Originally published in The Aspen Daily News on February 1, 2013
I have never been in a situation where I needed to pee so badly while skiing that I didn’t have time to make it to a bathroom or behind a tree to pop a proverbial squat. But maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I’m not gnarly or open minded enough to try a simple solution — investing in a pair of my own pee pants.
The hands-free pee pants, made by medical professionals, look pretty much like what you would expect if women were to come up with their own solution to relieving themselves without sitting down. The pants are tight nylon shorts with a rubber funnel and a long tube attached to the crotch. Wearing them is probably the closest I’ll ever be to knowing what it feels like to be a man. I wouldn’t say it’s comfortable. The hose hangs awkwardly in between your legs and the rubber funnel bunches around sensitive parts. Still, if you’re in a bind and need to pee quickly it can do the job.
The egress is aligned ergonomically to minimize the amount of waste that comes in contact with skin and the slippery rubber material makes sure that most of the urine does in fact make it out of the funnel. The pants were designed for women with active lifestyles, according to the product’s website, and the company offers portable bags in a range of prints including a hot-pink zebra pattern so you can carry around your own waste in style.
Although the product seems excessive and brutish, the more I think about the pee pants, the more I warm to the idea.
I’ve had many hikes up Highland Bowl with male friends who whip it out — almost ceremoniously — to relieve themselves at the top before heading down. Sometimes I think they do it just to prove that they can or, like a dog marking its territory, to stake claim to the mountain. I’ve never had that urge, but with pee pants I wonder if I could. Despite it’s silly nature, I wonder if pee pants could be the final chapter in feminist’s attempt to level the playing field between men and women. Although we are able to vote and are now outperforming men in the workforce, at the very base of it, women are still limited to dominating mountains by our junk — or lack thereof.
In order truly to be equal, we need to come at things with the mindset of a man. The mindset that we can own things, simply by standing and peeing on them.
With pee pants, I can one day stand at 12,392 feet peeing myself while taking in the view and assert that the mountain is mine. Then, for the first time ever, Highland Bowl will be owned by a woman.
Let the revolution begin.