It’s Peeback Time!

Hamburg, with a population of about 2 million people, is the second-largest city in Germany, and like any other major European city, it has a nightlife. In fact, a street in the St. Pauli quarter of the city known as Reeperbahn is known for one thing above all others: the smell of pee. That’s because people would go to the many bars, nightclubs and discos there and do more than their fair share of drinking. Drunk patrons, late at night, needed to empty their bladders. While the vast majority of them would either find a restroom or wait until they got home, sometimes, the urge to go was overwhelming. Men in that situation would then find a wall, unzip, and let ‘er rip. Unfortunately, those who lived and worked in the area had to deal with the stinky aftermath. Then the city decided to fight back. The solution: hydrophobic paint — paint that repels liquid. 


With normal paint, as seen on the left part of the illustration above, the offender’s stream would hit the wall and run safely down to the ground, leaving him in the clear. However, with the special paint, the urine hits the wall and bounces back, ruining the offender’s shoes, if not worse. Just to make it clear that peeing on walls was unacceptable, officials also posted signs warning would-be urinators that their shoes were at risk.


Not all specially-painted walls in the Reeperbahn have such signs. Many hydrophobic walls come with no warning. So, if you try to drain your bladder on a wall in St. Pauli, you’re playing an odd game of urinary roulette.