Thursday brought an advance in the cause of standing up to pee. A judge in the German city of Duesseldorf ruled in favor of a man suing his landlord for a full refund of his security deposit, which had been partially withheld because the marble floor of the tenant's bathroom had been damaged by uric acid, presumably from the errant urine of an upright person relieving himself.
"Someone who still practices this previously dominant custom is regularly confronted with significant disputes, particularly with female cohabitants," Judge Stefan Hank observed, according to AFP. "However normally he must not reckon with damage to the marble floor of a bathroom or guest toilet."
"Despite the increasing domestication of men in this area, urinating while standing up is indeed still common practice," Hank added.
Why, you might ask, is the judge referring to men urinating while standing up as a fading social phenomenon—a "previously dominant custom" undermined by the "increasing domestication of men?"
The dispute in Duesseldorf is actually part of a long-running debate in Germany over whether men should be encouraged to sit down when urinating. The controversy pits stehpinklers (men who stand up to pee) against sitzpinklers (men who sit down), and it has taken some bizarre twists over the years. In 2004, for example, The Telegraph reported that sitzpinkler had become a synonym for "wimp," and that a company had invented a gadget that attached to toilets and scolded stehpinklers when they lifted the seat. One admonition, in a voice mimicking that of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, declared, "Hey, stand-peeing is not allowed here and will be punished with fines, so if you don't want any trouble, you'd best sit down." Millions of the devices had been sold in German supermarkets.