Boss Blog: She-wee, He-wee, We all wee for She-weeDate: 4 August 2011
An office conversation about camping and toilet facilities in the wake of last month’s Latitude festival has come back to haunt me. When our office manager Laura ripped open an intriguingly bulky package that arrived in this morning’s post, she gleefully announced, “I think it’s for Terri.”
I had previously asked the team if any of them – well, any of the females – had ever been so desperate at outdoor events as to use a Shewee. I’d heard of these pink plastic gadgets but never actually seen one. How did they work?
And here was the answer in the post, a box of Shewee. For the benefit of the uninitiated, a Shewee is a “portable urinating device” which enables women to pee anytime anywhere, standing or sitting. The product’s strapline is “for when you just have to go”. Well, we all know what that’s like. I couldn’t persuade anyone in the office to model the Shewee for you, but here’s a picture sans body parts to give you an idea.
And lest you be in any doubt about how it’s employed, here are the instructions on how to Shewee (don’t you just love words that can be used as both nouns and verbs?):
And here’s an additional handy “Tip!”: “Practice in the shower”, to which I’d add that you probably shouldn’t mention said practice to whoever’s jumping in the shower after you.
In addition to the Shewee case (available in Bright Pink and Nato Green), ancillary products sold by Shewee Ltd include absorbent pouches, easy access X front knickers and extension pipes (for when you’re wearing particularly bulky clothes). Amongst their non-urinary offerings are a QeeZee (a sick bag with “revolutionary absorbent anti-odour gel” that locks away fluid and comes with a “lemon wipe for freshness”) and Festival Survival Box (complete with QeeZee, pocket knife, torch, earplugs and emergency poncho). These people clearly know their audience.
As it happens, much to Laura’s dismay, I did not order the Shewee. It came in a press pack for an Edinburgh Fringe show at the Underbelly, a new play written by Rachel Hirons for a company called dirty stop-out, called When Women Wee.
My first thought was that this was a very clever show teaser, but I underestimated the dirty stop-outs, who have actually signed Shewee up as “proud sponsors” of their production. This is sheer marketing genius. Well done, ladies!
And, I must tell you, the ploy totally worked on me. I decided I personally had to review When Women Wee. It’s billed as a “voyeuristic” comedy set in a public toilet and based on interviews with more than 25 women about their loo break chatter on a night out. Burning questions to be answered: “Is fanny spray taking femininity too far?” and “How quietly should you poo in public?” I’ve never dared vocalise such questions, but I’m now fascinated to know the answers.
Unfortunately, when I raced to our Whatsonstage.com reviews diary, I discovered that When Women Wee had already been nabbed – by none other than our esteemed chief critic Michael Coveney. On reflection, I can see how such a show would appeal just as much, and maybe even more so, to men than women. They must be desperate to know why we so often head to the toilets in packs.
I’m still dying to go, though… Now, I wonder if Shewee may be interested in sponsoring the Whatsonstage.com Awards next? According to the company’s marketing material, the product is ideal for walking, camping, festivals, travelling abroad, long car journeys and any kind of outdoor pursuit where “toilet facilities are absent or less than desirable”.
It may not be on their target list yet, but I reckon the West End presents a major business opportunity for Shewee – as any female theatregoer who’s endured interval queues at any number of listed West End venues could tell them. I can see it now: Best Actress in a Play, sponsored by Shewee. Or maybe they should go for Best Supporting Actress? And, no, I’m not taking the piss.