Monday, October 27, 2014

A Taxonomy of Urination

Today I said widdle.  I have never said widdle in my life.  I was surprised to hear myself say it.

I said widdle to defend my new puppy when he dribbled a little urine on my Belgian rug.  I glared at Husband Don and snarled, “It’s okay.  He didn’t tinkle.  He just widdled.” Don backed away from me.

Because I wondered why I had said widdled, I constructed a taxonomy of urinary elimination.  Perhaps some scholar will find it useful.

When I was a little girl, I tee-teed.   But I knew that boys peed.  I preferred the word pee.  Pee.  Good, strong word.  Powerful word.  I wanted to pee.  But according to my mother, I could only tee-tee because that’s what girls did.

However, my fearsome grandmother was an RN, and she required that I say micturate.  I do not know another living soul who has ever said micturate besides Grandmother Martin and me.  But because she was a nurse, I assumed that this was the appropriate term to use with a physician. Therefore, when I was seven and my mother took me to the doctor for a UTI, I told him that it hurt to micturate.  He laughed at me.

As a teenager, I stopped tee-teeing and simply used the restroom. 

As a twenty-something until I was forty, I worked as a wilderness guide and horse wrangler in the summers. Horse wrangling is an intensely masculine culture, so in order to seem as tough as the men, I adopted their lexicon and began taking a leak.  (Now in my sixties, I leak when I sneeze, but I don’t intend to.)

When I started dating Husband Don, I peed and he tinkled.  This struck me as funny.  For 20 years, I have peed, and he has tinkled.  He has never succeeded in getting me to tinkle instead of pee, but he has succeeded in teaching me that dogs tinkle. 

Therefore, when we brought new puppy Woodrow home two days ago, I found myself cooing with exaggerated enthusiasm, “Let’s go tinkle!”  When he urinated outdoors, I jumped up and down, waved my arms, and hollered, “Woohoo!  Woohoo!  Good Woodrow!  Good tinkle!  Good tinkle, Woodrow!   I pictured myself as Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) from Golden Girls engaging in this absurd routine, and I felt ridiculous.  But I still kept doing it.

So that is my taxonomy.  Little girls tee-tee.  Little girls with fierce RN grandmothers micturate; or at least I and mine did.  Boys pee.  Teenage girls use the restroom.  Horse wranglers take a leak.  I pee if I am intentionally urinating, leak if unintentionally.  Husband Don and puppy Woodrow tinkle if intentionally urinating, and Woodrow widdles if unintentionally dribbling.  

Although I will feel ridiculous, I will keep woohooing whenever Woodrow tinkles outdoors, onlookers be damned.  Likewise, I will keep defending him when he widdles on the Belgian rug.  Because baby Woodrow is my dog, and a dog is a human’s best friend.  And after all, what’s a little micturition between friends?


  1. This is outstanding! A taxonomy of gender-specific and species-specific urination has long been needed. With this post, you have eliminated a void desperately in need of filling. And, you succeeded in introducing me to a new word, micturate. This is the stuff of legends!

  2. I nearly micturated in my unmentionables while reading this....