Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Comfort Zones and Public Bathrooms

Anna (My amazing wife) and I went to see ‘Inception’ the other day, It was a great movie, but that is not the point of this post. The point comes out of this observation; I went into the bathroom after the movie and I was amazed at what I saw. There was a line in front of the three stalls and no one at the urinals. Granted Norwegian architects don’t put a lot of stock in “shoulder room”, so the experience is a bit cramped, however a couple of these young (15-19) guys were sort of milling around. They would approach the urinal then turn away, it was as if the thought of completing a normal and necessary biological function had become an epic form of torture. I think they would have been more comfortable if I had told them to stick their hands into a bed of hot coals. I laughed to myself at the time, then I realized; this is terrifying. Boys on the cusp of manhood don’t even have the confidence or comfort to pee in a public restroom, a simple task mastered by seven (at the absolute latest).

What is wrong with our society when men fear peeing in public? Have they become such self-conscious candy asses that this simple task is beyond them. If that action is so scary then what about sticking up for themselves? Picking a goal and striving for it? Asking out a girl?

Comfort zones need to be pushed in order for people to break out of their shells. I can guarantee these guys would benefit from some old school strength training. Pushing their body’s and their minds beyond what they thought was possible would build a mental toughness that would beat their sad little inhibitions out of their minds.

I was thinking about this as I was training today and I realized that I needed to practice what I preach. I increased all of my weights and I did the exercises faster. I went up to 65kg for one armed dumbbell rows (for reps). My push press went up, dumbbell bench went up. I finished my workout with two rounds of a conditioning circuit;

2x 50m Farmer walks with 40kg in each hand
5x 15pushups into 50meter hill sprints
No rest in-between each exercise, 90secs between each set.

I was soaked and sucking air by the end, but I would not quit, would not relent in speed or power. Building Mental toughness made me push it to the limit of my comfort zone and over that edge. If those guys in the theater had ever had to push beyond what was comfortable they would not have such asinine problems, and would strive to do much better in their life, because it would be as natural as breathing.


  1. In Japan I understand men pee in public all the time-- in the street, in front of businesses etc. I have never been to Japan, so I don't know if this is true, and I hope it does not come of as racist or narrow minded- but more as an interesting aside to your post. I believe that on a whole, much less is necessary for the Japanese than for your Nordic folks in the way of shoulder room. In fact what I have decided to take away from this snippit of writing is that the size of someones shoulders is directly proportional to their ability to properly use a urinal. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  2. Well, as someone living in Japan ;) I can tell you that's the occasional old man only. The younger generations (even middle aged) wouldn't be caught dead peeing in public. Japan is actually taking a nosedive the other direction. Many toilets (western style, which are quite popular, especially the washlets and heated seats) even have a pre-flush/trickle to hide the sound of your own movements. They even advertise little sounds for your cell to disguise the noises. People around my age seem to have no problem with the urinals here, but I know some little boys in elementary school (I work in middle/elementary schools now) simply don't know how to pee standing up. They have western style toilets at home, and the heated seat ones often have big seats that are obnoxious as hell to lift up, so they pee sitting down.

    But you have to be careful when reading any articles on social trends in Japan. If they're written about Tokyo, there's a good chance the rest of Japan is very different. Tokyo is its own not-so-little world.