“Trust me, Dads. Sit Down to Pee,” by Christopher Goodrich

May 26th, 2021 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

If you are like me, you are a balding, fairly awesome-without-bragging-about-it dad, who must, at times, make the bathroom your friend. I don’t have to tell you that privacy is as rare as feeling energized by parenthood. I’ve literally had meals in there. Three courses. And more than once on a given day. And even so, they are on to me. They know my secrets. And they are not amused.

As a parent, I have given up my agency. Kaput. One day I hope to get it back, but for now, everything is a partnership. I am rarely able to pee or poop or pee/poop without a visitor or 2 or 3, watching. Ogling? Glaring? One of those. Anyway, Yes, sometimes all 3 of my girls (7, 5, 3) are with me, and we pass the time together as one might in a modern art Museum: Staring at the walls, not quite knowing what to say. Realizing that your world has been changed but not quite understanding how.

Why not just lock the door you ask? Lock the door? Lock the door, you say? Here is what happens when you lock the door: incessant knocking, incessant talking, one or more moaning through the bottom crack, someone purposefully listening for the plopping. And saying so if they don’t hear it. Jimmying it open with a butter knife. The truth is, I prefer the temporary roommates to banging and screaming and temper tantrums outside the door. Believe me, it is easier to let them in. So Dads, it is time to admit that we can learn a thing or two from how our wives have been doing it since the toilet was invented. Leave whatever is left of your machismo at the bathroom door. Trust me, this makes so much more sense. Thus, the benefits:

1) When you pee sitting down, no little eyes stare at your junk, and ask, “What is that?” with disturbed faces. Sometimes they stare without asking questions which is even creepier. On occasion, they’ll laugh.

2) No little people can accidentally or purposefully put their hands in the stream. (Mostly on purpose.)

3) No little person can inadvertently put their head in the stream as they attempt to find the source of the splashing. (Gives new meaning to phrase “You’ll poke an eye out.”)

4) Parenting is damn hard work. This gives you a moment’s respite. Take a load off. Take advantage of it while you can. You’ll soon be on your feet again, cleaning up vomit from the living room carpet, and attempting to relate to Sofia the First.

5) Aiming no longer matters. And you don’t have to clean up the drops on the seat. Nothing splashes up! And as there is always something to clean when you are a parent (note the vomit carpet above), you can cross this one off the list. At least for now.

6) Missing sleep as a new parent? You don’t have to turn on the blinding, migraine-inducing overhead in the middle of the night. Sit in the dark. Pee in the dark. Relax in the dark. Repeat in the dark.

7) Sitting down gives you the time to write, and a surface on which to do it. Which is what I happen to be doing right now.

8) Speaking of laps, here is the only disadvantage: Sitting down produces, you guessed it, a lap, which little people think they own. They do. And they will climb up mid-stream (or mid-something else).

9) Ever gotten the zipper caught? You aren’t alone. Till the day I die I will never understand who approved the idea of putting metal teeth next to soft, unprotected human tissue. Remove the worry. Protest the zipper.

Listen, eight out of nine ain’t bad. Trust me. There is no shame in this. You are still a man. Albeit, a much smarter one. Have a seat. Make yourself at home. Enjoy the time. Enjoy the conversation. Today could be the day.


Christopher Goodrich has taught at New York University and Frostburg State University. He has been featured on Verse Daily and NPR. He is the recipient of two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes, an Emerging Writer Fellowship from The Writer’s Center and holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from New England College. His first book, Nevertheless, Hello, (Steel Toe Books) was published in 2009, and a second book, No Texting at the Dinner Table (NYQ Books) was published in 2014. He is grateful to his wonderful family, including Rachel, their 3 girls, and, sometimes, his dog.

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