New Plymouth, New Zealand—I'm in a bar. It's a rarity, I know, but bear with me a moment. I have a funny story that will serve you well should you ever find yourself drunk here on the other side of the world.
So, I'm in a bar, and as often happens after a fifth or a 10th pint, I have to take a piss. No worries, eh?
Well, let me tell you about the troughs.
New Zealand loves troughs. And so do I. The trough is the finest mass-pissing invention known to man. I remember going to a ballpark with my old man in the mid-1990s—which ballpark, I cannot recall; I thought it was Old Yankee Stadium but subsequent research seems to indicate otherwise. But I do remember ducking into the bleachers bathrooms between innings, full of Yoo-Hoo. There, smugly anachronistic, running down the center of the seemingly endless men's room, was what looked like the world's longest bathtub—porcelain, chipped and rusted, with cast-iron pipes running above it, dripping water. It was a double-sided trough. You picked a side, picked a spot, pulled your dick out, and let loose. There'd be a fat guy two feet across from you, liberating his dick from a few acres of sweatpants. It was a democracy of piss.
The trough is vanishing from the States. The Kiwis, however, are a practical people, and the trough is a practical way to urinate. Nearly every men's room has a trough, and they are all the same, though they take some getting used to before you're confident you can take a pissed piss and keep it from spraying all over your hands. Trust me on this.
Kiwi troughs are stainless steel. A constant stream of water runs down their shiny back walls. Sometimes, the more environmentally conscious of New Zealand plumbers install a button so that the water runs only when you've just pissed—a cascade flush. But they are always stainless steel, and—this is the kicker—they always have a step. It's the kind of textured, grippy metal step you might find in a subway station or on your way into a bus. The step is key. I cannot emphasize this enough. You must remember that, unlike in the States, where the trough is a rarity, and the step is unheard of, there will be a trough, and there will be a step onto which you must step. Or else you will fall into a cascading wall of piss-water. Again, trust me.
So there I am, to get back to my story, drunk and happy at a drunk and happy Kiwi bar, headed to the toilets. A pace or two from the trough, I pull my dick out and start pissing, on approach. You've been there, right? You're talking to a girl, and you delay the trip as long as possible, and then you finally peel away and head for the loo, and the moment you walk through the door, your patience ends. So I'm pissing, and I'm approaching, and then I do the very thing I told you never to do in New Zealand, which is to say that I forget the step. Mid-piss. I trip over the stainless-steel precipice and begin a slow, horrified fall into my own urine. With no other recourse, I let go of my dick and reach out with both hands to break my fall. At which point, my hands collide with the stainless steel wall of water and a stream of my own watery piss. I regain my balance and control of my penis and continue as if nothing happened. But something did happen. I pissed all over myself, that's what happened.
So, to my fellow American males, if you're ever traveling in New Zealand, I beg you to heed my advice: Respect the trough. And mind the step. You can shake my urine-free hand with your urine-free hand later.
Dave Shireley is also a Deadspin rugby correspondent. He arrives in New Zealand with 1.5 TBs of downloaded rugby matches on three hard drives and with zero girlfriends. During his otherwise undistinguished career at Colorado College, he was a hooker for three years. That's a rugby joke.