A confession: I’ve never been to Paris. I’m sure it’s pretty great overall, of course, but it is a bit concerning that there was apparently such a problem with public urination that the city decided to try out on-street urinals.
Imagine the romantic ambiance of Paris, except on the corner there’s a guy pissing into a trash can, which he’s essentially now fully-licensed to do. That’s essentially the scene with the new urinals, which are apparently considered a possible improvement on the previous situation.
The city is experimenting with completely exposed, eco-friendly urinals.
The devices are called “Uritrottoir,” which combines the words for urinal and pavement. They’re not at all subtle. They’re bright red and in heavily trafficked areas — for example, directly next to the Seine near the Notre Dame Cathedral.
And if there’s any confusion, a large white and red sign with a red arrow and a cartoon of a man peeing probably clears it up.
According to city officials, they’re apparently attempting to, uh, relieve the population this way instead of the apparently very commonplace practice of just peeing wherever.
French authorities say they are using this “surprising solution” to try to supplement existing toilets in heavily congested areas where there are urine issues. “The interest of this new urban fixture lies in its mobility, ease of installation and use, as well as its ecological dimension,” city authorities said in a statement.
They introduced three of these toilets in March and added a fourth in July. They’re planning to install a fifth urinal soon.
“Urine issues” is a funny thing (in every sense) for a city planner to have to deal with in 2018, isn’t it? Of course, encouraging more French men/drunken foreign tourists to take it out in public is understandably not the most popular solution out there:
“They have been installed on a sexist proposition: men cannot control themselves (from the bladder point of view) and so all of society has to adapt,” Gwendoline Coipeault of the feminist group Femmes Solidaires tells the news service. “The public space must be transformed to cause them minimum discomfort.”
Yeah, that seems pretty reasonable, when you consider the ergonomics of the new device, whose designers market it as a way to encourage “wild peeing”. It’s telling the city is apparently just resigned to men peeing all over the place, which is now all I’ll ever be able to think about when I think about Paris. Maybe time to scratch that one off the bucket list of vacation spots.
On the other hand, there’s about to be a major influx of American golf fans in Paris for the Ryder Cup, and men who golf are perhaps more weirdly comfortable peeing outdoors than any other demographic, so this might just be very good timing for Paris.