Yesterday I finished The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters. I haven’t told you all about it, but there’s a lot of important and startling information there. I will tell you that, according to the author, Germans disapprove of men standing up to urinate, while Scandinavians like urinals for women. Women in the court of Marie Antoinette, we’re assured, peed standing up all the time, but I find it hard to see the advantage.

While searching for a picture of such a thing to share with you, I found this explanation of how they work: “Basically the urinals featured a protruding narrow bowl that the user was expected to straddle while facing the wall, having first lowered her panties and hiked up her skirt, whereupon she could do her thing. I’m not getting a good picture in my mind of how this was supposed to work, and frankly I don’t think I want to.”

I did find you a picture, ostensibly from a Texas college.

My understanding is that urinals in men’s restrooms speed things up (though I learned in the course of a recent project that modern men’s underwear no longer have flies, so the speed may be lessened). Urinals for women were supposed to speed things up in women’s restrooms, too.

Women are slower getting in and out of restrooms — enough so that buildings need to be designed with significantly more space for women’s restroom’s than for men’s. The reason — apart from having to deal with children and parcels more often than men do — is that women have to undress further than men. We also have to enter a stall, turn and close the door and figure out what to do with our purses, all of which probably adds up in the course of a day. It seems as though, even with a urinal such as the one pictures, the user would have to remover her underwear or pantyhose, and perhaps her trousers as well, all of which would take more time. What’s more, if the urinal is going to be in a stall rather than out in rows the way men’s rooms do it, there’s no savings in space and still the additional time involved in entering and securing the door.

So, yeah, I guess women and German men can’t use urinals. In other news, I went to bells at 6:00 last night, and then on to choir practice at the other church. We’re singing an antiphonal “Mirror of St. Anne” by Randall Thompson, some Vaughan Williams, a little Bach, and (by pastoral request, we’re told), “Morning Evening” by Steve Swayne.

The new pastor at my current church gives lightweight sermons, though she’s a very nice lady. They’re always based on a homely incident in her life as a mom, and have valuable though obvious lessons. She’s very sweet, though. The new pastor at the other church delivers deep sermons with lots of research. There’s also a Sunday school class studying Confessions of St. Augustine.

How bad is it to consider moving back to my old church for this sort of reason?