Paris Reflections: They Don’t Mind Seeing Men Pee

Continuing both on the Paris trip reflections and the toilet theme (since that seems significant when traveling abroad), I’m suspecting that people in Paris don’t mind seeing men pee. Bathroom privacy seems important for the most part, but in certain noticeable ways I found it lacking.

When at one café, I happened to visit the restroom. It was down in the basement, where there was a common sink room with a single stall room well separated therefrom. I didn’t use it, because there was actually a box on the door requiring .5 Euro before it would open. However, there was also an alcove just off the sink room separated by cowboy style swinging doors, that did not require any money. Inside the alcove was a urinal.

So they charged for the bathroom but only for a full toilet? If you used the urinal, you didn’t have much privacy. The doors only covered about two feet of the doorway when closed, pretty much chest (not the most private part when using a urinal) height. If you were using the urinal, you had to squish in there pretty good if you wanted those cowboy swinging doors to close. The alcove was pretty small. Otherwise, they stayed mostly open, held in such position at about a 45 degree angle or more by contacting your back.

So what was it? Did it not cost because you were trading for privacy? It cost .5 Euros unless people could at least partially watch you? I couldn’t be sure. I didn’t ask.

Another restaurant we went to was similar (bathroom upstairs instead of in the basement). There was again a common sink room connected to a privately separated stall room. The stall didn’t cost this time, but there was again a urinal alcove. However, there was no door at all this time.

Seriously, if someone came up into the sink room they walked right by the alcove where a bunch of men might have been using a urinal. No privacy at all.

I can only think that they don’t consider men peeing to be something private. Either that, or they want to look. Either way, I wasn’t entirely comfortable. Bathroom time is me time, not public time.


About David S. Atkinson

David S. Atkinson enjoys typing about himself in the third person, although he does not generally enjoy speaking in such a fashion. However, he is concerned about the Kierkegaard quote "Once you label me you negate me." He worries that if he attempts to define himself he will, in fact, nullify his existence...
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