Stand and deliver

Going to the bathroom needn’t be something women take sitting down

I’d been in that predicament more times than I care to remember: back against the wall, heels clicking rhythmically together, anxiously eyeing the half-dozen equally annoyed girls waiting ahead of me in the line to the restroom, wondering if my bladder would burst before I got a chance to relieve it. Another perfectly good bar night brought to a screeching halt by nature’s call. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. Almost always, the line to the ladies lavatory faces the relatively empty men’s room. The guys enter, do their business and leave quickly, while I have to wait at least 10 more minutes before it’s my turn. It’s not fair, and I’m not the only female who’s frustrated with the situation. Eventually, some girl always moans, “I wish I could pee like a guy.”

Well, guess what, girls.

You can.

I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t happened across, a Web site dedicated to teaching girls how to go like guys. For more than a decade, Rich, the site’s San Francisco-based founder, has been teaching women around the world how to pee standing up. Depending on how far he has to travel, Rich, who asked that his last name not be used, charges $300 to $3,500 for the class. For the purposes of this story, he waived the $300 fee he normally charges for Northern California classes.

Rich fell into what’s become a uniquely rewarding side occupation by accident. One day, he and a female acquaintance were drinking beer at the beach. She had to go, so she stood up and went, explaining her unique talent as Rich observed.

He never thought he’d put this information to use, until he found himself in a similar situation several years later.

“I was hanging out around the hills by Dillon Beach, up in Marin County, with this girl I was seeing,” he said. “We were drinking all day, and this poor girl had a bladder the size of a walnut.”

Unfortunately for his 5-foot-tall companion, the only place she could squat was in the middle of very tall grass.

“I knew the mechanics already, so I told her, ‘I want to show you something,’” he continued. “After she did it, she came over, gave me a hug, then kneed me in the crotch for not showing her earlier.”

Eventually, his friend returned home to Hong Kong. Several months later, she called, asking if he’d be interested in getting flown over to teach her friends how to stand up and pee.

Since then Rich has taught more than 5,500 women from around the world how not to squat. He’s taught a Grammy nominee, actresses, Broadway singers and a few other well-known celebrities, who for obvious reasons must remain unnamed.

“Just like I won’t talk about you, I won’t talk about them,” he said.

Anonymity is key, even for Rich.

“I have a day job,” he said. “I tell my friends and a few people here and there, but there are people from work who I don’t want to find out.”

He travels almost every other weekend to different locales where he spends hours teaching women the basic technique. At the end, if they desire, he shows them how to use a urinal. He admits that on occasion he has enjoyed fringe benefits with some of his students, but he never initiates or asks for sex. Mainly, he just enjoys lending the girls a hand.

“I know it sounds a little hokey, but I just like the feeling I get when a girl genuinely thanks me for helping her,” he said.

There’s certainly no shortage of clientele, because squatting and hovering over a toilet can be a pain in the ass. The women’s room isn’t the potpourri-filled lounge area some prime-time sitcoms show it off to be. It’s never out of the ordinary to find clogged toilets, wet floors and used feminine products in the stalls.

“I’ve heard about a 100 different reasons,” Rich said. “But the most common reason comes from women who tend to be outdoorsy. They’re away from home fairly regularly, and they tell me they hate to drop and squat.”

Several female entrepreneurs have attempted to tap into the market with products such as the P-Mate, the TravelMate and the Urinelle, plastic or cardboard funnel-like devices that allow women to stand and pee when camping or stuck in traffic, or when a clean bathroom is unavailable. Some products—like the Shenis, a foot-long brown plastic funnel shaped like a phallus—take the notion of penis envy to the extreme.

“Doing it naturally is the best option,” advised Rich, who also noted that for some women, standing up to pee is more empowering than any faux phallus could ever hope to be. He said a student in the Philippines once told him, “You’re giving us pussy power.”

So what’s a guy doing teaching women about their own bodies? Isn’t this a little anatomically incorrect?

“I think I have an advantage as a guy,” Rich said. “I can see from the outside something that maybe a girl can’t see.”

The class itself is not for the shy. It runs from six to eight hours in length, in order to provide time for plenty of practice attempts. Within that timeframe, Rich demonstrates the basic techniques of how to urinate standing up: Standing straight with knees slightly bent, opening and pulling up the labial folds and using muscle control to prevent dripping. It’s more complicated than it seems, so throughout the class Rich gives pointers and offers insight on “how guys do it.”

The average student can pee about 3 feet away from herself after a few hours, but some can project a stream as far as six feet. Women who are fit, under 35 and have never had children have the best chance for success. I’m not what you’d call a “small girl,” but without getting into too much personal detail, let’s just say I had a few obstacles to overcome.

My first attempts were poor, and I pretty much ruined my favorite pair of sneakers. I had several “accidents” throughout the day, where most of the pee ran down the front of my legs or splattered in front of me. After each accident, Rich gave me feedback on how to improve next time. Finally, after I got the hang of it, it was time to test my new skills in public.

It was approaching midnight as Rich and I wandered around downtown Davis, searching in vain for an open men’s room. I’d been drinking water and beer for hours, and despite the fact that I’d urinated a half-dozen times, I had to go really bad. Finally, we arrived at a UC Davis men’s room that I was certain would be open. I jiggled the handle.


“Why the hell won’t it open?” I hissed between clenched teeth. “I need to use the bathroom!”

“There’s got to be another bathroom someplace we could use,” Rich said.

My body tensed up from the pain in my bladder. Obscenities poured out of my mouth as I kept jiggling the cold metal door handle. It didn’t really matter that the door was locked. There could be hundreds of bathrooms nearby, but I could barely walk.

“Screw this, I’m going now,” I said. I hobbled over to the side of the wall, only slightly hidden from view. I hiked up my skirt, lowered my panties, leaned back and let loose.


I couldn’t really believe I was peeing like a man, and doing it pretty well. I shot a steady, arching stream about 3 feet away from me, one of my best attempts of the day.

“Good job,” Rich said, walking over to my side. “This is what the class is all about.”

Then, after a moment, he asked, “So, are you going to show all your friends what you can do now?”

Probably not.