Pissoir sounds so much better than urinal

Continentals have a more enlightened attitude to bodily functions than we Anglo-Saxons. When I was a kid and first went on holiday to France, one of the enduring signs that were weren’t in Blighty anymore was the propensity of people to wee on the side of the road. That and the highly functional hole-in-the-ground that often functions as a toilet.

Vienna’s not much different. I remember once walking along the street when a car pulled-over, the driver jumped out, stood against the wall, and relieved himself. You would be liable to get arrested for this in America, but as being desperate for a wee is torture indeed, the Austrians have got this one right.

Public toilets often have three components: men, women, and “pissoir.” I like pissoirs. I like the name, very evocative. But it seems even Austrians are drawing the line at a urinal shaped like a woman’s mouth.

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