shy bladder and young men


written by Trevor Olson

Silence in the Restroom.

Hello everyone! I've decided to start blogging and this is my first post. Feel free to share with others and respond with any feedback and/or questions you may have.

A lot of young men experience shy bladder, and this I think is symptomatic of troubled sexuality.

My data for this conclusion is gathered from the most trusted place to observe shy bladder. To know what the current state of shy bladder is go to the public bathroom. The bigger the bathroom the better, within reason of course. Too small and there isn't anything going on. Too big and there's too much going on to make a good observation. The really big bathrooms make it tough to keep good tabs. 5- 10 stalls is ideal because then men are coming and going, and sounds can be heard. The sound is obviously key because a bathroom full of men without shy bladder sounds one way, and a bathroom with a lot of men who have shy bladder sounds another.

I have been traveling a lot the last few years, so most of my data has been collected from airport bathrooms. Some SB observers would object to this sampling location on the grounds that tension is heightened in an airport bathroom which does not make it a good representative sample. Men are traveling, no one's in their home territory, you may or may not be in the process of missing your flight, and you have to keep tabs on the suitcase behind you,  the bag in your left arm, and the water bottle on your right hand, while going to bathroom.

To the representative sample folks I say: you're right, this is not a good representative sample. The local Starbucks bathroom is a better much better slice of day-in day-out SB behavior. It is still possible, though, to make a good with-in groups comparison about change/time, and airport bathrooms are my favorite public bathroom.  They are some of the only public bathrooms where people are far enough out in the wild to brush their teeth, or comb their hair. And they are ground zero for shy bladder behavior.

What's more, from what I can tell shy bladder in the last eight years has increased considerably. Whereas before it was only an occasional phenomena, now this is a regular part of going to the public bathroom. In one bathroom is the eerie, heavy, silence of the man standing next to you, not going. In another there are the nervous shuffles of a guy who doesn’t wanna quit, and then the fake flush and furtive exits that signal his defeat. While traveling through Denver the other day both of the guys next to me were in the throes of an SB episode.

On top of that, I didn’t hear anyone else going to be bathroom either. Now I can’t be sure I could hear the 3-4 other men in there. But, the whole facility was very, very quiet.

It's not just in Denver. Bathrooms are getting quieter in Knoxville, Manchester, Bozeman, Seattle, Chicago, Charlotte, Portland, and even New York. If I'm right SB isn't just common, it's spreading.

A few more observations:

Older men, until other problems come on line, are usually problem free.

There is increasing downward pressure by cohorts. 40-30 below is not as bad as 30-20 and below which does not afflict as many men who are 20-15 and below.

Boys are still untouched. The problems don’t seem to start occurring until adolescence.

It happens less when men are intoxicated. There is very little shy bladder late at night at the bar.

It differs by culture. Men born in other countries have a low incidence rate. Anglo-Saxon Americans have the highest.

Women I have talked to do not report having SB nearly as often, and were surprised to know it is a relatively common problem for men.

Unlike some who would say SB is it’s own condition, I think SB is a symptom of another condition, namely what I’ll call Troubled Sexuality Syndrome. This will be addressed on its own in a later blog. Suffice to say, on the symbolic level SB sufferers do not feel attractive or affirmed or ready to face life’s challenges. They struggle to answer the basic question of identity: who am I?  On average they have regularly viewed pornography which has twisted if not destroyed their sense of what sex and therefore their sexuality is. Many men did not have good relationships with their fathers or the older men in their lives. Most do not feel as close to other men as they would like to. Deep, real intimacy with other men, and even with women, is the exception and not the rule.

The increase of shy bladder, I think, is a result of the above.  Sufferers are already experiencing tumult before they enter the restroom.   The unseen reality of the public airport bathroom is, for a lot men, not a happy one. Not being able to urinate in a public bathroom is shameful – it proves something's wrong with you. And now the men standing near you know it.

The consolation is this public failure is pretty anonymous – you’ll probably never see those men again. The ominous part is it’s recurrent. Sometime in the near future you’re going to be in an airport needing to use the restroom.

Insofar as the aforementioned features: insecurity, self-consciousness, furtiveness, hazards, restriction, loneliness, are characteristic of the young male culture in general, you might say this is a scene in the life. Shy bladder then, I think, is common and growing because it's a sound right at home in their lives.