Everything was perfect on our trip to Holland just a few weeks ago. We were in Utrecht for a music festival. Not an open-air one — all the concerts were held in churches and museums.
Holland is eco-friendly in the extreme with people riding their bikes, perfect weather (even too hot!) beautiful canals and friendly people.
And then, I saw it. There it was — an open-air urinal!
And it smelled too! This had nothing to do with the festival either as it was a permanent fixture in one of the main streets in the town.
I could not believe it — it was not like the horrible red ones that caused an uproar in Paris last year when they were installed all over that beautiful city. Those are filled with straw and are said to be odorless!
This Dutch one was equally awful. It was dark green and there were three places and nothing to get rid of that awful pong.
I thought — you cannot piss in the street. Apparently many men do and they do it all over the place. Just think in Paris, in just a six-month period in 2018, they had to give out 5,000 fines for that behavior ( I mean vandalism!)
Women were on the warpath and rightly so.
Why should men get such special treatment? Women have to cope with all sorts of discomfort when they want to get some relief. They cannot even breastfeed in public without causing an uproar in some places.
The spokeswoman for Femmes Solidaires said:-
“It is not just men who occupy the public space, but also women and children, who might not want to see men publicly urinate.
“These urinals are designed to comfort men and reinforce the idea that women aren’t welcome in the public space. It is discrimination and reinforces the stereotypical, sexist idea that men can’t control themselves in any way, including their bladders.”
Paris women were puzzled that with 450 public and self-cleaning toilets all over the city, why on earth was it necessary to install these ugly and smelly objects which were also bright red and not exactly blending in with the surroundings?
Open-air urinals are now appearing in London as well!
The good news is that female urinals have been developed and there are quite a few on the market. They have names like
They are quite common at music festivals and that is perfectly normal and acceptable. The Roskilde Festival in 2011 in Denmark was notable for the first-ever open-air urinal for women. This one was called Pollee.
But why spoil a city like Utrecht or Paris with these awful smelly structures when they can easily housed elsewhere and not in front of men, women and children?