Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Art - and Artistry - of Doing a Number 1 in Public...

I wasn't planning on writing a post today but 'inspiration' happens at the strangest times, in the strangest places and by the strangest sightings. This one definitely was begging to be blogged.

As a girl - and later as a woman - one was always taught that when performing a Number 1, angle and elevation should very much depend on the cleanliness and comfort where one was using. Of course it should under no circumstances be performed in public. All that was disputed by evidence earlier this week.

As I waited by the stoplights at the Osu Cemetery, I noticed a young woman peeing by the gate. She made no effort to hide the fact and any one passing couldn't help but notice. Out raged by the fact that this was being done in full public view it was only a couple seconds later that it then sank into my consciousness - she was standing upright! This was a reversal of gender roles. This was a indictment against all the good practices I had adopted over the years. This was against all the 'norms' I had been socialized into thinking. This was absolutely alarming and amazing at the same time! I was only jolted out of my reverie by the car horns honking behind me indicating that the lights had turned green.

Truthfully, I wanted to stop as I had a couple of questions that to this day I am still puzzling over:
  • What was/is the optimal positioning for clothes and limbs?
  • How does one deal with moisture control and the after effects of gravity?
  • How does one minimize the spatter effects on the lower parts of one's leg and shoes/slippers? and lastly
  • How does one effect the appropriate body language and composure to perform such a private act in a public place? and by the main cemetery gate at that?
Today's artistic interpretation of such a routine bodily function was performed by a man. Granted this is a more common and popular sight, though usually not artistic and just that much more blatant. In Jamaica, my usual response to such a sighting while driving, would be to honk my horn and wag my finger. I have given up doing this in Ghana as my wagging finger was really getting exhausted and showing signs that a couple more wags and it would be permanently frozen in that position. Given the fact that most men would respond with a smile, I also began to wonder if these men were of the belief that I was soliciting rather than rebuking. Anyway, I digress and back to what could best be described as the 'artistry' of this act.

I was inching my way through the traffic on the Spintex heading into town when I noticed a young man standing on the side of the road. He was a couple meters away when I first noticed him. He was turned at an angle to the road with one pant leg rolled all the way up his thigh - in effect his entire right leg was exposed. On approaching closer, I then realized that was not the only thing that was exposed. He was simply taking a pee. On finishing, in one smooth motion he shook his leg, effortlessly allowed his pants to drop back in place and continued his saunter. Amazing.

Linking the two sightings, I was also then reminded of a somewhat similar scene I saw on the outskirts of Tamale a couple years ago. A bus was parked by the side of the road, and just beyond the bus there were a couple of men squatting. Wondering if something was wrong, I asked the driver what was happening. He patiently explained that the men were just peeing, and in that part of the country it was common for men to squat. Hmm. A bit more polite? I guess so. But nevertheless - at that time for me - strange.

Am hoping I won't have to put my skills to the test in the public domain anytime soon. Lack of adequate public facilities ensure that one does empty one's bladder and restricts all liquid intake before venturing from home, especially for long distances. However, if by some unforeseen circumstance and I do, I certainly will not attempt to do so standing up - or by the cemetery gate for that matter.


Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Wow! And I thought doing number 1 was a very private, indoors event. Here you are taking apart the entire 'anatomy' of it.

Ok, I am not surprised. I have seen both sexes do number 1 as if they were flying a kite or playing football. I'm a little surprised every time.

A new thing I have learned is that in some places, the men actually squat, while, in the name of women's lib, I presume, the girls who live or walk near the named cemetery decide to do it in an upright posture!

Denise said...

Nana Yaw, it is still a very private and indoors event and should definitely stay so. Let's just say I had to think about my choice of words and wording for this post (lest I came across as offensive), but I really couldn't resist sharing.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Denise, I honestly wasn't saying you should not write about it. I was just making backhanded remarks about those who actually do it outdoors, and I was attempting mock shock, although I see it happen everyday. When people write about all the facets of human endeavour including our privy, I love it!

posekyere said...

Hi Denise,

I wasn't that into biology at school.
Now you are hyping up my interest in applied biology.
Interesting post!

Qué? said...

Great post. Still torn between laughter and shock (I KNEW you were holding back on the descriptives...)

Denise said...

Cool Nana Yaw :-) Understood

Denise said...

Hmm, applied biology. Nice terminology for these public acts Posekyere. Wish they would apply it else where though and not in the public domain. I promise however this ends my expose on private-turned public acts!

Denise said...

Hi Que, welcome. Somethings are better left to the imagination - that and I didn't want any one to report my blog for questionable content :-) Ah, the power of words uh?