Sunday, January 3, 2010

I know what you're thinking.  Stupid Awesome product?  We've seen Stupid Products and Awesome Products.  What's a Stupid Awesome product?  That's a very good question

Folks, I'm stumped.  When I was first introduced to the product I'll review today, there was no doubt in my mind but that the P-Mate, a handheld, paper urinal for women, was a Stupid Product.  Then I hiked the Narrows in Zion National Park for four and half hours and wondered if I had it all wrong.  As of this writing, the jury's still out, so I'm forced to write the review both ways and let you decide which you think fits.

Before I ask you to click on the link, I should warn you there are illustrations and photographs on this page in which women (their heads mercifully left out of the pictures) "demonstrate" how to use the P-Mate.  There is no nudity to speak of, but there are visible underwear, awkward poses, and the idea that you're seeing someone else urinate.  If you're at all sensitive to any of that, don't look.  If you look anyway and get offended, don't complain to me.  You can see the P-Mate and the pics here.  Do note, though, that there is much more to the site than that, including testimonials, FAQ, and a history that includes a picture of the inventor demonstrating the use of this product on national TV.  I'm not kidding.

On to the review!

As a long distance hiker, I can definitely see where this product would come in handy.  It would have been wonderful during my Narrows hike to have the option of relieving myself without the inconvenience of squatting, or hanging my bare bottom over a log, so this product is Awesome.  However, despite the many photos on the site, using the P-Mate is still not something I would consider doing out in the open. Since many of the hikes I enjoy, especially in the Southern Utah area, consist of copious amounts of open space, and since this product requires me to stand to use it, this product is Stupid.

There's a picture of Ellen DeGeneres on the home page of the P-Mate site, suggesting to the mind that Ellen endorses this product.  Since I love Ellen, this product is Awesome by association.  Upon closer inspection, one realizes that all they can say about Ellen's connection to the P-Mate is that someone gave her a box of P-Mates as a gift at an award show, so this product is Stupid.  Come on, P-Mate.  I could accost Ellen backstage and give her a box of my used kleenex as a gift.  It wouldn't mean she was a fan of The Mother Load, you know?

The P-Mate adheres to the "pack it in/pack it out" philosophy of most conscientious hikers and backpackers.  It can be stored in a ziploc bag for later disposal or burned.  Awesome.  Of course, this would mean you're either stuck carrying a plastic bag that smells like urine or sitting next to a fire that smells like urine.  Stupid.

Men can stand and urinate.  The P-Mate puts women on equal footing (heh).  Awesome.  Using the P-Mate could cause someone to mistake me for a man...Stupid...or a man in drag...Scary Stupid.

The P-Mate is so discreet and easy to use that a woman could use it in front of a live TV audience without revealing anything.  Awesome.  A woman peed in front of a live TV audience.  Stupid.
I'll tell you now that I'm seriously considering buying a box of P-Mates for my hiking and camping needs.  I don't know if I'll ever have the guts to use one, but then again, I don't really think guts are what matter here.  When you have to go, you have to go, whether you're steps from your own bathroom or miles away from civilization.  P-Mate seems to give a woman the means to handle this situation discreetly without the worry of splashes or spills.

Knowing me, though, I'd do everything right and drop the sucker on my shoes the minute I was done.

(Thanks to Kadee for the Stupid Awesome Product idea.)


Plastuit said...

Hi Sarah,
We are the producers of the P-
Mate in the Netherlands. We have a ton of happy users of the P-Mate. It is a very simple device, but with great comfort, easy to use and most of all, hygienic!
With kind regards,

Jack Beerens
General Manager