a burning question

February 17, 2009

So I had a couple brothers and their families up to the house on Sunday to sled and stuff, and we were sitting around the table, just yacking. And I don’t know how we got onto this topic, but the topic is this:

When you go to the bathroom, and you just have to go, um, number 1, do you totally unbuckle, or just unzip and use the fly?

I have to admit, I am shocked that anybody who isn’t restricted by a button fly would ever unbuckle. My friend Rick unbuckles, but he also plum bobs when he’s done. That is, he has to re-tuck, align his belt, zipper, shirt buttons, the whole deal. It’s just his way.

But if you’re NOT Rick, really, WHY are you doing the total unbuckle? Why?

Turns out, the men (my brothers and me) are quite evenly divided on this issue. I’m puzzled.

On the other hand, we also discussed what happens when you go to the bathroom, and you’re just wearing underwear (I presume that this only happens at home). Do you use the fly, or pull down from the top? Off the top of my head, and partly as a residual reflex from my argument in favor of using the fly instead of the unbuckle, I immediately declared that I use the fly, even if I’m just standing there in my underwear.

And since I was at home, and was, in fact, just in my underwear, I went to the bathroom, as a test.

Turns out, in the “just in my underwear” case, I do the pull-down.

But still. That’s NOT an unbuckle, it’s a pull-down. This is no excuse to do the total unbuckle. Button Flies notwithstanding, God gave us a fly so that we might AVOID the unbuckle.

Let’s go to the phones–I need to know. Fly or unbuckle?

59 Responses to “a burning question”

  1. Simón Says:

    Unbuckle and pull down.

  2. fish Says:

    Fly with a belt/rigid waste band, pull down with elastic only, pajamas or just underwear.

  3. MOCougFan Says:

    Obviously the fly. Unbuckling is a waste of time and energy. Pull down for the underwear only.

  4. bikemike Says:

    fly…what are we girls?

  5. Jeff Says:

    Fly…that’s what it’s there for, isn’t it?

  6. steveA Says:

    unbuckle and pull down, always. It takes more time and energy to get the zipper out from under the buckle, lower, search, grab and aim, re-tuck, adjust as needed and re-zip. To me the unbuckle saves time.

  7. south Says:

    Unbuckling seems like wasted energy. Just the fly for me.

    When just in my underwear I choose a method that you failed to mention. I wear boxers so I pull up one of the legs (usually the left) instead of the fly or the pull down.

  8. dug Says:

    okay, have to jump in here. south, really?

    i can’t pull that off. either my boxers are too long, or. um.

    okay, i can’t pull that off.

  9. KanyonKris Says:

    Unbuckle and pull down.

    The fly method makes sense, but I don’t like the idea of fishing in then extricating “it” out to pee. What about having the flys (specifically zippers) touching “it”? But maybe it’s not that bad. I will experiment.

    I’m not comfortable calling this a “burning” question.

  10. KanyonKris Says:

    south – You MUST be a pro cyclist, or a serious wanna-be.

    dug – I think I burst an eardrum from stifling a laugh (I’m at work) upon reading your comment.

  11. eric Says:

    Fly. I have done the pull up once or twice but it tends to stretch out the boxer brief leg.

  12. bikemike Says:

    boys, we must all be aware of going commando and certain zipper situations that may arise…so to speak.
    let’s be careful out there.

  13. Flyin' Ute Says:

    Fly of Course!

    Unless it’s the middle of the night in the dark and then I sit. It never occured to me to sit to pee until about 8 years ago when I was sick and dizzy.

    That only goes for the toilet in my master bedroom. I don’t sit anywhere else. I know that one is clean.

  14. Jeff Says:

    I’m surprised so many people “unbuckle and pull down.” I like being discrete in public bathrooms, so unbuckling and pulling down is kind of like announcing your intentions. Whereas the fly-only technique is more like “we all know why we’re here, so let’s not draw any more attention to that fact than we need to.”

  15. KanyonKris Says:

    Since I had to go anyway…

    Fly Experiment 1 Results:

    Not as much fishing as I expected, extrication went quite smoothly with mormon boxers and Docker-like slacks.

    Not as much “fly contact” as I expected, not creepy feeling.

    No shirt tail in the way today, but would longer shirts interfere? More study needed.

    No issues with urination. Perhaps even better since no elastic waistband nearby / in contact.

    Concerned about stowing – don’t want to get urine on my hand, so a few extra shakes. Success – no urine on hand. Stowed OK in usual location / position.

    A little faster, maybe 10-15 seconds. Not significant to me, but still.


    The fly methods works pretty good. Will continue experiments.

  16. chtrich Says:

    Pull Down for shorts, etc.

  17. Aaron Says:

    If you are unbuckling each time you pee, aren’t you at least partially wasting what may be the best part about being a man? I mean, you may as well just sit all the way down and become a chick.

  18. BurkeInTheOzarks Says:

    Sit down in Master Bedroom – always. It keeps the marriage healthy (and keeps me from having to clean the toilet).

    Fly in all other locations.

  19. MOCougFan Says:

    KK… seriously? That can’t be the first time you tried the fly method.

    As for the sitters…. why? Why would you sit? We’ve had years to practice our aim. I rarely miss now. Why do you sit? (Question only applicable to urination. Fecal excretion excepted).

  20. Rick S. Says:

    I use the pant leg and am careful to not drip on my shoes.

  21. Grizzly Adam Says:

    I drop the pants to the ankles and sit down. And then I use that free time to update my Facebook status.

  22. Bob B. Says:

    If I’m wearing jeans or slacks, I unzip only. If I’m wearing sweatpants or boxers, I drop down it all to my thighs and pee uninhibitedly. I often shiver due to the loss of body heat, and then I mutter, “Ah Good Gracious.” After than, I resume my deeds of charity or derring-do.

    By the way, you need to do a blog entry on urinal protocol in the men’s room.

  23. mark Says:

    Down in Moab a couple years ago there was a woman guiding a group of cyclists out on Poison Spider. During a natural break, she pulled a device out of her pack that, when placed properly, allowed her to pee standing up.

    I tell you this and ask why, oh why, ye who can piss against the bricks, would you sit?

  24. KanyonKris Says:

    MOCougFan – No, that isn’t the first time I’ve used the fly, but it’s been a long time. Just habit to unbuckle, pull down and pee. But I’ll keep experimenting with the fly at urinals as it seems to work well.

    I guess we’re sort of resurrecting the stand-up / sit-down peeing for toilets discussion.

    Why not sit when a seat is there? No risk of accidents and cleanups. And the poo book notes a German study that found stand-up peeing produces small droplets of urine that float in the air and land all over – enough to fade wallpaper.

    But really, stand up / sit-down, fly or no fly – as long as you’re not peeing on yourself or not getting it in the bowl – who cares? OK, we care at least enough to comment, but is it really a big deal? If it is then I’ve wasted a lot of my life focusing on the wrong issues.

  25. dug Says:

    kris, who cares? WHO CARES?!

    you have stumbled into the wrong place. this isn’t the blog of really big deals, or issues, or stuff you SHOULD be focused on.

    this is that other place.

  26. Jo Says:

    Mark, did the woman who peed standing up also put that device back in her pack? Eww. Also will someone please tell Kris to finish his little “experiment” before he comes home from work? Thanks.

  27. MOCougFan Says:

    Dude…. seriously if a girl pulled out a “device”, I think I would have freaked. Especially if she put it back in the bag. Ugh.

  28. VH1 Says:

    I am an unbuckler.

  29. mark Says:

    The device is readily available here: http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___80976

    Says “reusable” right in the product description. If not in the pack then where? Jersey pocket? Come on, urine is sterile. What’s the big deal?

    On big mountaineering trips where every gram counts and getting out of the tent to pee at night is more than a nuisance, climbers carry one bottle: for water during day and for relief during night.

    I discovered that the problem with this approach is that 24 ounce cycling water bottles aren’t big enough. 32 ounce gatorade bottles are about right and you don’t feel bad about throwing them away. Not that I threw my two bottles away.

  30. Eber Says:

    why so black and white? for every pee there is a season.

    – at home i have been trained that there is no better splash guard than a sit-n-pee

    – at the urinal a full unbuckle. gives the boys some air and lets em dangle free. they spend the bulk of their life couped up in the trouser equivalent of Rikers Island

    – for the sake of discretion like say when peeing into lake michigan just off lincoln memorial drive – fly with hands in pockets and whistling while looking around so as to look like you are just checking out the scenery

  31. KanyonKris Says:

    dug – Of course you’re right. And I love this blog about nothing like I loved Seinfeld. It’s freeing to banter around the little curiosities of life, and you do a fantastic job as the ring master.

    But when the furor gets going I can’t help call it like it is – inconsequential (but fun).

  32. KanyonKris Says:

    Eber, I like your style.

  33. BotchedExperiment Says:

    Fly, unless I’m wearing a pear of thermals with no pole hole.

  34. steveA Says:

    No sitting unless fecal material is imminent. We aren’t the only ones who splash. Check out the underside of the seat after your wife or daughter have voided, esp. if they had to go badly. More splash than you’ll ever see from a guy who aims halfway decently. Wife and 5 daughters gives me plenty of chances to view the evidence. The lady with the device may be on to something.

  35. Olivia Says:

    Wow! I feel like I just walked into the men’s room by mistake.

  36. ricky Says:

    alignment? you really believed that? you people must have tiny hands or something. how in the world do you knock your clackers three times when you finish through a fly hole? you fly people kill me.

  37. tohellandback1st Says:

    fly method. although, i wear boxers and if i’m wearing gym shorts i also just pull the boxer/gym short leg up and take care of it.

    at home, usually sit; since i’m always the one cleaning the toilet, I care.

    SteveA, splashing the bottom of the seat is not the same as standing and spattering everything. try the black light test sometime…

  38. bikemike Says:

    Olivia, women are always welcome in the mens room, sadly, i’m afraid it doesn’t work the other way around.

  39. g Says:

    You folks who are saying “Eww..she put her device back in her pack?!” slay me, as the menfolks are always putting THEIR device back in THEIR pack. And after just a few shakes. Eww!!
    I think everyone who pees indoors should sit, followed by a session with a bidet.

  40. dug Says:

    g for the win!

    olivia, everything happens for a reason. doesn’t it? maybe not.

  41. steveA Says:


    I admit, we likely splash further due to the lid being up but my point was that we aren’t the only ones making a mess. If the girls splash the underside some gets out the side as well. Just sayin.


    nice point but as someone said earlier, one of the good points of being a man is the ability to stand and take care of ones business.


    perhaps the next survey should explore the number of shakes one needs to determine “good enough”

  42. g Says:

    steveA, anyone can stand up to pee who wants to.
    Doesn’t mean it’s tidy.

  43. Grizzly Adam Says:

    Am I the only one that has filled a gatorade bottle in the back of a moving van?

    Didn’t think so.

  44. Jeff Says:

    Eber – Both hands in your pockets? Sounds dangerous.

    ricky – “knock your clackers”? Is that some sort of urban vernacular that I’m not familiar with?

  45. Rob Says:

    Work – no question, zipper.

    Home – you people are underestimating the sanctuary of the bathroom. I can escape parental responsibilities for a good 30 minutes – sit down and grab a book…

  46. steveA Says:

    g- excellent point, I “stand” corrected. Sorry, it’s hard to avoid a good pun. Or is that an oxymoron?

  47. bikemike Says:


  48. Mike Says:

    sit… stupid f’n prostate!

    and to the guy at work with the same problem who stands… just sit. nobody wants to hear you start and stop.

  49. MOCougFan Says:

    So I tried a reverse experiment of KK yesterday. I did the unbuckle thing instead of the fly. Unfortunately the weight of my keys, wallet, cellphone, and iPod were all enough to cause my trousers to drop to the floor after unbuckling. I felt very exposed standing there in my own bathroom.

    FLY all the way.

  50. tohellandback1st Says:

    steveA, it’s not the splash, it’s the spray. we like to think we have a nice stream heading right where we aim it, but if you could see it (black light test), when you stand to pee, you are pretty much spraying in a 180 degree arc.

  51. steveA Says:

    tohellandback-where did you get the idea and motivation to black light your pee session? I don’t think I want to know the collateral damage. Just knowing it does not all go in the toilet is enough for me!

  52. Grizzly Adam Says:

    This discussion is really flowing!

  53. steveA Says:

    I was just thinking this has to be record for posts!!
    grizzly-good one!

  54. bikemike Says:

    my pee sprays in concentric circles

  55. Big Boned Says:

    Posting on your site after lurking from Fatty’s for awhile.
    I have to say, NOW you know why my name is “Big Boned” – I use the unbuckle method as I can’t fit it through the space allowed through the zipper provided to “Normal Boned” men.
    Is that TMI?

  56. dug Says:

    big boned, um, welcome?

  57. steveA Says:

    big boned-No such thing as TMI on this site as I have been told before. Please see ANY of Ricks posts. Or anyone elses really. Stay awhile and get a whiff of what goes on in DUG’s world.

  58. Cialis Says:

    3iD817 Thank you for the material. Do you mind if I posted it in her blog, of course, with reference to your site?

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