Dec 7, 2010

Why do Filipinos spit before making weewee? (Part 1 of 3)

Dear Filipino,

First question: don't you notice that when you are in the men's restroom with fellow Pinoys, we usually spit before making weewee? Hahaha!  Or how we use our lips for pointing things and making sitsit (psst psst) to others, esp. kids?  More serious qs to come -- hope Mark Zuckerberg buys this great site for $ 1 billion!

Sweaty in Singapore

Dear Sweaty,

Mark Zuckerberg can kiss my bagoong-flavored b--t if he thinks he can buy this site for a measly $1B. ;-)

In any case, thanks for what -- I'm sure -- you meant as a complimentary ending.  But you have three different questions preceding it, each actually entitled to a separate post.  So I've decided to divide my answer into three different parts: Part 1 is "Spitting before pissing"; Part 2 is "Pointing by lips" and Part 3 is "Making sitsit."  This first post is ONLY going to discuss Part 1 because I have limited time.  You'll have to wait a little bit for the next two parts.
Part 1:  Spitting before pissing

I don't know about you, but I find most public restrooms or toilets not exactly the place where you want to do your breathing exercises to cleanse the lungs.  So, is it possible that, like me, most just really want to counteract their gag reflexes by spitting? 

Maybe -- but that's the boring explanation.  And we hate boring.  In fact, we invent games so things are not boring.

So my personal theory is this: Filipinos are a playful bunch, so we spit at the urinal because the sputum is perfect for "target practice" -- which is defined by Wikipedia as "any exercise in which projectiles are fired at a specified target, usually to improve the aim of the person or persons firing the weapon." (Italics added.) 

Among Filipinos in a public toilet, there may or may not be an unspoken "contest" going on, the typical mechanics of which are as follows:

(1) We look each other in the eye -- but only in split seconds out of concern for any unwelcome suspicions -- to issue the "challenge" all-too-familiar to fans of Western flicks;

(2) We hurl the mucousy "target" at the bottom of the urinal;

(3) We unsheath or take out our "weapons";

(4) Then -- the fun part -- we try to "flush" the sputum as fast as we can using only the strength of the liquid pressure coming from our respective "pipes."  (Note: This is one department where size of the "pipe" is clearly secondary to the owner's accuracy and intensity to achieve the desired goal.)

The contest's winner is whoever is first to: (a) get rid of the "target" and any evidence thereof; (b) press the real mechanical flushing implement attached to the urinal; and (c) return his "weapon" back to its holster.  And like golf, it's an honesty-based gentleman's game, so winning is savored internally, not bragged about with unnecessary chest-thumping and fist-pumping (unless you're Tiger Woods).

But again, that's my theory, my explanation. 

Another theory may be based on the one articulated by an expert in sociology, Prof. Robert S. McCarl of Boise State, who explained that spitting is really a way for men to "establish their territories."  According to him:  "It's basically them throwing down a challenge. It's a way of saying, 'this is my space and I'm marking it.'" 

Of course, Prof. McCarl did not single out Filipinos in his explanation and he did not apply his theory within the context of toilet dynamics.  And so this is where I, again, come in.

Do you remember what they say about the main difference between men and women?  Well, as history's wise men (for they surely were men!) pointed out: Women can only use a toilet ONE at a time but men can do so TEN at a time!

But obviously those wise men didn't have Filipino men in mind when they made that observation.  Because the truth is, real Filipino men can't!

Applying Prof. McCarl's theory, I think this is why we spit before, as you put it, we "mak[e] weewee."  Essentially, we're telling fellow Pinoys and other users of the restroom: "Hey, this is MY urinal so go get yours!  And by the grace of Bathala, if you care about your life, don't even think of sharing it with me!"

(Disclaimer:  The implications underpinning the second theory is NOT unique to Filipino men.  That's why there are strict rules of etiquette to be followed in the use of urinals [see the video below] and risks abound, across many cultures, in cases of violations of "buffer zones" [see this other video].  To test your urinal IQ, download the iPhone app "Urinal test" now; the app may just save your life.)

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1 comment:

This is Pete said...

Great answer Mr Filipino! From now on I will enter the toilet a changed (and more observant) man. By the way do you know the reason why we are the only nation that calls it the CR? Which reminds me of this interesting article a few weeks ago:

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