Horst Fascher and the Early Beatles
From Minsk to Mönchengladbach

An Essay on the Nature of Human Urination

In the English-speaking world, a conspiracy of silence and shame has long suppressed researching into the question of how men and women urinate.  In the Anglo-Saxon world, nobody seems to have perceived the need to devote a great deal of attention to the act of excreting urine. 

Leave it to the Germans, who combine a horrifying refreshing frankness about bodily functions with a boring obsession with the mundane aspects of everyday life a scientifically rigorous and historically-informed approach to questions of human urination.  This subject, evidently, is far too important to be left to the urologists and perverts.  Thus we have Standing While you Pee: The Last Bastion of Masculinity?  Identity and Power in a an Everyday Masculine Event, published in 2000, in which Klaus Schwerma delivers 144 more pages than we wanted to know about this subject. 

The blurb first notes that, apparently, German men sometimes do not have a slash with optimum accuracy, and for decades expected their women to clean up the resulting urine-splattered bathrooms without complaint.  Empowered by the women's liberation movement, the women revolted, and ordered their men to sit down while bleeding the lizard.  Whereupon certain men launched a pro-standing-up-while-peeing counterrevolution.  (Remember, this is a social democracy with high unemployment -- people have lots of time on their hands here.)

Let's pick up the blurb from there, in my translation:

The vehemence with which some men have stood by and defended standing-while-peeing prompts one to suspect that this dispute is about something more than familiar habits and comfort.  Is standing-while-peeing an act of masculine idenfication, a symbolic exercise of power, an exercise of patriarchal power against women, a demonstration of the claims of masculinity and (phallic) male fantasies?  Is standing while you pee an expression of masculinity?

In one of the few scientific studies on the theme of standing while you pee, Klaus Schwerma addresses the subject from the standpoints of social-scientific, psychological-psycholanalytic, and political-science analysis.  At the same time, he describes and analyzes current everyday life and everyday contexts and social-cultural contexts.  In his theoretical discourse, he dives in [so to speak -- tr.] to everyday life to see how these theoretical insights are realized.

According to my sources in the publishing industry, the book made quite a splash.