Charismatically Uncharismatic

Try as I might, I can’t stop thinking about Adrian Chiles’ urinal. This man had a urinal (like, a urinal from the men’s room in a pub) installed in his flat.

Why can’t I rid myself of this brain worm? Well, as revelations go, it’s pleasingly Partridge. But, more specifically, it suits Chiles’ personality so perfectly that I can’t stop admiring it. It’s so charismatically uncharismatic.

I’d say it would be like learning that Adrian Chiles eats corned beef sandwiches for every single meal or that he prefers to eat them off a saw horse, but I can’t think of a joke example as unpredictable or as note-perfect as the reality.

A year after learning about this, the idea of installing a urinal in your flat has come to strike me as (and I can’t quite believe I’m saying this) a good idea.

None will be as surprised as I am about this. I dislike pub urinals for starters. I’m very much a cubicle user wherever possible and have long advocated for people with penises sitting to pee.

But my problem with urinals is not innate to the hardware but with what we might call the social element: I struggle to pee with an interested party standing next to me. I’m not ashamed to admit to shy bladder syndrome (SBS). I can’t understand how anyone might not have it. It’s the year of the iPhone 14 yet men are still expected to piss, shoulder to shoulder, into horse troughs.

Perhaps more importantly, my more general objection to the standing pee is, well, the spatter issue. Spend a day wearing short shorts and you’ll be surprised by how much human wazz fails to reach its intended target.

The spatter problem, I have only come to realise in this Chilesean age of urinary thought, is that I’m tall. The wee has a long way to go. What I need, if I’m to pee with minimal diversion, is a lavatory pan at wash basin height.

I’m not going to piss in the sink but, as luck would have it, someone has already invented a technology that could easily be installed at wash basin height. It’s called a urinal.

Chiles. Is. Right.


Another weird thing concerning bathrooms and being tall: I shaved kneeling down the other day.

The bathroom mirror was all steamed up from a shower. The steam had begun to clear but only a foot or so from the bottom so (instead of wiping the eye-level condensation away with a towel, which always leaves a mark on the mirror) I decided to kneel down.

At first it felt silly. Then it felt humbling, almost devotional. But once I’d got over this cocktail of emotions (and put a towel beneath my throbbing knees) the experience was a big improvement on what I now will call “a standing shave.”

Specifically, the improvement was that the sink was at the right height for me. I didn’t have to keep stooping down to rinse my blade.

While I might conceivably install a urinal (or a “Chiles pan” as we should call it in respect for the great innovator) I can’t very well install a five foot high wash basin. It would be impractical for the shorter person I live with and any number of Oompa Loompa friends who might pay me a visit, but also because I don’t think such hardware exists.

So: just as I might advocate for sitting down to pee, I now advocate for kneeling to shave. Which is a weird position to be in, really.

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