For millions of German men it is masculinity’s last domain. But for their wives, girlfriends and partners, it is often the perennial bane of their domestic lives. The question is now: does a man have a legal right to do what comes naturally and pee standing up?
In Germany, the issue is certainly no matter for jokes. Lavatories in cafés, cinemas and even in private homes are often equipped with red light or “no entry” stickers ordering all male users not to pee im stehen – standing up. They often come complete with graphics showing men exactly how to manage the task of sitting urination.
Men have hit back with the term sitzpinkler, which implies that any man who urinates sitting down is a less of a man. Cartoonists have gone further and depicted men interpreting the “not standing” rule all too literally by lying on their backs on the floor while desperately trying to pee into the lavatory bowl.
But today a German court finally answered the question that has caused strife in Teutonic households for decades. It ruled that men can indeed enjoy the privilege of peeing standing up even though, as the male judge put it: “They must expect occasional rows with housemates.”
The Düsseldorf court’s decision came after a landlord tried to retain €1,900 (£1,440) from a tenant’s €3,000 deposit to pay for repairs to a marble lavatory floor which had allegedly “lost its sheen” by being regularly sprinkled with urine. Judge Stefan Hank insisted that male tenants could not be held to account for collateral damage in households and threw the case out. He said that lasting damage to marble floors from urine was virtually unknown.