Now Playing

All the Tinkle Ladies: Let's Stop Fighting Over the Dolores Park Pissoir and Demand Pee Parity Now

Grab your Shenis, it's protest time!

Photo via Mission Local


While the Bible Belt is grabbing headlines over its decrees over who can use which public restrooms, San Francisco is in thrall to the legal circus unfolding around the lone, vaguely exhibitionist pissoir in Dolores Park. On Thursday the San Francisco Chinese Christian Union filed a lawsuit arguing that the pissoir is not only an “illegal and wasteful expenditure of public funds” but—somewhat laughably in this liberated city—a moral affront. Sure, we get it: The litany of possible complaints against a smelly, indiscreet urinal is as long as the lines snaking outside the park's actual bathrooms. But “an offense to manners and morals”? Have they even been to Dolores Park? 

What do we have to do to get some pee parity around here—start whizzing all over the place? Maybe instead of Pride Week, all of us females should summon a “Pee Week.” Picture it: legions of ladies dropping trou! Breaking out the Shenis! With the aid of some of those paper-cone Urinelles, we could manage a full-on pissoir protest. Call it a pee-in. A whiz-by! Maybe then Rec and Park will cop to the reality that we need a place to go, too.

To be clear: This is not another anti-pissoir screed. Dolores Park’s $15,000 pit in the ground leaves much to be desired, but that doesn’t mean we should be so quick to dis the piss(oir). The current pissoir is a bad prototype of a good idea. Take the European models, for instance: Though they too skew to the penis-possessing crowd, they also have more than one stall, roofs, sometimes even a sink, and—are you paying attention, Rec and Park?—they are practically ubiquitous. Or, take the Pollee, a female-friendly portable urinal designed by—who else—the Danish to be used at concerts, rallies, urinalysis conventions, and whatnot. These are things we need!

The answer to whether or not the Dolores Park pissoir should stay or go is, well, neither. What we need is for Rec and Park, and the city, to seriously up its waste-management game. We need more places to pee, not fewer. We need male, female, and gender-neutral pissoirs! How would we design these things? This is a geeky, obsessive, opinionated city: Why not put out an RFP and run a design competition? May the best Porta-pissoir win!

Picture just how great this could be, ladies: an afternoon in S.F.’s precious, fleeting sun, without a 20-to-30-minute detour spent waiting in a line, checking your phone for the zillionth time. Could Dolores—or, for that matter, Marina Green, Golden Gate Park, and any other place one might be stranded without a bathroom—at least rise to the low but wholly sanitary bar that Outside Lands meets every year? Could we devise something with the lady-friendly privacy of a Porta-Potty but the permanence of a Euro-pissoir, a cut above Dolores's open cage that a tarp tacked up? Yes we can! Pee se puede!!!


Have feedback? Email us at
Email Meira Gebel at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Meira Gebel on Twitter @MeiraInSF