Monday, June 1, 2009

Aim and Go - A Dutch Invention

Many months ago, whilst browsing through a Dutch daily newspaper I came across "5 reasons not to pee your pants", a picture of Manneke-Pis brandished across the top of the article. I am not sure if I was intrigued or just bemused. But I read on.

I almost wish I hadn’t. Detailed were five contraptions to use instead of a toilet whilst on the road (or golf course in the case of the “Uroclub”). Three of the five pieces of equipment came from the United States, one from Germany and to my astonishment; a Dutch woman had designed the most bizarre of the devices displayed.

May I introduce you to the P-Mate? Alternatively, the She-Pee as it is affectionately known in the UK. It is a cardboard funnel that enables women to stand up and discretely wee when the conventional manner is elusive – picture big queues, dirty loos or a complete absence of public toilets. Thankfully, it is not a reusable gadget.

First used at Pinkpop (currently on this weekend and featuring Bruce Springsteen) in Holland in 2000 the She-Pee has since been used at Glastonbury and a year later introduced in Melbourne for the Big Day Out festival. France, Belgium and Finland followed suit at major music festivals. The She-Pee is now distributed internationally, a phenomena that seems to have passed me by!

It became a hot commodity after the inventor, Moon Zijp, demonstrated its use live on a popular Dutch talk show, hosted by Paul de Leeuw.

The more I have read about this device the more logical it is to me that the origins are Dutch. Whilst Moon actually fashioned the P-Mate after experiencing difficulties on a trip to Indonesia the creation is certainly in line with the rather strange Dutch culture surrounding public toilets. Dutch public toilets are few and far between, and when you find them, you pay anything from 25 cents up to a euro for the pleasure.

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