A man needs a place to call his home. A place that is singularly his (and his family’s), where he can set his burdens aside for a time and find shelter from a world that can often be overwhelming and occasionally cruel.
Men, on the other hand, thanks to the gear nature has bestowed upon us, really don’t need a special place to pee. Any alley, bush, car tire, ditch, door, dumpster, fence post, gate, pile of bricks, pond, puddle, tree or wall will do. Like our canine best friends, men can piddle — and quite often do — just about anywhere.
While this is a comforting fact for a man who has just downed three pints of beer or a carton of lemonade without a toilet in sight, it presents a sticky conundrum for city planners and the folks tasked with keeping our public spaces tidy.
To combat this civic nuisance, which is a tinkle dilemma of global portions, some creative thinking, or perhaps vigilante justice à la Batman, is called for. In Mumbai, India, masked men have opted for the latter. These “piss vigilantes” have come up with an ingenious, albeit a rather punishing way of tacking the public urination problem. They simply blast offenders with a massive water cannon.
Their superhero-like emblem of a man peeing in a circle with a slash through it painted across their giant yellow tanker truck leaves no doubt about who their targets are. While the group chooses to remain anonymous, they patrol the city day and night, taking out men reliving themselves in inappropriate locations with a sustained blast of pressurized water.
The “Pissing Tanker” is on the prowl, making Mumbai a safer place — or at the very least, a little less stinky.
If water violence isn’t an option in your vicinity, how about going after the source? Several cities in Washington state have experimented with a ban on high alcohol beverages downtown. Olympia, the state capital, created an Alcohol Impact Area in the center of the city several months ago in order to combat littering and public urination. The ban targets alcoholics who happen to be homeless or loiter on the streets and use building façades and alleyways as their toilets.
Innovative public urinal designs might be a way to go as well. A thermochromic urinal set up against a wall in a public space won’t stop public urination, per se, but it could confine it to specific locations by making peeing a playful game (and no, I’m not talking about water sports here). As the urine falls down the wall, it changes colors. Men create artistic drawings while they pee, which might encourage them to use that location rather than a parked car or a lamppost.
If you want to avoid wetting your trousers while you’re out on the golf course, but don’t want to spoil the fairway with your uric acid, you can opt for the Uro Golf Club. It’s a golf club with a hollowed-out shaft that lets you discreetly tinkle while you’re on green — just don’t holler “Fore!” while you’re draining the lizard.
For people who aren’t all that particular about where they leave their mark, the Wheelie Bin Urinal could do the trick. It’s a garbage bin urinal. The clever design means you don’t have to worry about the smell while you go, as the people passing by are already expecting a waft of unpleasant aroma.
Regulations are another way in which we can combat public urination. If outright bans don’t work, we can always do like the English. It’s perfectly legal to drain the main vein in public in England, as long as you do so on the rear wheel of your car, and keep your right hand on the vehicle at all times. It’s a bit like getting arrested. Hopefully, if you’re ever in this situation, you’ll know how to hold it and aim with your left.
While water cannons, urine-filled golf clubs and pee bins might seem like a lot of effort in sake of the war against public urination, these tactics and designs have been given life for one simple reason: Vigilant and diligent folks are still trying to make communal living a little less malodorous for the rest of us.
Carl Pettit is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.