It was shortly after Charles Bradley’s stellar Friday-afternoon set. Four coffees sat heavy in my bladder and I had already spent our meager per diem on 2.5 beers.
It was time to break the seal.
When used for their intended purpose, Porta-Potties are hardly a pleasant experience for either sex. But they can be especially tricky for women. Men only have to squat half the time — women have to for both excretory functions, and it can get a little messy. With no seat-covers, it can be a pain to hover over that giant, cavernous hole of used Heineken and digested Spicy Pie pizza.
You hold on to the door handle for dear life and pray you don’t accidentally touch the seat or spray on your sandals. The struggle is real, so this Coachella, I decided to give standing up a try. Enter the aptly named Stand-Up.
It’s a hot-pink paper penis, in so many words. The portable, disposable paper cone unfolds to a cardboard funnel. You stick the mouth of the funnel up to your lady parts and let it flow. The stream comes out an opening at the narrow end and away it goes.
So I headed over to a Porta-Potti to relieve myself. As soon as I entered my first transient toilet of festival season, that familiar stink, here exacerbated by high-80-degree heat, greeted me. I closed the door and did my best to mouth-breathe. As I pulled out the clear package that held my little paper penises, I started to get oddly nervous. I had never peed standing up before. What would it be like?
What was it like? In a word, messy. The back end of the funnel — the part that folds out — ripped off from the moisture, so pee started spraying out the back end by my taint and fell into my hands holding the thing. In the front, it sprayed everywhere, all over the seat (don’t worry, I wiped it up). I had to wash my hands at length to get it all clean.But there was no time to be nervous — I had to go. So I put it on up there, made sure there was a firm seal, and let ‘er rip.
To make matters worse, someone began to forcefully try to open the door as I stood, mid-stream, even though the “Vacant” light was off. They stopped for a second and rattled the door again. I was mortified they would get in. I’d rather have someone walk in on me sniffing cocaine or makin’ bacon than see me standing up and peeing.
The first attempt left me feeling like the tried and true method of hovering and holding on was far more quick and clean than this brave new world.
Just after Alabama Shakes and before Steely Dan took over the Outdoor Stage, it was time for round two. This time was a vast improvement — I got more on the seat and none on my hands. The piece stayed intact, too.
By round three I was paper-penis-pissing like a pro. None on the hands, none on the seat — I was in, out, and on with the concert.
While standing up was a fun, almost novel way to take care of business this Coachella, I think I’ll go back to sitting down once the weekend’s over. But one thing’s for sure — I’ll never yell at a man for spraying on the seat again.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 13, 2015