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Growing up Female

July 7, 2010

Growing up in a household that contained: 1 mom, 4 daughters, 1 female cat, various female hamsters at various times, 2 different female dogs annnnnd…my Dad, was pretty great most of the time. But there were definitely some drawbacks to the estrogen house.

Drawbacks included:

  • The kinds of fights that include hair pulling, bitch slapping, wedgie giving, name calling and emotional bullying. Oh, and rock-throwing-at-face (but that was one time and I was having a rage problem).
  • Clothing went missing on a regular basis due to “borrowing”. I am guilty of this too. We all were. Except maybe the cat. That would be weird. The dogs did go for the underwear though, so I can’t exclude them from the list of clothing thieves.
  • Hormones. Enough said.
  • Jealousy. Enough said.
  • And lastly: not knowing very much about boys/males/men.

Not having any brothers meant that my sources for general information about boys/males/men came from three places.

  1. My Dad
  2. The playground
  3. Eventually, the internet.

Unfortunately, none of these sources were very reliable. My Dad turned out to be not the best source as apparently he does almost everything differently from the typical male. The playground was full of rumours and speculations. And the internet (while shocking and undoubtedly fascinating) was full of exaggerations. Side note: I can remember being 10 or 11 years old, and seeing a penis for the first time with my sister, while we were surfing this new cool thing called the internet. Looking back on the experience, there was definitely some major photo-shopping involved in this picture. It prompted my sister and I to create a song called “does your penis hang low”… We were pretty proud of it.

Alas we come to my point, and the topic of this blog: due to being surrounded by females (and my Dad), for a long time I thought a lot of very unusual things about the elusive male gender. Here is a list of them.

  • Boys pee sitting down. I pee sitting down. My mom pees sitting down. My sisters pee sitting down. The cat pees in a litter box, but I had enough sense to assume that was because she was a cat, not because she was a girl. And lastly, my DAD pees sitting down. Apparently this is more of an old man thing than a boy thing. Actually I think my grandmother thought it was more gentleman-like to pee sitting down, so she trained her boys that way. Maybe it IS more gentleman-like. How would I know? In either case, the fact of the matter is that everyone I knew peed sitting down. The possibility that there were people out there who peed standing up didn’t even occur to me. Until I saw my first urinal. I’m pretty sure I tried to figure out how to pee in it. It didn’t go well. I think I asked somebody (possibly my teacher) about it and found out the truth about stand up pee-ers. I was shocked to my very core. And jealous. Yep, Freud was right. I had major penis envy. I spent the next couple of weeks trying to devise a way that I could pee standing up too. It wasn’t pretty.
  • Similar to the first bullet, I was also fully under the impression that boys used toilet paper (when they peed). Once again, it was my own father who led me astray here. So why wouldn’t I assume that everybody used toiled paper after a tinkle?? The worst part about this one was the age at which I discovered the truth. I was 17. I had my first boyfriend, and while he was at my house, he went to go use the bathroom. I realized we were out of toilet paper so I raced to catch him before he shut the door, and handed him a roll. He laughed and said “I’m not taking a dump!” I was majorly confused. “I know, but there’s no toilet paper in there, so you’ll need this”, I responded. When he eventually realized what was going on, he burst out laughing and said “guys don’t use toilet paper after the pee!” I was horrified. “What do you do then!?!?” He explained to me that guys just “shake it off”. If I’m being honest, this STILL baffles me. Shaking it in NO way gets all the pee off. Gross.
  • Circumcision means cutting off the whole penis. This notion was part of a larger confusion surrounding circumcision in general.  Circumcision was one of those things that was always talked about as if everybody knew what it was, and it was never actually explained to me by anybody, not even in health class. I can remember knowing that circumcision = cutting + penis. So my natural conclusion was that a circumcised boy had had his penis cut off.  I felt pretty bad about this, and tried to think of a reason why this would happen to so many people. The explanation I came up with was something akin to getting coal in your stocking at Christmas.
  • A wet dream is where a boy pees the bed. I wasn’t really too sure what it was called when a girl peed the bed, but I knew this term only applied to boys who peed the bed. What else wet could happen in a bed? And why didn’t they just wear pull-ups? I knew that there was some stigma about boys secretly changing their own sheets in the night because they were embarrassed. I could understand being embarrassed about peeing the bed but I really thought a lot of this secret night laundry could be solved by pull-ups.

This list could probably go on for a lot longer, but I figure I have subjected myself to enough embarrassment for one day.

Now it is time for an honourable mention from a (male) friend who only had brothers, and no sisters, growing up:

  • Since the blue liquid that they pour into diapers in diaper commercials appears the same as the blue liquid they pour into pads/tampons in tampon commercials, pads must be used for the same reasons as diapers. Therefore, when girls get to puberty, they start peeing themselves for no apparent reason, and need girly type diapers to protect them.
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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Catherine permalink
    July 7, 2010 7:25 pm

    Oh gosh!
    I used to date a boy who peed sitting down and I thought it was SO weird!! I had the opposite problem as you because I didn’t know boys did that. I just didn’t see that it was possible…
    Another related story is this: remember in grade 5 when you learned about human sexuality and they had the ‘Secret Question Box’? Well, my teacher used to go through the box and there was never any questions!! It was like people were scared to ask questions EVEN in the secret box, my teacher seemed frustrated. Finally, one day I wrote the question “what is a wet dream” down and put it in the box. I knew full well what a wet dream was but I wanted to break the ice. When she read the question the teacher was like “oh! that’s a good question” and AFTER that day there was questions in the box EVERY CLASS!!!! I feel like I broke the ice, made the teacher more comfortable and helped my classmates open up to ask questions about their sexuality.
    I have been an in class keener ever since.

    • July 11, 2010 9:01 pm

      Most kids in my class wrote things like “what size is your bra?” and “does poo come out a girl’s vagina?” and “do you have sex, teacher?” in the question box. So she thew a lot of the questions out. I put in a few actual questions just to make our teacher feel better. I didn’t even know to ask what a wet dream was. I thought I already knew…

  2. Midnight Coyote permalink
    July 8, 2010 12:46 am

    Guys pee standing up???

    Ahhh, that explains the akward vertical toilet thing in a guys bathroom

  3. Polly permalink
    July 8, 2010 4:33 pm

    Thank you, Hayleigh ! you made me laugh out loud and I needed it tonight.

  4. July 8, 2010 4:43 pm

    BAHAHAHAHA. I didn’t have ANY misconceptions about boys (since I live with 5 of them), but I now wish I did! What an awesomely awkward childhood I would have had!

  5. Dave permalink
    July 8, 2010 5:50 pm

    There seems to be a dichotomy of opinions that boys either pee sat down or stood up. As a boy that has been peeing for a good few years let me tell you about secret option three…we can do both! Imagine the variety!

    I’ve been told that I should give details on when each is applicable:
    Firstly, out and about? Peeing always occurs standing up, you never know WHO has been in before you! Its a risk that thanks to a glorious evolutionary turn I never have to run, phew! This rule is enforced more strictly at nightclubs, absolutely no excuse.
    Similarly to the nightclub situation, if i’m at home after going out then I’m not running the risk of needing to clean, or an awkward discussion with the flatmate about hygiene in the morning so thats a sitter…
    On the Other hand, if I’m peeing first thing in the morning then sitting down allows an extra few minutes of dozing before being cruelly awoken by the shower. Similarly, If I know I have a few minutes downtime then taking a magazine can make the whole situation a relaxed affair. Heck, the advent of the iPhone means I can pay rent whilst peeing, I can’t wait until I have to “do” my taxes so I can pee during them as well!
    Finally, there is also an element on confidence. Living with two brothers it was a constant question of my mom’s about the inherent difficulty of hitting the target, and sometimes (if my self-esteem’s a bit lower that day) then I don’t want that challenge! imagine having a low-confidence day and realizing that you can’t even pee properly? No thanks, that’s a sit down day for sure.

    I hope this helped. You should know that I agree with your analysis of the “shaking” to clean method, however I’m not popular enough to change such a tradition, sorry.

    • July 11, 2010 9:10 pm

      Thanks Dave! I’m glad you could clarify some things for me. It’s marvelous that you men have so many options! It seems there are people out there who feel bad for us girls, and want to give us options too (ever heard of the She Pee??) but frankly those weird me out. I’ve had 25 years to accept my fate as a sit down pee-er and I think I am pretty much there. I can even thank evolution for this blessing in disguise as my squat muscles are extra strong due to those sketchy toilets that nobody wants to sit on…

  6. Pataniyababu permalink
    July 15, 2010 3:08 am

    You know what – in India male as well as female pee squatting, actually even shit squatting. It is said to be a more natural position for peeing and squatting. Indian style toilets are somewhat like the Japanese style where the pot is set in the floor and is lower than the floor. It consumes less water too for flushing. Hence toilet pots are all omnisexual – no separate ones.

    Funnily, the most famous brand of pot makers in India are called Hindware – even their stand up pee pots have the brand Hindware emblazoned on it though Foreware would perhaps be more appropriate.

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