A piece of utilitarian art, usually composed of porcelain, which serves as a convenient disposal unit for the byproduct of that famous chemical equation: Caffeine + Time --> Code + Urine. This reaction is irreversible.

Not to be confused with the porcelain god.

Most urinals fall into three broad categories:

Full-length

Full-length urinals extend from below chest high all the way down to the floor and beyond. The drain is under floor level. You don't see many of these anymore, since installation involves altering the floor. In my opinion, the best kind. One size fits all, and you can stand as near or as far from the urinal as you want, without making a mess. Easy to clean, as there is little collateral damage. Also makes it easy to mop the floors, as you can mop into the urinals.

half-length

These are the predominant urinals found today. These are the ones that go from below chest height to about thigh length. Because of this, there is always one in kiddy-height (short urinal), reducing overall urinal capacity of the restroom. This is significant in smaller restrooms, where two useful urinals becomes one useful urinal, and the one everyone avoids. These urinals are cheaper to manufacture, and easier to install.

bowl-urinal

These abominations are urinals that pretend at being toilet bowls. They are similar in height to half-length urinals, but the shape is similar to that of a toilet bowl. It sticks out about two feet from the wall. The shape is totally stupid, as you can't really sit on it and take a crap. It may be some weak attempt at reducing collateral damage, but it hinders correct urinal usage, since standing too close results in contact between the urinal and the thighs - a definite no-no. These should all be replaced by regular half-length urinals.

Don't even get me started on trough-style urinals, and urinals without privacy dividers....

Urinals should always come in odd numbers. Incidentally, since discovering this I have discovered that urinals generally come in odd numbers. The reason: The Code.

The Code dictates that unless there are none available, a man should always leave a space of one urinal between another urinating man. Sweet, sweet homophobia. So it follows thus that all places that have urinals should have them in odd numbers as to maximize efficiency. This way no two men need pee next to each other until The Code needs to be broken.

While one could create greater spacing between urinals, or put up walls to prevent wandering eyes, I venture that The Code would ultimately prevail and men would just space themselves farther while pissing. Wouldn't you?

U"ri*nal (?), n. [L. urinal, fr. urina urine: cf. F. urinal.]

1.

A vessel for holding urine; especially, a bottle or tube for holding urine for inspection.

2.

A place or convenience for urinating purposes.

 

© Webster 1913.

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