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Zettel Film Reviews » Stand-up Guys – Humour: lavatorial, stand-up guys, we can’t take this sitting down

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Stand-up Guys – Humour: lavatorial, stand-up guys, we can’t take this sitting down

can't miss - won't miss

can't miss - won't miss

Stand Up Guys – Zettel (Humour)

(By way of a change – and a rest from the movies)

This piece is a little vulgar, indelicate, indeed at times it may border on the coarse. But in a good way. For this dear reader, I must ask your indulgence and good will, as none of this is gratuitous. Our subject is one of profound anthropological and psychological importance and seriously under-researched. Think more Margaret Mead than Benny Hill.

This analysis has been prompted by a recent report from Germany. Endlessly inventive, this nation of master engineers has reached the final frontier of domestic plumbing. In response it seems, to the seething discontent of German womanhood, the country’s male innovators have come to the rescue: yes folks, sorry but we are talking toilets; or if you poshly prefer it, lavatories.

The arcane mysteries of lavatory seat etiquette have never excited my interest beyond a gentlemanly hygienic thoughtfulness and respect for the position of others – so to speak. Now our German cousins’ solution to this age-old dilemma, efficiently technological, has raised the stakes by lowering the seat. Any German male standing up for himself in time-honoured fashion against this modern marvel, will find he is castigated mercilessly by an electronic voice emanating from the seat of the problem that apparently nags him until he agrees to lower himself into a more submissive position literally and metaphorically. Today Germany, tomorrow the world: a vastly under-valued aspect of male self-respect and anthropological diversity is under serious threat. OK guys: time to stand up and be counted; we can’t take this sitting down.

Perhaps the best argument for the assumption that the Great Plumber in the sky has at least a little male bias is the vastly more convenient and elegant design of male versus female plumbing; as any woman caught short between petrol stations driving in the countryside will surely attest, even if testily. This is merely an objective observation of hydrology and anatomical grace rather than a value-laden issue of gender. After all, one might say that the Great Plumber had higher things in mind when designing this aspect of female anatomy. So be it; we guys don’t have it all our own way; after all we are uniquely cursed with that sneaky little anatomical bugger – the prostate – who like an over-tired child, only begins to really act up at just the time when we are too worn out and lacking in energy to fight back.

Sorry guys, but if we are to win this one we will just have to lift the lid on a few things. The Magicians’ Magic Circle is positively expansive about its esoteric craft in comparison to men’s solidarity of silence about their always interesting, sometimes surreal, occasionally infantile, behaviour in the gents’ lav. Have no fear dear reader, mathematically, these revelations will not proceed beyond the number 1 and will gratefully avoid any reference to what the geeky little guy in Ally McBeal euphemistically used to call ‘debris’. Mixed loos? Give me a break.

All good science begins with classification; it’s methodological stablemate – measurement – given the context, must perhaps be put on hold….er…. this is a semantic minefield. So let us enter, with objective, rigorously detached scientific intent and due respect for Mother Nature (notch that one up for the girls), the ultimate male inner sanctum and sort out a few types and groups.

The Desperado

We all fall into this one sometime. Characteristics: leans his head on an arm, sometimes both, in the ultimate prostration of relief, propping himself up against the wall. Not even a terminally de-hydrated wanderer in the desert finding an unexpected oasis, could match the overwhelming sense of relief the shaking body of the Desperado displays. There are behavioural variations, many let the intensity of relief simply wash out of them in a profoundly grateful silence. Others perhaps more extrovert by nature, may express their feeling at the ecstasy of release with cries of “Oh my God, I needed that” or “At last! I must have driven the last 5 miles at about 90 miles and hour.” Others, just as heartfelt, but a tad less articulate, will simply utter a series of moans which make the oft-expressed conclusion of a somewhat different activity with the same part of the anatomy, seem positively reticent.

The Hands Free

A kind of insouciant smugness is the defining characteristic of the Hands Free. (Of course ‘cockiness’ is the precisely correct word but on grounds of delicacy, must in this instance be eschewed). Hands Frees fall into two distinct categories: the first a positive delight, may accompany his brief performance with a few nonchalantly whistled strains of Beethoven’s Pastoral or something tastefully melodic from the current charts depending on musical taste. Personally I find ‘Colonel Bogie’ a bit disconcerting but it is a popular accompaniment and perhaps helps to get the job done with quite impressive brio, as long as not accompanied by the over-ambitious both-hands-on-the-head stance of the poseur. We might call this the introvert Hands Free: in a private world of his own, disturbing no one. Adjacency no problem. However, the extrovert Hands Free is to be avoided at all cost: he is not so much Hands Free as “Look Mum – no hands”. Never, ever stand beside the LMNH unless you happen to be popping in for a quick leak, fully kitted up before going to launch the local lifeboat. The LMNH is utterly oblivious and indifferent to anything going on below his waist and in his boredom, will intrude brusquely into the privacy of your own private little ritual. Any topic will do: football and cars figure often, or even an account of his recent experience as a romantic dumper or worse, dumpee. Treat him like a terrorist: simply do not turn to catch his eye. Distract him in the slightest and his performance will be transformed instantly from a harmless, uni-directional tap into something akin to a myopic gardener watering a rather precious flower bed after a 6 week drought.

The Competitor

Best advice here: watch (discreetly) from a distance. Usually still in the first flush of his youthful hydraulic powers, the Competitor sees this simple basic function as with everything else in life, as a challenge. The postage stamp sized triangles of vitreous enamel cost conscious modern architects are pleased to call urinals, are just made for the Competitor. Not only do they challenge his power and accuracy, but he can even take the odd step back to increase the distance of the target and therefore the degree of difficulty. These guys dream of peeing for England.

The Happy Wanderer

Nuff said. And alcohol is no excuse.

The Artist

Yes, I know, we can all pick an apposite adjective. Now you at the back, get over it and let’s get on with the serious business in hand – as we might say. The Artist is one of my favourites, indeed in an idle moment, caught short after a heavy fall of snow, I have been known to…. well enough of that, perhaps I share too much. (Suffice to say that at such times it helps to have a name like ‘IAN’ rather than say ‘ALGERNON’). Like all artists our hero is limited only by the raw materials available. Many of the Artist’s more subtle techniques are developed by precision practices: hitting the hole in the disinfectant block by his foot three times in a row; chasing a cigarette butt around the bowl, or better, making exquisite transient water patterns by opposing the downward streams of water from the flushing system. But the Artist’s Holy Grail, the situation that brings out the best in him (sic) is when disinfectant powder has been freshly sprinkled. Here is the blank canvass that the Artist craves and intricate patterns, spirals and abstract shapes emerge for a precious ephemeral moment upon the gleaming white base before being washed away in a cruelly indifferent post-modern flush of water. Ah, the ineffable transience of Art and beauty. Andy Goldsworthy eat your heart out.

The Aprostate

A sad case. Worthy of your discreet sympathy but never, pity. The Aprostate has not willingly renounced anything, neither faith nor self-belief. Rather, speed and power have renounced him. The proud rush of the summer flood has given way to the desultory trickle of a dry, unforgiving Autumn. The gently lengthening shadows of toilet twilight. Though he must go gently, he resists that good night with an admirable stoicism. He it is we may see, rebelling against the inevitability of his fate, equipped with a slim volume of poetry or a pocket Wisden to sustain himself though the inescapable longeurs of middle aged micturation. Do not mock with the callous thoughtlessness of youth, for all must face their inevitable masculine fate of the night time ‘landing relay’.

There are other types and kinds dear reader but I will not encourage anti-social abominations like: how high on the wall; drive all the disinfectant blocks to one end; and the endless diversions of the sparkling fountains under fluorescent lighting etc etc. And sadly there is no space here to go into ‘endgames’: from the aggressive ‘take that’ shake, the re-iterated finger flip or the two footed jump and jiggle. These are worthy of a study in their own right.

I hope respected reader; fellow male, German and or female; you may now concede what a richness of masculine behavioural diversity would be lost to posterity should we lower ourselves so far as to bottom out in sacrificed self-respect. Like little boys we still love to play. But it is one of our slightly more endearing qualities, don’t you think?

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