Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Mr. Whitworth Was Right.

I love a bit of fancy design as much as the next man, I truly do. Even though my engineer’s outlook makes me fundamentally unskilled in producing things of beauty I can honestly be moved by good design. May I draw your attention to several Ducati motorcycles, an Aston Martin or two and most of the classical architecture of Glasgow.


However, much as I can appreciate aesthetic innovation, I worship at the altar of Good Engineering Practice and one of the most fundamental tenets of engineering is standardisation. Standardisation is, in its own way, beautiful too. It’s the reason that your USB stick fits any laptop you may need to use. It’s the reason that when you hop into a new car the brake pedal is just where you expect it to be. It’s the reason that soldiers look like soldiers and not Gok Wan.


Simple, functional beauty.


So why has nobody shared this wonderful principle with the people who design men’s pants?


Please consider Fig. 1. below:


I’m genuinely not worried whether they decide upon system A, B, or C for access to Stephen and the twins when I need a leak, but just pick one ferchrissakes. Great embarrassment can be caused to a fellow standing at the urinals, rummaging about in the trouser department trying to work out whether the access route is Vertical/Vertical (A), Vertical-Horizontal (B) or just hoik the waistband down (C). The situation is exacerbated by the very fact that you need to take a wizz and consequently;


i) you are time-limited




ii) Your concentration is elsewhere.


This would never have happened on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s watch.




  1. A choice of access? who knew........

  2. Your pants look nothing like that, people will think I married a Y front wearing weirdo. Calvin will be mortified. Now I am slightly disconcerted as I don't want to think about you having a wee and how you do it.

  3. Hmm...regardless of the access route, men still manage to splash everywhere (and leave the toilet seat up afterwards)

  4. I'm surprised any man has a problem accessing the Crown Jewels, given the amount of time they all* seem to spend rummaging...

    *by 'all' I think you know who I am referring to...

  5. Libby - It's a bit confusing most days.

    Mrs A - Sorry, when I trained as a draughtsman all those years ago I must have been absent for the 'Accurate Representation Of Underwear' module.

    Ayak - It's because we like to do the Cossack Dance as we wee. All men secretly do this.

    CQ - It's one thing sprawled on the sofa watching Top Gear, it's another thing entirely in the high-pressure environment of the office urinals.