Adventures in urination – The SheWee

SheWee

The SheWee, or Ladycock, as I've come to think of it

As may be obvious to regular readers, I go to a lot of music festivals.  And as everyone knows, the absolutely worst thing about festivals is festival toilets. These are usually stinking chemical cesspits in cramped cubicles, smeared with the bodily excretions of thousands of worse-the-wear punters.

The game du jour at any festival is toilet roulette – will this one be filled to the brim with poo and bogroll? Or will you luck out and get a freshly-emptied cabin with (ooh yes!) toilet roll and hand sanitiser included?

Regardless, everyone walks away from the experience with a slightly degraded look of horror on their face. It’s the same kind of face a dog owner makes when they have to scoop up a particularly nasty poop – the   unpleasant feeling of getting just a little bit close to the visceral reality of life. Never mind wanting to do a poo at Paul’s – it’s enough to make you never want to do a poo ever again.

I refuse to go to festivals unless I’m performing myself or tagging along as a Belleruche WAG, so I get to use the backstage toilets. These are slightly better than the ones for general use, but still not the most enjoyable experience –  though I must point out that the compost loos at the Sunrise festival were positively pleasant (or as pleasant as an outdoor municipal shitter can be) throughout the site.

My main issue with festival loos is more of an issue with my own body – I’m extremely short. This makes it difficult to hover over a dirty seat without peeing onto my boots or accidentally sitting in something horrific. So this summer I invested in a SheWee. This is essentially an anatomically-shaped plastic funnel (instantly dubbed “the Ladycock” by everyone who’s seen it) which should – in theory at least – enable me to pee standing up.

The packaging recommends to try it in the shower first. Now I don’t know about you, but I haven’t peed in my shower since I was about three, and I’m not about to start now.  So I tested it in the privacy of the toilet of my shared house. The results were not promising. Given that I live with three boys, the toilet and floor have already seen a fair amount of… errr… misdirection, but this was ridiculous. Over a few attempts, I managed to get wee on:

  • My hands
  • The toilet rim
  • The floor
  • My trousers
  • The wall (I’m still not quite sure how that happened)

Suddenly I have a grudging new-found respect for the challenges of weeing standing up (although it is loads of fun, isn’t it?). Anyway, I ran out of time and inclination to practice any more before the festival, so the SheWee remains untested ‘in the wild’. I’ve still got a few more festivals lined up this summer, so maybe she’ll get another outing.

Have you ever tried a SheWee or similar device? Did you pee on your trousers? And just how much fun is peeing standing up, eh, boys?

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11 responses to “Adventures in urination – The SheWee

  1. Oh Dr Kat, This was just too funny.

    I’m squeamish when it comes to stuff like this, but I’ll steady my nerves and see how I go.

    I would have thought the problem with a device like that would be the initial pressure of fluid going into it and the angle of incidence. Surely having these out just by even a little bit would make a crazy whirl pool thingy to happen, and before you know it you’re in a world of hurt end embarrassment.

    And of course, controlling pressure would be particularly difficult, especially if things start to go wrong. I mean, you’d need the steady hand and nerves of a test pilot to manage such a feat!

    Being male, means the world is my toilet. (Well for number 1’s anyway). Provided you can find a quiet spot of course, then you’re in business. Having something to aim at is a plus, so any tree trunk or wall will do. And hapless bugs beware because you’re in the firing line, and most likely headed for having a very bad day.

    And when going to public toilets the main worry is if the odor is going to be bearable while trying not to touch anything and getting out of there asap.

    This may explain how things can go so wrong in toilets. It might start out perfectly clean. But after the first person makes a mistake and doesn’t fix it, the next person is less likely to worry if they’ve made the problem worse, until at the end of the day you have a toxic waste dump for some poor janitor to clean up.

    I’m afraid I don’t have any good suggestions to help you out however, other than kicking up a fuss about making sure the performers have their own loos to use.

    Good luck!
    Craig.

    • Thanks for that very thorough analysis!

      It’s true that once something starts getting a bit messy, then it just gets worse. I’m sure people have done research into it.

      • You are welcome.

        I had just finished listening to Dave’s kitchen science segment at the end of one of your terrific Naked Scientists episodes only minutes before hand on my drive to work, so I was still in kitchen science mode I’m afraid.

        It really is an awesome show, and I think you should all receive knighthoods for it.

        Cheers 🙂

  2. Hi Kat!

    My name is Jo and I work for Shewee – this article came up in my Google alerts, so I hope you don’t mind me commenting?!

    I go to loads of festivals myself – this year I’ve been to Download, Glastonbury, Sonisphere Poland, Sonisphere UK and Bloodstock – and I totally agree when you say the toilets are the worst thing about festivals! But my Shewee does make it a whole lot more pleasant!

    Some people take to the Shewee straight away and others need a bit more practice, so I hope you don’t mind me giving you a bit of advice?! The trick is not to hold the Shewee too tightly against your body. Have the back ‘pointy’ end touching, but then the front rounded end just a little bit away from the body. This will ensure urine doesn’t ‘fill’ the Shewee.

    Please see here for more tips:
    http://www.shewee.com/newstore/pages/How-to-Shewee.html

    The Shewee is also great to use not just in the portaloos, but in your tent in the night (especially when it’s raining outside) you can go into a bottle or into one of our absorbent pouches, and it saves trekking across a dewy feild at 4 in the morning!

    Please feel free to email me if you are still having problems, but I shouldn’t imagine you will.

    I hope that helps and enjoy the rest of your festivals 😀

    All the best,

    Jo

    • Hi Jo,
      Thanks for the handy hints. I’ll give it another go over the bank holiday weekend as I’ve got 3 festival gigs around the country. I’ll let you know how I get on!

  3. Any more luck?!

    Jo

    • I didn’t try this weekend, as all the toilets at the festivals were in excellent condition. I promise I’ll give it another go though 🙂

  4. Amusing post. I haven’t used one yet, but I did write a blog post equating peeing with man with macho culture. It became my most popular blog post – I fear, because of the word ‘toilet’, not because people particularly cared about women invading men’s spaces. But I could be wrong!

    http://delilah-mj.blogspot.com/2010/10/if-women-go-to-toilet-like-men-can-we.html

    • Interesting thought. there is a bit of me that wishes I could master the whole “peeing standing up” thing. It would make life easier.

      • You are a crackup.
        For starter syour shower water goes to the same sewage treatment plant as your toilet waste, so there really is no issue with going in the shower.
        As for standing up, I was at a concert once and strolled straight past the massive queue of women at the loos (as you do when you are a guy) and into the guys. While going, a woman walked up to the trough, hitched her skirt, hooked her knickers to one side, parted her – ahem – lips, and peed perfectly straight like a guy. So I guess it is just a matter of getting everything out of the way.
        Hope that isn’t too personal, but you being a scientist and all… Anyway you started it. 🙂
        Love your work.

      • I’m sure there’s no practical issue with peeing in the shower in terms of sewage treatment – it’s purely a psychological one (although I’m also reluctant to do anything that might incur more bathroom cleaning…)
        As for the lady at the conert – good skills!

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