Partial Showers

Since the summer of cycling, I’ve missed quite a few things, but one of my top longings is for the freedom to talk about the dirtier parts of being a human. Happily, I’ve gotten into mountaineering. I’m not sure if it’s just OSAT — the group that I’m learning from — but a huge topic of conversation on the mountain is what we’ve ingested and what’s come out the other end.

I take great joy in these discussions. And if you do not, please turn away now, as things will be less couched in euphemism from this point forward.

Now that it’s just us — the dirty ones — I can feel free to speak my mind.

In the first session of the six month Glacier Climbing Course I signed up for, a woman got up and spoke about mountaineering hygiene. This was discussion was punctuated by a plastic bag inside of another plastic bag — the dreaded “Blue Bag” that you may have heard of in hushed whispers. She explained, causally, that when you have to go number two on a glacier, you can’t simply leave it there. You have to pack it out. Which means you have to use your hand in the inside-out bag, or a little shovel to pick up your unpleasant deposit and carry it back down the mountain with you — praying the entire time that your two or three bags won’t fail you.

What the heck have I gotten myself into?!?

Months went by as I became slightly more comfortable about picking up my own droppings, it finally dawned on my that I was not going to be able to unzip and pull down my pants while harnessed up. We are roped to each other so if anyone falls on the rope, the others will be able to catch them. And you can’t take your harness off to pop a squat — it’s not safe.

The only solution I found was that I’d just have to pee standing up.

Now, this isn’t my first time thinking about peeing standing up. It seems so convenient, so easy, so simple. And then there was that one episode when Max appeared on The L Word. I’ve read articles, I’ve watched videos, I’ve talked to numerous friends — I know that women can learn to use what they have readily available to pee upright, but every time I’m tried, horrors happen.

I started talking with other women in my program and one spoke animatedly about her plastic penis, which I found out was simply a pee funnel. It was pink, and it was perfect, she said. And with that, I went on a mission to find myself my very own plastic panty protector.

I knew from previous perusing that the sex- and gender-positive Babeland near my house had some STPs (Stand to Pees). I investigated last weekend. To my delight, they had two kinds — one that was pliable plastic and easily packable. I didn’t think twice before buying it.

I got home, drinking as much water as I could along the way, and danced into the bathroom. My glee was uncontainable. I was about to solve all my problems! I pulled down my pants and carefully positioned myself for optimal flow. I can do it, I chanted… and then it happened. I did it! It worked!

I ran out and let Avry know — I had achieved glory!

I drank wholes pots of tea so I could try again. I really had to go this time, and I was feeling confident. It worked so well earlier, what could go wrong?

If only I knew then what I know now…

The first spurts started well. Sadly, that’s where the joy ended. The funnel was too small, and the basin started backing up. And then, it began to overflow. Ah! I tried to counter-balance the problem by tottering my hips forward, trying to get closer to the toilet bowl. But that forward movement simply tipped the back of the STP further back! My excitement evaporated into pure horror.

Ahhhh! Everything is going wrong. Help! Help! Abort the mission! Abort!

Avry, laughing raucously and wanting nothing to do with the whole problem, simply yelled back, “clean up your mess! I’m not going in there!”


You’ll be happy to know that the adventure didn’t end there. After two more failed tries (in the shower, happily), I broke down and got a new STP.

My advice for your future standing golden showers:

  1. Squishy plastic means it’s more packable, yes, but it also means it is much easier to squish the pee up and out of the basin.
  2. Think about the length of the funnel. I’m not sure if boy’s get splash, but I sure did with a lead-away that was too small.
  3. Width of the basin: while it seems that bigger is better, that’s not necessarily the case. Bigger means harder to put between your legs, which means more disaster.
  4. Practice, practice, practice. Accidents happen to us all. Embrase the embarrassment  and try to make it happen before you are 100 miles from civilization with one pair of pants.
  5. Push. As a woman who has had the luxury of tinkling in a toilet for 99% of my life, I often let the liquid simply trickle out of me at its own pace. If you do this, you will get your shoes wet. Pushing allows the stream to get some distance, saving you the annoyance of changing your socks.
  6. Enjoy!

Here’s a link of my very own forrest green pStyle — the cool way to pee. And yes, it is perfect!

Happy trails… not puddles.