French men pee everywhere (and a wedding question)

Written by Diane on. Posted in on life in France

french men pee everywhere

When I was 6 years old and my brother was 2, we were in my grandma’s car going somewhere on a NJ highway. At one point, my brother (who was really proud of himself for no longer needing pull ups) let my grandma know he had to pee, so like any good grandma who wanted to avoid a wet car seat, she pulled over to the side of the road to find a spot for him to go. Mid-pee, a cop pulled over and issued my grandma a pricey ticket before my brother could even get his pants back up. I learned from that day on the importance of using a toilet when you have to pee.

But French dudes? They pee everywhere!

What sparked this post? A well-dressed man at the park Dagny and I just saw an hour ago peeing on some bushes. He wasn’t doing a great job at concealing himself and relieved himself right there like it was no big deal at all. He made sure to shake it off about 10 times after he was done so I was 100% sure he was peeing. As he walked away, I called out to let him know the park bathrooms were just a 2-minute walk in the other direction but he didn’t even seem to hear me. Ugh.

I’m all for free pee rights when it’s an emergency, but come on, at a public park in plain view when the restroom is RIGHT THERE??

So about French men urinating everywhere but the toilet. This is not an isolated incident, nor is it something that only drunk, homeless guys do. Two of my male family members, who will remain nameless to preserve their dignity, peed in a parking lot on a recent road trip to Brittany an hour into our drive. It ain’t no thang.

In any given week I see about five guys peeing in plain sight in public. On a wall behind the supermarket, on a bush in the park, behind their car and my personal favorite for sentimental value, peeing on the side of the highway.

Guys pee in public in the US too but I feel like it’s on a much smaller scale and usually reserved for guys who have been drinking a few too many beers at the pub. Maybe I’m off-base. Peeing in public just seems so much more common in France. Also, I think as a female I’m jealous that men can just pee wherever they want and I have to hold it. But, hey, let’s not abuse it, guys.

men women toilet sign holding it

I could understand it better if there were no toilets around, like in the case of my toddler brother who really needed to go. But most parks have bathrooms (suitable for men at least) and unless you’ve had a gallon of water to drink and have been on a bus for 10 hours, can’t you just hold it until you find a toilet?

Legality aside, it’s gross.

Can’t say I’ve ever seen a dude sanitize his hands after whipping out his dingaling and relieving himself in public. And when everyone pees in the same spot, it stinks. Several areas in my neighborhood park stink and it’s not dog pee I’m smelling…

Just the other day, I saw an older man helping his grandson pee on the side of a wall that was part of a private residence. EWWW!!! Don’t teach your grandkid to pee on private property or in public at all. Yuck.

One thing to note. In the US, although stores and restaurants don’t like it, you can pop in to use the bathroom and leave in most cases. Sometimes they’re so busy no one will even notice. In Europe, many restrooms are marked for customers only and locked. You need a code on your receipt to get in. So are French guys just accustomed to peeing outside?

Here’s to hoping I won’t see any public pissers for the rest of the week…

And that wedding question.

I posted this on my FB page (you’ve liked my page, right?) and if you’re French and/or are an expert on French wedding etiquette, could you give me your advice below?

Two American friends of ours have been invited to their landlord’s daughter’s wedding. Our friends have lived in their building for only a year and they’ve never met the bride or the groom and just casually know their landlord (bride’s dad). They were invited to the ceremony at the mairie and a cocktail hour afterwards but NOT the reception (dinner). They’d like to attend but are unsure of what the etiquette is for a gift. They were thinking of sending something unique from the USA once they move back home in a few weeks instead of purchasing something in France or giving cash. Or is a simple card enough? Thoughts? Thank you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , ,

Comments (17)

  • Ashley

    |

    It’s not just France! Public peeing is a big thing south of the border, though I think it’s due to lack of free facilities (you won’t often find a WC in a Spanish park). Something that’s also very common is for parents to hold their young daughters or sons over the sidewalk, next to a tree to pee.
    Ashley recently posted…Snapshots of Orbaneja del Castillo- The Waterfall VillageMy Profile

    Reply

    • Diane

      |

      Yup, I figured it wasn’t just France but haven’t spent any real time anywhere else. Good point about the lack of free facilities. I guess I can understand that. Sorry you’re subjected to this nonsense too!

      Reply

  • Cynthia

    |

    hehhehheh ! Well Diane, it’s very common in the US as well. I live two cities: in the Desert and West Hollywood. Last week I went to the pharmacy. As I pulled into the parking lot some guy whipped it out on the side of the building and let it rip. He knew that I could see him and didn’t care. I give up !

    Reply

    • Diane

      |

      Yuck. I know guys pee in public in the US but I have to say I think that in my experience, I’ve seen a greater number of well-dressed men using the wall as their toilet in France than in the US. I’ve seen homeless dudes peeing in NYC and drunk guys but in my NJ suburb where I grew up, that really wouldn’t happen. Where I live now isn’t a big city or anything and I think it’s weird that regular non drunk people will just pee wherever!

      Reply

  • AdA

    |

    “They were thinking of sending something unique from the USA once they move back home in a few weeks instead of purchasing something in France or giving cash. Or is a simple card enough? Thoughts?”
    Proper etiquette: you should send a gift ahead or on the day of the wedding, not after (it would be considered as ‘oh, they waited to see if they enjoyed the wedding, good they did, we got a present!). If they have a wedding list (you should ask the bride or the parents), then buy something from it, or you can make a donation (preferably check), or you can even buy a particular gift (but if you don’t know the couple’s tastes, it might be tricky).

    Reply

    • Diane

      |

      Thanks so much for the etiquette advice. Will pass it along 😉

      Reply

  • Jo-Anne

    |

    Aussie men will pee in public too but usually they are drunk as a skunk when doing so, I think it is disgusting and you don’t see women dropping their undies and squatting to pee in public granted a woman can’t do it as discreetly as a man and we are likely to pee on our feet which is really gross.
    Jo-Anne recently posted…History Tuesday………………..AustraliaMy Profile

    Reply

    • Diane

      |

      Hahha yes, alcohol runs right through you. I only peed in public once and it was behind a big boulder in a wooded area. There were no toilets around and it was the only option. Luckily I did not pee on my clothes or feet. But I’d never think of peeing on a sidewalk or something, drunk or not. Gotta find that bathroom!

      Reply

  • Nolwenn

    |

    Public bathrooms tend to be really dirty in France, so this might explain that a little bit…

    Reply

    • Diane

      |

      Good explanation. I’ve seen a combo of both clean and dirty ones. But a man who doesn’t have to touch his skin to a toilet — pretty much just unzip and aim — it seems that a dirty bathroom wouldn’t really matter. In and out in 30 seconds and didn’t have to touch the toilet set.

      Reply

  • Megan

    |

    Within the first week of moving to France, we were at a lake for Bastille Day celebrations and I was horrified by all the men I saw peeing.. I mean in that instance I kind of understood because there were a lot of people and not very many restrooms, but only having been in France a week I was really shocked! The worst offender I’ve seen though was when we were in Paris just outside of Galeries Lafayette and a guy (in a suit!) was peeing on the wall of the building across the street. And there were people just walking by him on the sidewalk. I stood there for a few seconds just stunned, and then he zipped up and continued walking. It’s just one of those moments I have to shake my head and remember “we’re not in Kansas anymore…” lol
    Megan recently posted…You probably didn’t knowMy Profile

    Reply

    • Diane

      |

      Yeah it’s really gross. I hate the wall peeing. I hate it even more when someone’s peeing on a private wall like part of someone’s property. I usually tell people that’s gross and go find a toilet. Maybe I should shut my mouth but sometimes you have to teach people lol. I do the same thing with offering waste bags to strangers when their dog poops and they “forget” to pick up mess.

      Reply

  • Kelsey

    |

    At my wedding (in France), we invited a lot of people to the ceremony and vin d’honneur, but due to cost and the size of reception hall, we could not invite them to the reception. Some of those people gave us small gifts, some cash, some just a card, and some nothing. I really did not feel offended by those who did not give us gifts, I was just happy they came. Even just a card, or a small gift (for example, we got some nice jams, an orchid, some cute mugs, and salad tongs). Especially where this couple does not know the couple getting married, I feel as though they could definitely get a pass. As for sending a gift later, I think that comes across as a bit of an afterthought, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Hope that helps!

    Oh, and that peeing is so true. No country is perfect I suppose.

    Reply

    • Diane

      |

      Cool, thanks so much for your advice! Will pass it along.

      Reply

  • DavidS

    |

    We live in a medium-sized city in France in an area where alot of people congregate outside at night. We see guys peeing all the time, without much attempt to hide themselves. But we also have had spates of women peeing outside. Between parked cars on our side-street is a popular place. The entryway to our apartment building is deeply recessed from the street, and unfortunately is a private spot for women to pee, particularly if another stands guard. Streams of toilet paper have been left in the entryway and between the parked cars.

    Reply

    • Diane

      |

      Ewwww, I had no idea about that David. I know your building and the area and it’s really upscale. You wouldn’t expect to find toilet paper there. And these women, do they keep rolls of TP in their purses just in case? Like they know they’re going to pee on the street? Disgusting.

      Reply

  • MaryZ

    |

    I spent 3 months in Paris and 2 months in Lyon, and never saw anyone peeing outside. Maybe I was too busy looking at architecture or gardens? I did notice the smell in the subways, though, in Paris.

    Reply

Leave a comment

CommentLuv badge