twenty women is doing something complicated, that might be enough to cause a problem.

I'm not sure women are more likely to go to avoid lines, but I think they will go if they anticipate there won't be an acceptable place to go in the future. For example, if I'm walking home a couple miles at night, I might do a safety pee, where a guy might figure he can pee in a park en route if it comes up.

ScarletNumber
07-06-2012, 12:43 AM
why the hell they can't at least go to the end of the platform and piss off the edge is beyond me.

Because what they are doing is illegal.

bengangmo
07-06-2012, 01:04 AM
he can pee in a park en route if it comes up.

Hmmm...if it "comes up" I don't think peeing is much of an option....:D:D

bengangmo
07-06-2012, 01:08 AM
Because what they are doing is illegal.

So's peeing against a pillar - if it's a case of one or the other, which is better?

SeaDragonTattoo
07-06-2012, 01:22 AM
Because what they are doing is illegal.

Um. So doing it where someone can see you, since it's illegal, and where you leave evidence, is better than going to the end of the platform where there are no trains stopping or passengers walking/waiting and going off the edge so there's no puddle. OK. Got it.

I wish I could say the guys I've busted doing this were homeless or ill, but the vast majority are not. Of course there have been a couple, but most of them are just regular guys you wouldn't look twice at, looking otherwise like anyone else on their way home or to visit someone in the neighborhood.

I don't mess with ones who look homeless, with the flashlight trick - but seriously that's been maybe two in the two years I've lived down the alley from those dumpsters. On the train platform, I just point at the nearest camera and tell them to "smile!"

Nava
07-06-2012, 01:35 AM
Also, the guys that you are seeing peeing in public aren't going because they're in pain because they have to go so back, and they checked, like, three places, and the gas station was closed, and McDonalds said they had to buy a coffee first, but they only had $0.11. They're doing it because something is probably wrong with their heads. Although I have seen at least one chemically and/or neurochemically impaired homeless woman peeing right out in the open.

The ones I see are doing it because they're rude pigs. A portapotty two hundred meters away, a bit further what may be the only row of restaurants/bars in Barcelona where toilets aren't "customers only", and they have to irrigate the bushes?

(Sagrada Familia square, Barcelona)

SeaDragonTattoo
07-06-2012, 01:37 AM
(Don't worry, sven, I'm not mixing you up with the newbie)

I'm not sure women are more likely to go to avoid lines, but I think they will go if they anticipate there won't be an acceptable place to go in the future. For example, if I'm walking home a couple miles at night, I might do a safety pee, where a guy might figure he can pee in a park en route if it comes up.

This is part of why I've come to the conclusion that dudes have less bladder holding power, though. It if were the other way around and a woman didn't do a "safety pee" because, let's face it, that's not always available, she will still be able to hold it until she gets home rather than piss behind a bush. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I've been known to seek a bush or dumpster on rare occasion, but I can count the times on one hand in my 41 years. I don't know a single man who could possibly give even a ballpark figure on how many times he's peed outside of a toilet/urinal/bathroom/"acceptable" peeing place.

Whether it's right or wrong, in my head, men have a much more urgent need to go when it hits, and can't seem to hold it for long after the urge strikes. Possibly it's a training issue they never have to address. They don't crowd the bathrooms at intermission because they can just let loose in the parking lot, side of the road, at a stoplight, in a bottle, whatever, on the way home.

Measure for Measure
07-06-2012, 02:42 AM
The ones I see are doing it because they're rude pigs. A portapotty two hundred meters away, a bit further what may be the only row of restaurants/bars in Barcelona where toilets aren't "customers only", and they have to irrigate the bushes? Heck in the US, I'd be happy if they irrigated the bushes. It would be less odorous than peeing on the sidewalk or other hard surfaces.

I used to live in back of a gas station. Guys would regularly pee on the wall rather than ask the station attendant for a key to the facilities.

gallan
07-06-2012, 04:21 AM
This is part of why I've come to the conclusion that dudes have less bladder holding power, though. It if were the other way around and a woman didn't do a "safety pee" because, let's face it, that's not always available, she will still be able to hold it until she gets home rather than piss behind a bush.

Couldn't at least a little bit of this be attributed to the logistical difficulties associated with a woman peeing without a toilet available? Not that I think it's terribly difficult, but it is certainly more difficult than the process a man has to go through to pee without a toilet, and it seems to me that a woman would be much more exposed and have a diminished reaction time if caught, compared to a man. So perhaps for some men it's not so much an inability to hold it, but an unwillingness to hold it when it would be easier not to, while with women it's easier and less risky to just hold it until they get home? It just seems odd to conclude that men can't hold it because they sometimes choose not to. That's like concluding that women are less capable of getting a job because the number of women who choose to be stay-at-home parents is significantly greater than the number of men. In both cases, you're making assumptions about ability without regard for preference.

Besides, even if some guys pee in inappropriate places, regardless of the reason, I don't understand the assumption that this is something common among all or even most men. I, for one, can count on zero hands the number of times I've peed in an "unacceptable" peeing place. I'm a 31-year-old male and I have never peed behind a dumpster, or at a bus stop, or on a bush that wasn't in the woods while camping. I'm willing to concede that perhaps it happened when I was a small child, but if so, I don't recall. And there have certainly been lots of times when I've thought, "Hey, I should just pee on that tree in the middle of the park instead of waiting to get to a bathroom" but not once have I ever acted on that impulse. I honestly never realized that there were non-homeless men who did, but then again, I've never lived in a big city.

LouisB
07-06-2012, 04:35 AM
I have seen women jump the line for men's rooms, announce themselves and use the stalls in the men's room since most of us are using the urinals, making the stalls superfluous. In my experience such incursions have never been met with anything other than good humored acceptance; i have often wondered why more women don't just Bogart their way into men's rooms, do what they need to do and leave. Seems like a good idea to me.

AaronX
07-06-2012, 05:27 AM
I don't mess with ones who look homeless, with the flashlight trick - but seriously that's been maybe two in the two years I've lived down the alley from those dumpsters. On the train platform, I just point at the nearest camera and tell them to "smile!"

Maybe a camera flash would have a better effect.

bengangmo
07-06-2012, 06:33 AM
Couldn't at least a little bit of this be attributed to the logistical difficulties associated with a woman peeing without a toilet available? Not that I think it's terribly difficult, but it is certainly more difficult than the process a man has to go through to pee without a toilet, and it seems to me that a woman would be much more exposed and have a diminished reaction time if caught, compared to a man. So perhaps for some men it's not so much an inability to hold it, but an unwillingness to hold it when it would be easier not to, while with women it's easier and less risky to just hold it until they get home? It just seems odd to conclude that men can't hold it because they sometimes choose not to. That's like concluding that women are less capable of getting a job because the number of women who choose to be stay-at-home parents is significantly greater than the number of men. In both cases, you're making assumptions about ability without regard for preference.

Besides, even if some guys pee in inappropriate places, regardless of the reason, I don't understand the assumption that this is something common among all or even most men. I, for one, can count on zero hands the number of times I've peed in an "unacceptable" peeing place. I'm a 31-year-old male and I have never peed behind a dumpster, or at a bus stop, or on a bush that wasn't in the woods while camping. I'm willing to concede that perhaps it happened when I was a small child, but if so, I don't recall. And there have certainly been lots of times when I've thought, "Hey, I should just pee on that tree in the middle of the park instead of waiting to get to a bathroom" but not once have I ever acted on that impulse. I honestly never realized that there were non-homeless men who did, but then again, I've never lived in a big city.

Really?

Do you drink?

I don't think I know even one guy who hasn't one time or another, ducked behind a tree in the park, hidden behind a dumpster or whatever.

I've certainly done it a few times

elfkin477
07-06-2012, 06:47 AM
I always figured that it takes more time for women to go pee.
Woman: Put away purse, clean toilet seat, take off pants/lift skirt, etc.

Pull down her pants, not take them off. At least baring an accident that requires changing your pants or maybe being too drunk to know what you're doing.

kayaker
07-06-2012, 06:59 AM
For guys there is also always the option of pissing in the bathroom sink.

Man, I need to hang out in classier bars.

wolfman
07-06-2012, 07:32 AM
A lot of the pissing in alley's is the difference in drinking habit. Guys are just much more likely to drink a gallon two of beer, and if it hits on the way home, then watering the walls it is.

Bozuit
07-06-2012, 07:46 AM
I have seen women jump the line for men's rooms, announce themselves and use the stalls in the men's room since most of us are using the urinals, making the stalls superfluous. In my experience such incursions have never been met with anything other than good humored acceptance; i have often wondered why more women don't just Bogart their way into men's rooms, do what they need to do and leave. Seems like a good idea to me.

I've never got this. Why is it more acceptable for women to sneak into men's toilets than the other way round? Women do all the embarrassing stuff behind closed doors but men don't get that luxury.

Nava
07-06-2012, 08:09 AM
I've never got this. Why is it more acceptable for women to sneak into men's toilets than the other way round? Women do all the embarrassing stuff behind closed doors but men don't get that luxury.

But it is not more acceptable, or not everywhere: it is more frequent, because it tends to happen when there is a line at the women's and not at the men's and there tends to be a line at the women's more frequently. I've seen guys come into the ladies' when their room was being cleaned; nobody said anything other than "me" in response to "who's last?" (this being in Spain, our queues tend to be nonlinear).

Darth Panda
07-06-2012, 08:33 AM
"who's last?" (this being in Spain, our queues tend to be nonlinear).

This makes Baby American Jesus cry.

thelurkinghorror
07-06-2012, 12:37 PM
But it is not more acceptable, or not everywhere: it is more frequent, because it tends to happen when there is a line at the women's and not at the men's and there tends to be a line at the women's more frequently. I've seen guys come into the ladies' when their room was being cleaned; nobody said anything other than "me" in response to "who's last?" (this being in Spain, our queues tend to be nonlinear).

I'd say it is more acceptable. 9 out 10 men (made up ratio) would be okay with a woman quietly doing her business in the bathroom. A male going into the women's bathroom quietly may just want to pee, but there is a societal pressure to see him as a pervert. And in truth, 9 out of 10 women may not have a problem, but people may assume that this is not so.

Most bars have narrow hallways. What does that look like in Spain (and Italy and China etc.)?

AuntPam
07-06-2012, 01:54 PM
Why is there a line at the women's john?
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinary_bladder

In particular, click on the Gray's Anatomy imeages (Umm Grey's? anyway...) for the male and female bladder size and locations.

Gosh. Women do NOT have the same bladder size as men--far less, in fact. I've read various statistics on this, but a fair number claim that women have 1/2 to 3/5 the average bladder capacity of men. Obviously, there's room for individual variation.

But the reason we always need to pee is simple: we DO, actually need to pee more often!

Leo Bloom
07-06-2012, 03:34 PM
For guys there is also always the option of pissing in the bathroom sink.

Man, I need to hang out in classier bars.
Women hop up and pee in the sink all the time. Ditto bathtub. Ditto, in a pinch, urinals.

Your second statement is debatable.:)

TruCelt
07-06-2012, 04:19 PM
Women are more liekly to be helping small children too. That's what holds up the big stalls for hours on end. . .

kayaker
07-06-2012, 05:07 PM
Women are more liekly to be helping small children too. That's what holds up the big stalls for hours on end. . .

Another reason to keep tykes out of bars.

pullin
07-08-2012, 07:38 AM
n/m (already covered)

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