10/08/2010 16:19 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Achtung Baby Or England, Where The Women Pee Like German Men

Here's something you probably don't (want to) know: In Germany the men sit down to pee. Having lived here for eight years and been married to a German for five of them, I'm still not quite used to the sight of it. A continental European thing maybe? Not a clue, but it most certainly is a German thing. At least when they are at home. Obviously, in certain situations, they have no other option but to stand but generally they are a men-sitting-to-pee nation, or "sitzpinklers". German mothers instill urinary etiquette into their sons at a very early age and in many homes you will find a "polite" reminder by way of a sign place s strategically on the underside of the toilet seat, should some poor chap dare to consider the men-standing-to-pee or stehpinkler option. It's a hygiene thing apparently. All that know what I mean. German women are pretty outraged by stehpinklers.

An English colleague of mine refuses point blank to, "do it like a bird" stating that they "might as well leave a pair of scissors with the sign so you can remove the rest of your manhood whilst you're at it!"

It's a fair comment. But does he clean the toilet?

Whilst some friends were over from the UK a few weeks ago Finje walked in on little-boy-standing-to-pee. You'd think she had discovered a new species. I suspect the poor chap still hasn't recovered from the humiliation of her Attemboroughesque curiosity! The first consequence of her observations was a recurrence of the "penis-envy". Periodically finding your daughter with some phallic shaped object (it makes you see Playmobil in a totally different light) stuffed down her jeans and pronouncing with gusto "look I have a penis" does little for your nerves when out in public. Next came a lengthy, detailed chat after discovering her straddling the loo trying to emulate little-boy-standing-to-pee. My pathetic and ill-fated struggle not to laugh did little to aid my cause.

A few sublime weeks then passed with only the occasional comment/query regarding toiletry habits or male/female genitalia! Yet again lulled into a false sense of security by a four year old I began to relax.

Stupid, stupid woman.

On the way to powder my nose in a crowded (of course) coffee shop, a little voice of wisdom piped up behind me, "Don't forget not to spray and wipe from front to back mama".

I threw her a beaming, over the shoulder smile and through gritted teeth,

"Will do darling!"

I then walked into the Ladies Room with as much gravitas as I could muster and began the search for an escape route.