French Women Pee Standing Up

No Wonder They’re so Confident, I thought

Shefali O'Hara


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…



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.