“You or me?”

It’s the silent question our dog asks whenever I rise in the dead of night. At 17, he’s a virtuoso of peeing — any time, any place; long form, freestyle. Lately, though, I’ve had to tell him to hold his powder, because I’m the one walking the porcelain mile.

Frequent night urination is a rite of passage for middle-aged males. If you’re a guy and older than 40 you’ve “taken classes” at FNU. As randy youths we bragged about “going all night.” Now we’re doing it — just not in the way we imagined.

It’s how guys know what time the street cleaner came last night and when the newspaper arrives in the morning. It’s why very few international art thieves are middle-aged men. No one wants to rappel down a building, dodge security cameras, then crawl between the motion sensors looking for a men’s room.

Many guys have a “degree” from FNU, though few are eager to admit this. While we are quick to brag about our exotic medical issues (“See this scar? Know how I got this scar?”), guys are less forthcoming on the age-related ones (“See this hairy mole? Know how I got this hairy mole?”). Some actually think that declining bladder capacity is unmasculine. Though I’ve yet to hear any woman say: “Know what I love in a man? Urine storage.”

Men begin to “go” more for a variety of reasons. As we age, our prostate gland, which resembles a walnut, grows to the size of a Chevy Suburban. This increases pressure on your bladder and pretty soon you’re walking directly from the beer commercial to the bathroom without actually consuming anything.

Sometimes it’s a sign of a more serious problem; often it’s not. But it’s God’s way of irritating guys until they get a physical and find out. Most doctors can help you reduce the number of times you “attend” FNU, so your mail doesn’t have to be forwarded to the bathroom.

In the meantime, there are worse problems to have. If you forget to set your alarm before going to bed, you get three or four chances to make that right. I’m sure history owes the discovery of countless comets and nocturnal creatures to midlife males with sparrow-sized bladders. It breeds a kind of psychic ability: In a dark house, you can identify toys, coins or house cats as they appear underfoot. If scientists abandoned a bunch of men in the desert at night, the ones under 40 would kill one another fighting for supremacy. The older ones would rise and, instinctively, walk toward porcelain.

And there’s something to be said for any occasion where you have to get up but don’t have to go to work immediately. My house is still. My loved ones are asleep. My only sentinel is an aging terrier and we bond, as aging dogs do.

Though he still thinks I’m a sissy for doing it indoors.

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