So I’m standing, dick in hand, about to take a leak, when this guy stumbles in, and takes the urinal right next to me. There are seven or eight of them, so I’m like, what the fuck, where’s your urinal etiquette, but before I can say anything I’ve seized up, and he’s in full flow, looking at me, saying:

“I hate it when that happens.”

“Excuse me?”

He says, “When you can’t piss. There’s a word for it, isn’t there? Paru- pary- patty- osis or something. I get it every time I come out of a movie, you know, when the toilets are rammed because everyone’s been holding it in. I give up usually, go when I get home, and by then I’m absolutely bursting.”

I’m about to ask him to mind his own business and, anyway, what’s he doing looking at my dick, but before I can muster the courage to get it out, someone else stumbles in, and this guy beside me looks around and says, “Hey, Dave, what do you call it when you can’t piss?”

“Paruresis. Why?” and he takes the urinal the other side of me before saying: “This guy having problems?”

The first guy says, “Yeah,” shakes, zips himself up and heads over to the sink.

Dave says, “Bummer. You know what I do?”

I don’t reply, so he carries on: “I usually think about my girlfriend. Don’t know why, but if I picture her, I relax, and out it comes. There you go. Either that, or I distract myself by thinking about something I’ve got to do. I run through a list, you know, like in the morning I’ll go round Mike’s to get the money he owes me. Then I’ll go to the bookies. And before you know it, I’m pissing away.”

By this point, the first guy’s standing by the dryer, and Dave is just about done. He shakes and zips and turns around. Then he heads over to the sink, saying: “Course, it helps when there’s no one standing next to you too, eh, Phil?”

And Phil says: “Yeah. Forgot about that. If the urinals are full I always head to the cubicle.”

I look down at my dick and see nothing coming out, so I zip up and turn around to see both of them looking at me, Phil blocking the exit, Dave rubbing his hands together under the dryer.

I say, ”So why’d you stand right next to me then?” trying not to sound too pissed.

Phil crosses his arms, smiles and says, “Shits and giggles,” before Dave chimes in: “Yeah, and the guys that seize up are less likely to cause a fuss when we ask them for their wallets.”

~ fin ~

Stephen Mander is originally from Liverpool in the UK, but has lived and worked in Japan, Australia, Hungary, Slovakia, Syria and Vietnam. He currently lives in Jordan.