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My Idea of Fun Outside

Photo by Paul Gilmore via Upsplash

Come with me on a little trip. We’re 100 miles south off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard – an idyllic little island located an approximate 45 minute ferry ride from Cape Cod – in a single engine center console fishing boat. The rollers are coming in at about 3-4 feet – not perfect but not bad either. We’ve been awake since 6 am, downing as much coffee and water as we could get into our system in preparation for a day out at sea. We’ve been on the water since 8 am and it’s now setting into early afternoon – maybe 11am or noon, without cell reception our best bet is to go off the position of the sun, and at this particular moment in time it is smack dab in the middle of the sky – not a cloud in sight.

Luckily, at this point, beers haven’t been cracked yet, as we’re still trying to get our sea legs under us and a fish has yet to be caught (rule number one of a day on the water: it’s bad luck to start drinking before the first fish has been successfully reeled in).

But then it hits you...

It must have been all the coffee. Or maybe it was that giant bottle of water I downed in the car, you think.

The first twinges that your bladder might be reaching maximum capacity are knocking at the door.

Shit, you think.

Inevitably, this was bound to happen. But what’s a girl oughta do? She’s stuck on a boat with her love interest of maybe a few months at this point, his dad, and his best friend. They’ve been sending streams of golden amber off the side of the boat for the past hour with as much ease as casting their lines. In fact, once or twice, I’m sure one of them has been doing both at the same time – appendage in one hand, rod in the other – you get the idea.

As a girl, the idea or rather the act, of relieving oneself outside is slightly more complicated and requires a little more finesse than that of our male counterparts. It requires perfect placement, perfect timing, and the perfect squat position so as not to dribble on our legs, or worse, our pants.

So, to be as discreet as possible I tap my man on the shoulder. His sights are set on the horizon scanning for birds and unusual water activity, so he can’t be bothered to look me in the eye – dare he miss even the slightest chance at a fish.

I tap again and now he’s generally a bit annoyed. He does a little knee bend to get his 6 foot 5 ear down to my five foot nothing level and I whisper, “I really gotta pee.”

At this point, it’s no longer a twinge, it’s a full on river dam about to explode and I’m running out of options, I catastrophize in my head.

Nonchalantly he points to the stern of the boat and says matter-of-fact, “No one will look.”

Alright, I think. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I maneuver between tall men, tall poles, and tall bait barrels and shimmy up onto the back edge of the boat and begin to lower my bum to the water’s edge. Carefully, holding on to the side railing with one hand and shimmying my pants down with the other I hang my bare moon over the side of the boat and relieve myself into Lady Ocean herself.

And he wasn’t lying, no one even looked in my general direction. I’m not sure if it’s an unspoken boat rule to not peep at someone while they’re taking a pee or if their sights truly were so engrossed in other more pressing details, like the location of fish. Whichever the case, I’m not sure if that experience cracked open some primal instinct in me or if I’ve always been privy (pun intended) to the simpler things in life, but now I’ll take an au naturel throne over a porcelain one any day.

In fact, that same man now probably has a half dozen pictures of me hanging my moon off the back of the boat or crouching in some corner of the woods somewhere with my pants at my ankles. As our relationship grew and my comfort level with relieving myself in public grew it sort of became something of a running joke – and a means for us to get rather annoyed with the other… ”Are you really peeing there? We’re doing a job right now,” I’ve heard countless times.

Sorry that for you, men, it’s much easier and more discreet to let your pee streams fly but a girl’s got just as much of a right to pee in the great outdoors as you do. I’d go so far as to say that it’s a right, some might even say a rite of passage, to pee (or sometimes even poo, if you have the decency to clean up your mess) in nature.

For those few seconds you’re crouched down next to the earth, or over the ocean, you have nowhere to go, nothing to think about, no next move to make because you quite literally can’t make that move – you’re busy doing/not doing something. And I think that’s the beauty in it. Now, during a long day on the ranch when I’m miles from any recognizable bathroom, heck sometimes I’m even a step away from the bathroom trailer, I still opt for pulling down my pants in broad daylight and taking a pee outside.

I notice the birds chirping. I notice the direction of the wind. I notice how the sun throws glitter on the snow it touches. And if I’m lucky, bison sometimes get close enough for me to feel their breath on my face, investigating what is going on between my legs. I like to think that they’re accepting me as one of the herd. There would truly be no greater honor than that – just don’t ask me to partake in any other primordial bison activity, like the sniffing or licking of said bodily fluids, because then we’re crossing a line. And that’s a line I refuse to cross.

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