The Masculine Diaries


He lifted the seat to the toilet. How many times does a man perform that ritual over the course of his life? Surely someone has arrived at a number, taken a tally. He had no idea what that number might be, but it would no doubt fit well with the line If I had a dollar for every time… He thought If I had a dollar for every time I lifted the toilet seat before I took a piss I’d be a rich man. Eliot’s Prufrock measured out his life with coffee spoons but he just as easily could have tracked it with lifted toilet seats, and if so it could have packed more of a punch in arriving at the intended meaning—in a second of self-reflection a man pauses and wonders Am I pissing my life away? Of course the act of seat-lifting is selfless, golden-ruled, thinking more highly of others than yourself, taking into account those who will come afterwards, those in particular who sit down to take a whizzerooni. He figured there were still some men who never lifted the toilet seat, uncircumcised Philistines who’d never read Eliot.

But was he simply pissing his life away? As questions go, it’s a good one albeit an older one. He was at an age where he had suffered sufficiently to begin asking such questions. He was also at an age where staying hydrated was touted as a health benefit. Since the pandemic began he’d set a goal to drink half his body weight in ounces of water each day which meant spending a lot of time lifting the seat. From the Googling he’d done he knew what to look for: nice, clear, Sprite-like pee means Jack’s a healthy boy, at least in terms of hydration. A faux friend sent him an article on the dangers of hyponatremia—too much water, which leaves your body’s sodium levels all akimbo, no bueno. The man who sent the article wasn’t as interested in being a friend as he was being a voice of correctness in an incorrect world (how utterly exhausting). So he skimmed the article then trashed it. Yeah, thanks faux friend, but the overexamined life isn’t worth living either.       

He’d found himself one evening, after everyone else was in bed, lost in the glow of his computer screen lusting over flow blue earthenware. (Not what you expected, huh?) He paused and had essentially the same toilet seat lifting question: Gosh, how’d I get here? Scrolling page after page of smooth, pale porcelain skinned plates and saucers and teacups with the distinctive brilliant blue blurring? If I had a dollar… The porn question is usually boiled down to one of power and possession. He believed boiled down questions always absent of any flavor. Yes, he wanted a flow blue cup and saucer to use each morning as he drank his coffee. Did he want to possess it? No. But did he want to use it? Yes. He wanted to hold and keep it, admire its beauty, help it to be used for its intended purpose in the world, and if possible, at the conclusion of his life, pass it along to a trusted child or an unfaux friend and say Here, this is beautiful. Cherish it.

He also loved the hazy blue pattern for it reminded him of his mother.

The voice in his head said Stop pissing away your life and order the damn teacup and saucer. So he did, one-click, easy as pie, $35 plus tax and shipping. The product description mentioned a small crack in the saucer. He liked cracks, a.k.a, character. He was well hydrated, but he was also well-cracked by this time in his life. He might or might not tell his wife of his late night purchase. A man needs a secret or two. She’d see it soon enough and ask him about it and he would gladly tell her the entire story, how one minute you’re standing there taking a relieving piss and the next minute you’re ordering a flow blue cup and saucer from some bloke in England and somehow they’re connected in a way she might understand, but then again she might not. Either way’s okay. Crack on.



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  1. Dianne Couts on May 16, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    You are hilarious. And thank you for making a point without even mentioning masks. Happy memories of your mom and this post and your midnight purchase every time you sip from that cup! For all that, it is a bargain indeed.

  2. Diana Trautwein on May 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Man, you need to get out more.

    Oh, yeah. We ALL need to get out more.

    And someday, we will. Between now and then, keep on hydrating, keep on pissing, keep on buying lovely things with tiny cracks.

    And, for God’s sake, KEEP ON WRITING.

  3. Mary Liz Kehoe on May 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    And then there are those of us who have to put the toilet seat down or clean the base….

  4. Lynn on May 16, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Yeah, cracked blue tea cups and the porcelain throne gives new meaning to life in Pandemic.

  5. SandyHay on May 16, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Oh John. A perfect reflection for a Saturday afternoon. And I so needed this laugh. I think I need a blue cup and saucer too ?

  6. Rich on May 16, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Classic Blase. When can we expect Chapter 2? I’m hooked.

  7. Chuck Cook on May 20, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Did I send you an article on hyponatremia???
    Take care unfaux friend!

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