I invented that in my mind back in the early 1980s. (I’ve invented lots of other things, too. I’ve mentioned before that I invented music videos and bowling shoes, and I don’t mind at all that I don’t get any residuals for either of them. Music videos could have put me on the map, sure, but it’s enough that I know that I invented them and now you know.)
I invented the portable girl’s urinal when I was in my next to last year of college. I had time then, since I spent most of my weekends standing in line at Ray’s in Kent, waiting for a bathroom stall. If you walked into Ray’s, you would think that it was a strip club or a gay bar. The place was full of guys. All the women were in line for the restroom. This probably did more for reducing unwanted pregnancies and STDs than anything in the ‘80s, since it was hard for guys to pick up drunk college girls, when we all had to go to the bathroom so bad.
Our restroom line was assigned a waitress of its own. When you finally did get in there to go, you’d go directly to the end of the line again, since you’d probably have to go again by the time you got to the head of the line.
I used to think, “There should be a way to even the playing field here,” as I watched guys go through their restroom like it was a revolving door. If there wasn’t a clear path to a urinal, they would just walk out the back door and whip it out, indiscriminately spraying pee onto the guy selling gyros from a cart.
I dreamed up a little funnel that was hooked to a 2-liter Pepsi bottle, except smaller. Wouldn’t it be great if we could use that instead of a toilet with a separate room, with a locking door, in limited supply? I didn’t think about the toilet paper part. I had to leave something to the actual inventor of the thing.
Of course, nothing like that was invented until long after I was out of college and had stopped going to concerts and bars and places where I drank too much beer and overtaxed my bladder.
In 1990, I was living in Washington, DC, trying to build a freelance writing career with one local contact I had met at a weekly newspaper editor’s workshop, two tiny little kids, and zero money for babysitters. It was looking grim. I somehow got hooked up with an editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, who called me to ask if I’d be interested in writing a little piece on something she thought sounded interesting.
“It’s a female urinal,” she told me. It had been invented by a woman who had worked with sick, old and handicapped people who couldn’t sit on toilets and were girls, so they had to let the toilet come to them, as it were. She thought maybe regular girls in public would appreciate such a device, since we really don’t sit on toilets either.
It’s ridiculous that they even put toilet-shaped devices in public restrooms at all, the inventor of the She-inal told me when I called her for an interview. No one sits on them, so why do they even have seats? she said. It’s generally agreed that 99 percent of women do the squat-and-hover maneuver, which is a little hard on the thigh muscles as you get past 40. The other 1 percent are filthy pigs who sit on the seat, knowing that the little whisps of toilet paper that you pieced together, have blown away by the breeze from your giant ass descending down.
What we are left with are toilet seats with pee sprays and bits of leftover toilet paper. Is it any wonder that we overdo the perfume and eyeshadow at times?
I thought the inventor of the She-inal was a girl genius. I loved her. I would have given her my ticket to a rock concert or a professional baseball game if I had had one.
She told me that she was in negotiations to have the She-inals put in the new stadium in Baltimore and that was her ticket out of the medical supply business. No more selling walkers and bedpans out of the back of her car. I was going to help make her famous by writing something about her and the She-inals in Cosmo.
I did not know that in 1990, Helen Gurley Brown was a control freak she-monster who didn’t want to see me or the She-inal inventor happy at all. I don’t think she cared one hoot about either of us. I wrote up my little story and submitted it to my Cosmo editor contact and a couple of weeks later she called me.
“Helen Gurley Brown thinks it’s gross.” What? Gross? Peeing standing up is too gross for Cosmo? This is the magazine that just featured “What an Abnormal Pap Smear Can Mean” and “When Daddy Marries Someone Nearly Your Age.”
At that time, Helen Gurley Brown personally OKd every single word that ran in the magazine. She thought that a story about girls peeing standing up would sicken her readers, who were apparently too sexed up to have to go to the bathroom at all.
She axed it. The story never ran, my freelance career entered a 10-year dormant period, Helen Gurley Brown eventually died, and Cosmo celebrated by running stories about female secretions and protrusions that make surgeons and coroners cringe.
I never gave female urinals another thought. Until this week, when I saw an ad for the GoGirl, a portable container for pee that girls can whiz into conveniently and discreetly. Much like my funnel-and-pop-bottle invention, it’s your very own, so you don’t have to wait for them to be installed somewhere. You just pack one of the GoGirls into your purse, pee into it at your convenience, and toss it.
Here are a couple more good things about the GoGirl:
☻ They are relatively cheap ($6.99 each and less per GoGirl if you buy them in multi-packs, and if you think they’re not worth it, you’ve never squat-and-hovered at Camp Sugarbush, the Girl Scout camp I went to).
☻ They are pink, so your guy friends won’t want to use up your last GoGirl because they’re too lazy to get out of the car.
☻ You can buy GoGirl accessories and merchandise like t-shirts and lip gloss. GoGirl stickers that say “Don’t Take Life Sitting Down” are only a buck.
☻ The marketing for GoGirl is way more advanced than the She-inal inventor could ever have imagined. There is a U.S. tour, where a pink mini-Cooper with female restroom silhouettes all over it will go to a bunch of places in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, some breast cancer events, and the Hopkins Raspberry Parade.
You still need a bathroom, or at least a big tree to stand behind, to use the GoGirl. (We’re not animals. We will seek out some kind of privacy.) But the idea is, you can get in and out as quickly as guys because you’re eliminating the whole squat-and-hover thing.
The Web site suggests the GoGirl can be used when making long distance road trips, making unnecessary those pesky astronaut diapers when driving cross country to kidnap and tape up your boyfriend’s new girlfriend.
Labels: Baltimore stadium, Cosmopolitan, female urinal, GoGirl, Helen Gurley Brown, inventions, Kent, peeing standing up, Ray's