A man's urine will always fall near him.



Decisions, Decisions

According to a recent study at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, people with full bladders make better decisions. Researchers asked volunteers to drink either five cups of water, containing 750ml, or take small sips of water from five separate cups. After 40 minutes, by which time the water should have reached the subjects' bladder, their self-control was tested. 

They were asked to make eight choices ranging from small and immediate rewards to larger, but delayed, ones including choosing to receive either $16 (£10) tomorrow or $30 (£18) in 35 days. Surprisingly, those who needed a pee were better at holding out for the larger rewards later.

The theory as to why is that by needing the toilet the brain is sending out signals to control one's bladder, and that these signals helped the subjects with other types of control.

According to Herodotus, the Persians would always make important decisions when drunk on wine, and review their decisions when sober. If they weren’t drunk and a decision needed to be made, they made it sober and reviewed it when drunk. 

He also said: 'They are very fond of wine, and drink it in large quantities. To vomit or obey natural calls in the presence of another is forbidden among them.'

The Aztecs produced salt by evaporating their own urine.


As for the British churchman, he goes to church as he goes to the bathroom, with the minimum of fuss and with no explanation if he can help it.

In the 18th century, sailors in the British Navy washed their clothes in urine.

Broadway Bladder

Theatres took a while to get to grips with toilets. In 1885 London’s Victoria Theatre had a capacity of 2,200 people and 1 toilet. Things were worse up north – in 1837 the Theatre Royal Newcastle had to order lead lining for the floor of the gallery ‘to prevent nuisances’ – i.e. urine raining onto the people sitting in the circle and stalls. Because there was no reserved seating, audiences were reluctant to leave and lose their spot - so they just went where they were. 

Ancient Greeks showed several plays at once with intervals between them, not during. In Britain, theatres had short five-minute intervals in order to trim wicks on the candles. Outdoor theatres didn’t have this problem but began adopting the practice the early 17th century. Longer (15-20 minute) intervals didn’t come about until the 20th century. Today we’re used to them and the long interval is mostly to accommodate ‘Broadway bladder’ – the idea that people can only go about 75 minutes before needing the toilet.

Bladder Problems

According to Johannes Kepler, who was a friend of Tycho Brahe, the great astronomer died of a bladder complaint after he had refused to leave a banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette.  Recent investigations, however, have suggested that he died of mercury poisoning. Whatever the truth, it is true that a drunk person may not realise they have an overly full bladder, which can then rupture.
It is still the case that army officers at a formal mess night are not allowed to leave the table, but etiquette does not prevent them from peeing into a port bottle, so long as they can do so without standing up.

Rats wee on food to mark it as edible.

Human urine is better than normal fertiliser for cucumber cultivation.


Making a speech on economics is a bit like pissing down your leg. It seems hot to you but never to anyone else.


The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of a human bladder.


There’s an App called ‘Run Pee’ which tells you the most boring part of a movie so you can time your dash to the loo.

A poronkusema is a distance of about 7.5Km in Finland. It’s how far a reindeer can travel without stopping to urinate.

Urine Collection

Ammonia is an ingredient in modern cleaning materials, and has been used since ancient times to shift tough stains.

In Ancient Rome vessels for collecting urine stood in the streets, and were taken when full to the fullonica, where launderers would immerse clothes in the urine and stomp on them (like the 'heavy soil' cycle on a modern machine), so urine was a valuable commodity. 

3,079 chemical compounds have been identified in human pee.

All mammals, from squirrel to elephant, conform to the ‘Law of Urination’. It takes them about 21 seconds to pee.

Urinating Nuns

In the 1960s, nuns were harvested for their urine so that it could be turned into fertility drugs.
When women go through the menopause, their urine contains high levels of hormones that stimulate ovulation. These can be used to make medications that increase female fertility. In 1960 Bruno Lunenfeld, the medical student who discovered this, was looking for a source of menopausal women from which to extract these hormones. He met the Pope’s nephew by chance, who convinced the Vatican to recruit nuns across Italy to donate and organise the collection of their own urine. As Lunenfeld said, he was lucky to have: ‘a unique connection to an important authority with access to a huge supply of post-menopausal urine’. (i.e. The Pope)

Menopausal Italian nuns donated urine again in 1999, this time to cows. Hormones from the nuns’ urine were given to cows with especially high quality genes, stimulating them to produce multiple eggs instead of one. These eggs were all fertilised with bull semen and implanted into genetically less superior cows, which could then give birth to ‘supercows’. 

The Chinese soft-shelled turtle pees out of its mouth.

Ancient Romans whitened their teeth with urine. Portuguese urine was considered the best.

Boy Eggs

Tongzi Dan or Boy Eggs are urine-soaked eggs that are street fare in the Zhejiang Province, China. They’re double-boiled in urine – once in their shells and once out of them so they can really absorb the flavour.
The urine is collected from buckets placed at primary schools for young boys to wee into. Boys who are sick are asked to refrain from using the buckets, to keep the process of boiling eggs in urine as hygienic and healthy as possible.

Residents describe the powerful smell of the process as both ‘rejuvenating’ and ‘completely disgusting’.