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Opening Arguments

Urine trouble now

So, if I have to sit down to urinate, would that make me a retromingent reactionary?


The U.S. Navy's new class of carriers will be the first to go without urinals, a decision made in part to give the service flexibility in accommodating female sailors, the Navy says.

The change heralded by the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers starting with the namesake carrier due in late 2015 is one of a number of new features meant to improve sailors' quality of life and reduce maintenance costs, Capt. Chris Meyer said Wednesday.

Omitting urinals lets the Navy easily switch the designation of any restroom or head, in naval parlance from male to female, or vice versa, helping the ship adapt to changing crew compositions over time, Meyer said.

The Navy could designate a urinal-fitted area to women, of course, but the urinals would be a waste of space. Making the areas more gender-neutral is a relatively new consideration for the service, with most of its current carriers commissioned before it began deploying women on combat ships in 1994.

Of course the idea is that we still pee standing up, just into the toilet instead of a urinal. And that, naturally, will lead to complaints about our leaving the lid down or not putting it back down or some damn thing. Gotcha!

The nice thing about being an old fogy is that there is never a short supply of consarned, newfangled impositions with which to build up our stockpile by-god-we-didn't-do-it-that-way irritations. All of the reasons advanced for removing the urinals are perfectly reasonable -- they're more expensive, harder to keep clean, their absence will make the ship more flexible and blah, blah, blah. But, jeez! Could there be a more obvious symbol for the feminization of the military? Couldn't they let the men have just one or two in a dark corner somewhere, you know, someplace to take the sports page in front of, so the sailors can have a place to drift off for a few seconds while they scratch and spit?

Oh, well. We can still pee off the side of the ship. Try that, honey.