I cannot urinate with some guy standing next to me at the men's room. I know I'm not the only one. I see others afflicted with this block. On a radio show I heard of a course one could take to remedy the problem. I can't count on finding a men's washroom without company. Please advise.
-- C.N.T.P.E.E., S.D.
Our pee-spit question a couple of weeks ago shook loose some interesting mail. This was the most heartfelt, though. I'm not sure I can direct you to a pee class, C., but danged if there isn't an international association for the urinarily challenged. Every affliction from gout to the vapors seems to have a nonprofit support and research group these days, so why not paruresis? That's what it's called when you're trying to raise money for it. Around the water cooler it's called shy bladder syndrome or bashful bladder. The International Paruresis Association (paruresis.org) says 17 million guys and gals suffer from it. In the big book of psychological disorders, it's classified as a social phobia, a type of performance anxiety. The cure is behavior modification. The IPA has every resource a pee-shy person could want. And darned if they aren't in the forefront of a new area of employment law. They're raising money for the Tom Smith Legal Defense Fund, to help a paruretic employee who was fired by the Caterpillar Co. for not being able to produce a urine sample on demand for drug testing.