A Dissertation on Stadium Trough Etiquette

It started with a simple thought when I was in the bathroom. I’ve found that most simple thoughts originate there. The bathroom has never inspired great debate, analytical dissemination, or even philosophical discussion. The bathroom, as it turns out, is perfect for simple thoughts.

So it was that I thought to myself, Hey, why don’t those pretentious eco-friendly hipster jerks ever consider personal waste (and you know what I mean when I say personal waste) when calculating one’s carbon footprint? Are they too scared to ask the question? Are they too classy to admit that everyone, themselves included, produces personal waste? What’s the deal with that?

I was a geography major in college. And if there’s anything I learned in becoming a geography major, it’s that a lot of other geography majors are holier-than-though world-savers who flip shit over plastic Solo cups and can’t handle the fact that humans drive cars. For six (yes, six) years of undergraduate study, I heard all about carbon footprints and environmentally conscious habits and all sorts of Captain Planet-y garbage that wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t communicated to you by someone who, frankly, considers themselves to be better than the common man. So I know about carbon footprints. And I respect carbon footprints. I just think it’s a bunch of BS that carbon footprints don’t include one’s propagation of digestion. Is that so wrong?

I took my question back to my coworkers and asked them what they thought. They agreed that this was a joke. “Think about it,” one coworker surmised, “those hipsters are all vegetarians.”

“And when you’re eating all those vegetables,” I concluded, “you’re always going to the bathroom! In doing so, you waste a gallon of water per flush AND leave a mess upon society.” Rat bastards with their rat bastard tricks. Framing their questions and manipulating data to make us omnivores look foolish, while simultaneously abusing the facilities and making this world a dirtier place. Effing douchebags.

Somehow, this led us to a loosely-related discussion of trough urinals.

(You may very well notice that everything leading up to the previous sentence has almost no correlation with the remainder of this article. I might have been able to slip this professional segue past the little goalkeeper in your brain, but I figured I’d call attention to my own fallacies as a writer, instead. Why? Why not. Most writers try to sneak things past you enough as it is. I’m here to be your friend. And friends don’t betray friends. Just remember that next time you’re reading an article and the turncoat author segues without letting you know that he or she is segueing. That’s betrayal. We don’t do that here at Seattle Sportsnet. Back to the article.)

For those of you who frequent sporting events, you may be quite familiar with trough urinals. For those of you who either don’t frequent sporting events or aren’t privy to the inner workings of the men’s bathroom, trough urinals are rectangular basins that hold communal urine. It’s pretty simple, really. I’ve included a visual aid up and to the right.

Our discussion on trough urinals eventually led to a spinoff conversation about trough urinal etiquette, which as any male sports fan knows, is a fairly important issue. That led me to pen this, a collaborative dissertation on the proper means upon which to use the trough urinal.

If you have a penis, I urge you to read ahead. You may find yourself in agreement with many of these points, or discover that you are in fact a violator of proper trough urinal etiquette.

If you do not have a penis, I urge you to read ahead, as well. While you may not be able to sword fight or spell your name (whilst peeing, mind you), you may come to find out something about the man you claim as your significant other, will claim as your significant other, or have claimed as a significant other in the past.

Without further ado, here are my findings on stadium trough etiquette.

Point of Etiquette No. 1: It goes every other.

The stadium bathroom almost always begins with a line. You will find yourself standing at the back of a queue, proceeding ever closer to your relief-inducing destination.

In many cases, your line will mirror that of another line on the opposite side of the restroom. Your lines will converge before the trough urinal, where you will peel off one at a time, every other — your line, then my line, then your line, then my line, and so on — until everyone in both lines has found his way to the trough.

Ah, but wait. What happens when two parties from the same line hightail it towards the trough simultaneously? Good question. I’m glad you asked.

This is an infraction punishable by death. Or if not death, then at least public humiliation.

Everyone knows that you are to break from your line only when a) you are at the head of your line and b) a person from the opposing line has broken off before you. This is a standard rule of thumb. Should two men from the same line break off together, you should yell at the perpetrator — something like, “Hey, f**ker! What do you think you’re doing? Get back in line! I’m up next!” should suffice — and use as much force as is necessary to assert yourself in the vacant slot at the trough.

If you need to throw a punch, throw a punch. If you need to deliver a well-placed roundhouse kick, deliver a well-placed roundhouse kick. Do whatever it takes. WHATEVER. IT. TAKES. This jackass just violated Point of Etiquette No. 1! The very first point! Send him home crying.


Point of Etiquette No. 2: Do not look left. Do not look right.

There are only three places where your head can rightfully go when at the trough: up, down, or straight ahead.

You will either a) look towards the heavens as if to praise God, Himself, for this wonderful piss you’re enjoying, b) look straight ahead, as if to bore a hole through the stone wall that sits mere inches from your nose, or c) look down at your dick like it’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever seen.

There is no gray area here. AT ALL! Should your eyes so much as shift along the latitudinal plane, you are risking both reputation and personal well-being.

Even homosexual men understand and respect this rule. You may very well find yourself standing between two gays at the trough. It could happen. But you know what? You’d never know. You know why? Because this is guy code. It just is. And if you find yourself in violation of guy code, you are bound to get your ass kicked and bring shame upon your entire family. I’m serious about this. It’s as critical as it sounds.

Moving on.

Point of Etiquette No. 3: Streams shall never cross.

We’ve all been there. We’re a little tipsy, we’re prone to leaning, and — whoops! — we’ve missed. We’ve missed the entire freakin’ trough. Unbelievable, I know. But it certainly does happen. Let’s just pray to Buddha and Allah that when it does occur, your stream will not cross the path of another man’s stream. Otherwise, well…awkward.

Lucky for me, my drunken lean happens to be forward. So I’m more at risk of falling into the trough than I am of violating this point of etiquette. Although I will say that I’ve had fellow drunks lean into and onto me while at the trough over my 26 years of life. It’s rather uncomfortable having someone invade your personal space while you’re both intoxicated and watering the plants. There’s really no nice way to put it. It’s just…weird.

That said, never ever cross streams. EVER. This is acceptable in kindergarten and kindergarten alone. After that, it’s over. I hope you had your fun. Now grow up.

Point of Etiquette No. 4: Do not take out your cell phone.

I cannot stress this enough. There are a litany of reasons for you to heed my advice here. What could happen if you remove your cell phone? Well…

1. Everyone will assume you’re taking a picture of your junk.

“Look at that guy over there, taking cock shots and sending them to his girl. Who does he think he is? Jeff Reed?”

2. Everyone will assume you’re taking a picture of another dude’s junk.

This is far worse than the prevalent thought that you may be taking pictures of your own junk. Now everyone assumes you’re some kind of weirdo that has no moral bounds. Likewise, you’re probably going to get your phone smashed and your ass beat if anyone falls under this impression.

3. Your phone could fall in.

I have had nightmares about my phone falling into the toilet. Seriously. Nightmares. Like, you’re holding it, you’ve got a kung fu grip on that bad boy, and — oh no! — it slips and gravity takes over. There goes your $400 smart phone, submerged in a sea of yellow water. Doesn’t look so smart now, does it?

The only thing worse than dropping your phone in the toilet has to be dropping your phone in the trough urinal. My god. What a horrific thought. I don’t even need to take this any further. You know how very, very bad this would be. Nothing good could come from this. Your day would be ruined. Your only thought at this point would be, Do I leave it in there and cut my losses? Or do I flush away my dignity, reach in there, and fish it out? The true definition of a no-win situation.

So I beg of you, DO NOT TAKE YOUR PHONE OUT AT THE TROUGH! You’re welcome.

Point of Etiquette No. 5: Speak not and forever hold your piece.

The trough is no place for a conversation. About anything. It doesn’t even matter if you’re having the most manly conversation in the world.

“Hey, did you happen to watch that Chuck Norris movie on TV last night?”

“Hell yeah, I did! While bangin’ my girlfriend and eating a two-foot-long sub sandwich. It was f**kin’ great!”

Not even that conversation would be appropriate at the trough. So you can see how incongruous any other discussion on earth could possibly be.

Talking in the restroom is frowned upon to begin with. Talking while taking a leak shoulder to shoulder with twenty other sweathogs is borderline insane. You’re bound to be thought of as some sort of leper if you strike up a conversation in this situation. What the hell is wrong with you, dude? Shut the hell up!

You should have three goals and only three goals when at the trough: unzip, uncoil, uncork. The three U’s. That is it. You’re done. Move on. Get back to the game. Maybe wash your hands first. Whatever.

Just so long as you abide by the proper etiquette, you can go on with life knowing you’re a pro’s pro when it comes to using the trough urinal. Congrats.

And now I leave you with this video:


5 thoughts on “A Dissertation on Stadium Trough Etiquette”

  1. Wow.

    It’s actually pretty funny compared to girl etiquette… bathrooms. Not a place we ever shut-up. And we think it makes it less awkward if we’re talking over the sound. Otherwise… you have all of those bathroom sounds. And it’s awkward.

  2. I teared up laughing at this article and the morbidly obese game of the week article. You’re on your game, Alex!

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