No Wonder They?re so Confident, I thought
Photo by Park Street on Unsplash
French women. The phrase connotes images of sophistication, savoir faire and understated beauty. They don?t wear tons of makeup or baubles. They smoke and eat fatty cheese. They talk in husky voices like Edith Piaf. Whatever they do, they are sexy.
Those are all stereotypes, of course. I?ve been to France. I know not every French woman is a goddess. But I still envied them.
You see, I?d heard a rumor about French women. They can pee standing up. I am not sure how I discovered this. I didn?t try too hard to verify it. It was too aspirational.
After all, I thought to myself, what basic equipment did French women have that I did not? Assuming they weren?t born with gold plated vaginas, I had the same basic parts. Maybe I could learn to pee standing up.
Whole vistas opened before me.
I remembered hiking trips in Colorado. Male friends casually turned their backs to pee and, a few seconds later, rejoined the group. We women needed to find a bush to hide behind while we exposed our asses to the elements. Plus there was always the worry we?d drip on our hiking boots.
Boats were another place where being able to pee like a man would have been an advantage. I pictured myself casually opening a zipper and standing on the edge, taking care of business quickly and conveniently. On a sailing ship in a storm, this could make a real difference.
Then there are the late nights in a pub and the dirty toilet seats. I could never trust those things were clean. The more people drank, the more likely it was that they weren?t. Most bars don?t provide hygienic toilet seat covers. Some women use piles of toilet paper to avoid having bare skin touch potentially unpleasant substances. Others learn to hover, a cushion of air always present between bum and ceramic seat.
How marvelous, I thought, to be a man and never have to worry about issues of cleanliness when it came to public toilets?
Especially in India, I thought. Oh my God, India.
On my last visit there, we took a bus trip from New Delhi to Agra. We saw the Taj Mahal, which was incredible. It was totally worth the inconvenience of not eating or drinking anything the whole day.
You see, I?d already experienced Indian public toilets once, on a trip to Pune. Of such things are nightmares made. The filth, the stench ? totally indescribable. Not ever wanting to go through that again, I decided to fast. Not even water crossed my lips from sun-up until we arrived back at our host family?s home.
My host had a hard time with this. A traditional Indian man, he wanted to take care of his guests, and this included providing me with refreshments. In vain did he tempt me with treats from roadside stands. I tried to explain to him why I wouldn?t let him buy me even a soda. He didn?t understand.
He was a man. He could just stand behind a tree. If I?d been a man, I could have traveled the breadth of India without a care in the world, drinking all the chai and lassi and Limca I wanted.
Recently I?ve tried intermittent fasting. I?ve had mixed success. Too bad I?m not in India. Any time I?d need to fast, I?d just schedule a road trip.
I have tried to pee standing in the shower. It?s possible, barely. I suppose I could work on it some more.
Freudians might have a field day analyzing my desire to pee standing up. Supposedly women have penis envy. Maybe we do, but it?s not because we want to be men, with dangly bits between our legs. We don?t actually want a penis. What we want is freedom.
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