Friday, March 14, 2008

Pissed (off)

Hanging out the sheets this morning, I looked down to see a very dangerous area left by Porridge. One false move and those sheets would have to go right back into the machine…or even be soaked in bleach…I am fastidious about what I lie in.
This is not Porridge’s fault (of course, how could it be, she is my dog).

She is the victim of bad example. And of irresistible odours.

The washing line is next to a hedge which is at the end of a convenient stone pathway. And this hedge has been used as a pissoir by the men of the family, who don’t want to get their feet too muddy.

The urge to have fresh air circulating about one’s privates seems to be a very French male preoccupation. It doesn’t seem to be enough to have the toilet window open. It is impossible to drive along a road after lunchtime without passing the characteristic stance and back (if you are lucky) of a pissing Frenchman. And my family have been culturally contaminated.

What is worse, they have perverted the rules. A French musician informed me that a well mannered man will never piss in a dry garden, but will only do so if it has been already moistened by rain. This is presumably to avoid the build up of unpleasant odours. My washing has been suffering from this rule breaking. After all, I can only hang it up when it is dry…

I think there is something territorial going on. This was confirmed when I took Porridge to our usual Sunday morning cliff top sporting activity, where she smells out little wooden objects and retrieves them when she feels like it, and I get shouted at by a dog trainer who thinks I am his whippet. (Those of you who are as old as I am may remember a football manager called Brian Clough. Well he has been reborn as a Breton dog trainer.)
We were standing by a hedge, watching a collie dog zigzag across an enormous field, effortlessly following the track to the object. We were about 5 people, men and women, and I was slipping off into the mildly meditative state that I enjoy when watching someone else’s dog work.

A lone jogger suddenly appeared out of the forest 100 yards away. He jogged towards us along the path and when he was level with us he turned to a tree and started to urinate. He was perhaps 2 yards away and in full view. He reached behind the tree, picked up a bottle of water that he must have left there earlier and jogged off without a word. Even my French companions were a little taken aback…except Henri, the retired sailor. “It must be his special place”, he said.

I would be very interested to know more about this urge to mark territory. Are men from other countries and cultures all harbouring a secret wish to knock down the toilet door? Are you only held back from this by little things like the law of indecent exposure which restrains the English open air enthusiast? Do tell…You’d all do it if you could get away with it, wouldn’t you?

10 comments:

Casdok said...

As you say must be a territorial thing!!! :)

Mrs. Chili said...

I have to say that I'm terribly envious of the males' ability to do that. It's SO much harder for we women to attend to Nature's call out in the wild...

Lucy said...

Possibly something to do with stinginess about flushing water, I think French matriarch's have been known to order their menfolk outside to save wear and tear on 'le water'.
As to the dry garden hypothesis, though this might be workable here in soggy Brittany, I can't imagine in drier locales the chaps all cross their legs and wait for rain, or even bother to go further afield...

leslie said...

I'm so amazed that this happens! Never here - at least where other people are standing! Oh well, many years ago when the East Indians immigrated here, we'd often see them squatting in fields - we were of course disgusted! It's easy for men to do this (and I know they do) when camping or hiking in the wilderness. But I'm just so stunned they'll do it within a few yards of strangers.

Josie said...

They would all be arrested if they were in Canada. I say it's pretty disgusting in this day and age of modern plumbing. I would carry a ditigal camera or a phone around with me, and post their pictures on the Internet, and then let everyone know. That would put an end to it really quicly, I think.

Oh, *yuck*

meggie said...

When our daughter was small she had brothers, & our friends had only sons. I found her crying out in the Hydrangeas, beside the little boys. Their legs were dry- hers were all wet!

One of my mother's favourite TV shows was called "Le Cloche Merle" & was an old comedy about aFrench
Pissoire in the town centre- I may have spelt it incorrectly?

Rosie said...

grateful as I am for your comments girls, your attitudes have not been a big surprise. Surely there must be a man or two out there who can explain his strange urges to us fluffy pink things.

A Taste Of Blighty said...

Normally after a night at the local there comes a point on the walk (stagger?) home when the choice has to be made to make a run for it home, or to find somewhere .

But never with an audience....

Rosie said...

What a relief

Ms Mac said...

On the plus side, when one of my boys got caught short on a weekend in France, my authority on all things French told him just to go behind the tree. Perfectly acceptable in polite French society, she said.

So for me, it was all good.