Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sitting in Solidarity

My friend Emilio is learning how to pee standing up.

His father decided it was time.  He turned four a few weeks ago, and I guess it’s all part of becoming a man.

Emilio is the son of my chosen family niece Rachel and her husband Pierre.  Would love him to pieces no matter what, but since the first day he came over and crawled into the dog cage with “Mikibounce” (our two dogs are a single entity in his mind), he’s in pretty solidly in my “favorite people in the whole world” category.

Always looking for an opportunity to help my friends raise their children properly,  I asked  Pierre, who’s from Switzerland originally, if he was aware of the European movement to get men to sit when they pee.  And how the movement has turned Sitzpinkler (German for “Men who sit down to pee”) into heroes and Stehpinkler (“Men who stand up to pee”) into demons.  Is he sure, I asked Pierre, if he wants to go this route?

How you whiz (if you are a man), like more and more things these days,  has become political, in other words.  Used to be enlightened men were Klodeckelruntermacher (men who put the toilet seat down), and men who left it up were jerks.  Now it’s not enough to put the seat down, according to members of this feminist movement.  They shouldn’t be putting it up in the first place.  No need, you see, if they always sit to pee.  Such a habit would not only avoid ugly messes on the floor of the john; it would go a long way toward erasing an unnecessary gender distinction. 

Not so fast, say the Vive la difference!  crowd.  If God had wanted you to pee like a girl, he would have plumbed you differently.  God is not mocked there, fellah.  Stand and do it like a man.  Sitzpinkler in German has taken on a secondary meaning besides “a man who sits while pinkeling.”  It refers to a pantywaist.   A milksop.  Weakling.  Wuss.  Yellow Belly.  Cream puff.  Schlemiel.  Not a real man.

So what’s it going to be?  Go with the program and show gender solidarity?  Or grab your gun and kill you some venison for dinner?  (When’s the last time you saw a deer hunter squat to whiz?)

Slight digression here... Just can’t help it.   Opera fans will recognize the name of Madame Butterfly’s American lover as F. B. Pinkerton.  But did you know that in the German libretto the name is changed to Linkerton?  Now put on your thinking caps, boys and girls, and see if you can tell me why.  If you think it’s because opera houses didn’t want their audiences running to the john (or just giggling, maybe) every time his name is mentioned, you’re probably onto something.  Word associations can be powerful.

But seriously, folks.  Thank God we in America are not plagued by this latest European fad.  It’s bad enough the French have gone and elected a socialist president.  Imagine what the right wing will do when they get wind of the fact that Europeans are now teaching their little boys it’s better to wee sitting down. 

Some Europeans.  Some, like my good friend Pierre, are leaving the question open and simply providing the next generation with options.

There are always ways around the pitfalls of child-rearing, if you put your mind to it.

So much to think about when raising a kid...

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