It's a philosophy familiar to Joe U. Rinator, co-moderator of Urinal.net, the world's premier urinal-specific site. He and his business partner (who shares the same tongue-in-cheek pseudonym) started it in 2000, following a road trip through Europe, where they came across unfamiliar pissoirs. Like Cromwell, they started posting photos for a laugh, but it soon took on a more serious tone. They are also eager to separate themselves from fetishists.
Frankly, I don't really have any interest in looking at pictures of people using urinals," he says. "It is intended to be a depiction of clean urinals, not in use. We're not attempting to touch that part of the world. Certainly, there's nothing preventing people from looking at them for that reason and I'm sure that happens plenty, but if you are interested in the fetish aspect or urination, there are much better places to go. This is strictly porcelain, as it were."
U. Rinators site relies largely on images sent in by urinal watchers from around the globe. They have, on average, 500 visitors every day and receive anywhere between 12 and 20 submissions each month. There are so many that they built a geo-tagged map so fans can more easily navigate the 3,721 individual locations, covering everywhere from Kazakhstan to Namibia.
When asked why he does it, U. Rinator also expresses an interest in the cultural differences that can be gleaned from our toilet habits. However, he has a clear bias that sets him apart from many other toilet enthusiasts, namely that he keeps it strictly urinal.
"Once you're focusing on something as prevalent as a toilet, I mean, everybody's got one," he says. "It's just such a different world, and frankly something that I haven't had any interest in."
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