Women aiming for equality on Planet Man? Yeah right.

December 21, 2008

sheweeI worry about all these celebrities giving their offspring weird and strange names with weird and strange spellings — double vowels, silent consonants, apostrophes, hyphens, glottal stops — and my concern is this: How the heck are they going to write their names in the snow?

There’ve been wintry days when I barely managed to finish my own name, and it’s only four letters long. Although I’ll admit the big flourish at the end might have been needlessly extravagant. 

Of course, the ability to conduct such flagrant penmanship was always one of the main advantages of being a permanent resident of Planet Man. Well that and the innate ability to time a cuddle so it lasts  just long enough to raise the possibility of second helpings but without anyone getting all clingy and needy. Which would explain why there’s a stop watch beside the bed.

But now someone has gone and invented a device called the Shewee (shewee.co.nz),  a plastic funnel sorta thingy designed to allow women to not only invade a man’s territory but to also mark it as her own, in whatever design catches her, uh, fancy.

A story I found in a newspaper Travel section explained how a woman need only place the Shewee “against your body,” angle the spout in any direction they bloody well want, and Bob’s your uncle. No more squatting in bushes or balancing over grotty toilet bowls or dancing from foot to foot in a frantic quest for absolute and complete privacy while men simply ducked around the nearest tree and killed the weeds.

I showed Viking Woman the story. The next day we’re standing in an outdoors store in Napier and I’m swiping my bank card. Merry Christmas, sweetie.

Actually, it is the perfect gift.

Viking Woman spends nearly three weeks a month on the road. And roads in New Zealand, unlike, say, North America, tend not to be overpopulated with rest stops equipped with facilities. Oh, sure, there might be a picnic table in a clearing, and several arboreal options for guys to tend to a full and screaming bladder. But women with even a teensy bit of modesty are stuffed.

But no more. And it’s all thanks to the Shewee.

“I think it’s brilliant,” says Viking Woman. “It works awesome. I wish I’d had one years ago. It would have saved me sticking my arse in thistles or peeing on my ankles. Now I don’t have to worry about going into a toilet and trying to sit down, because some of those places are really gross. I’m planning to keep the Shewee in my purse so it’s always handy. Now, if it could only cuddle . . . ”

OK, yes, I made up that last part, but Viking Woman, who could be heard giggling madly from behind the closed bathroom door, did add it takes a bit of practice to get that whole aiming thing down pat,  “to avoid getting those little driddles on my pants, like the guys get.” Nice.

So, yeah, the Shewee could very well be the greatest invention since the penis, but just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

I’m not convinced women understand the element of danger involved in being able to relieve one’s self at the drop of a zipper. I worry they will be so excited at the prospect of having control over their waste material (including, of course, the abovementioned opportunity to practise their penmanship skills), that they will fail to fully comprehend that, as with all freedoms, there comes risk.

I offer a personal anecdote as an illustration:

Viking Woman and I are driving from Napier to Taupo. There is but one public toilet enroute and it’s at the 35-minute mark of a two-hour trek. In other words, way too early.

Eventually, Nature calls and we answer by pulling off the road. Viking Woman disappears into a small stand of trees. I move further away to venture over a small bank, lest passing motorists be distracted by  what would surely appear to be a grown man wrestling an anaconda.

The ground, as it descends down the far slope, is thick with blackberry bushes. I step onto the vines. Except there is no ground there. The dropoff is steeper than I’d anticipated, meaning I step into little more than blackberry-covered air.

With nothing solid underfoot, I pitch facedown into the prickles. I’m now lying at nearly a 90-degree angle, my head well below my feet.

After a few minutes, Viking Woman wanders over, if only to growl me for taking so damn long. By this time, I’ve gritted my teeth, grabbed onto the vines and managed to twist around so I’m facing uphill. I am just cresting the bank —  bloodied, stained and torn — when she arrives on the scene.

Fortunately for my manhood, I hadn’t yet unzipped when I fell. Big Jim and the Twins, like all members of Planet Man, may always be up for a new adventure, but somehow I don’t think that includes being impaled on thorns.

The moral of the story is this: Being able to control your own flow is not always as much fun as it looks. It takes many long years of practice before you feel confident enough to perform in public. On Planet Man, we’re all trained professionals.

Maybe it’s just me, but women mastering the ability to pee from a standing position just feels wrong, like it’s somehow against a law of nature, or maybe even a commandment or two. Next, they’ll be wanting to operate the remote and after that it just gets ugly.

The scariest thing is how this little piece of moulded plastic is helping erode the difference between the genders. I know this for a fact because, after she used the Shewee, Viking Woman forgot to put the toilet seat down and then didn’t flush.

Welcome to Planet Man, ladies. Just don’t touch anything.

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