Woman holding her crotch outside


Why I’m Embracing Peeing Outside

Nov 13, 2020

Ladies, you know when you’re, say, on your second glass of wine in a crowded restaurant and nature is calling and you’ve really got to go? But because you’ve had a baby burst forth from your loins or you’re getting older or you’re just simply a woman, your threshold for holding it in is… um... not what it was? So you pray that those kegels pay off as you lurch towards the restroom only to find 15 other women in the same condition standing crossed-legged in line enviously watching as the guys breeze through a frustratingly empty men’s room?

"Truly I never wanted to tinkle outdoors."

Well I want to tell you about a solution I’ve discovered thanks to COVID-19. If you’re game for it, that is, because it's not for the faint of heart or the terribly shy or for those who like to wear one-piece jumpsuits.

I’m talking about taking it to the streets or at least behind trees. Yes, I’m proud to proclaim that I’ve been transformed into a pandemic pee-er.

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Truly I never wanted to tinkle outdoors. I love nothing more than a big gorgeous gleaming bathroom with spacious stalls, a place to hang my purse and an endless arsenal of toilet paper.  Alas, Corona has a way of disrupting the things we’ve taken for granted like unlimited access to a washroom.

I discovered this new superpower back in March while delivering groceries to my parents who were self-isolating at their home two hours away from me. They had just returned from their annual snowbird trip to the States and were required to quarantine for 14 days. I arrived with a truckload of supplies and a bladder that was about breach.

There was no way I was going to break physical distancing to use their bathroom. And since the roadside bathrooms were all shut down, I made a mental plan to go al fresco in the woods near their home. I should note that just prior to the lockdown I had dropped a dresser drawer on my bare foot and could hardly walk, which left me limping from my car into the thick of the forest.

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Only the forest wasn't that thick because it was March, and there were no leaves on the trees. And since I was injured I couldn’t go all that deep. And the world had shut down, so everyone came out of the woodwork that day to go for a walk.

But I was desperate.

So I hobbled behind a tangle of denuded dogwood, within the eyeshot of stroller moms, birdwatchers and hikers, and got down to business. If I mooned passersby so be it. It was a pandemic after all.

"From that day forward, if I had to go and I could find some place relatively private, I was going for it."

And something happened in that moment. Something primal. I was released from feeling that I couldn’t pee outside like men so casually do or that I have to politely wait in line at an ill-equipped women's bathroom. I no longer cared if it was lady-like or discreet or the fact that I had to cantilever myself in an undignified way to avoid hitting my jeans and boots. From that day forward, if I had to go and I could find some place relatively private, I was going for it.

And I’ve been encouraging other women to join me. My daughter was horrified by the idea when I floated it to her on a late-night beach walk in the summer. We had made a point of going on evening strolls, so when she announced she needed the bathroom I hopped behind some rocks and pointed out the perfect spot. It took some coaxing, but I’m proud to report that this mother and daughter bonded that night by marking our territory under the moonlight.

The pandemic has had a way of changing us and redefining what is normal or polite or acceptable. It's been particularly hard on women because in many ways they’ve borne the brunt of balancing childcare, family responsibilities and work. So it's only fitting that we also get to reap some benefits like letting go of things like heels and bras, and yes, even the confines of bathroom stalls.

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Article Author Laura Mullin
Laura Mullin

Read more from Laura here.

Laura Mullin is a published playwright and writer and the Co-Artistic Director of the award-winning company, Expect Theatre. She is also the Co-Host and Producer of PlayME, a podcast that transforms plays into audio dramas now on CBC. She has worked in theatre, film, and television and lives in Toronto with her writer/producer husband and pre-teen daughter. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @expectlaura.

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