When he was 12 years old, James had an epiphany. He was sitting in the back seat of his parents’ car on a long road trip. He had to pee, bad, but his parents made it clear they weren’t stopping anytime soon. That’s when his gaze fell upon an empty plastic bottle on the car’s floor.
He uncapped the bottle, bent forward a bit… and let loose.
“It was so relaxing, to be honest,” says the 26-year-old, now living in Massachusetts. He’d been waiting for “such a long time” before finding the bottle that gave him that glorious release, and the idea stuck. Now, during particularly long movies or conversations on Discord he can’t walk away from, James keeps a sturdy, wide-mouthed bottle in which to empty his bladder. That way, he can keep going.
“If you think about it,” he says, peeing in bottles “is simply a good way to give plastic water bottles … a simple and somewhat clean reuse.” Otherwise, he argues, they’d just go in the trash.
Across varying depths of the internet (and Tina Fey’s account of working at SNL), you’ll find confused roommates, friends, coworkers, significant others and parents in confused shambles over a man in their life who’s peeing into bottles. Whether it’s a “Neckbeard Nest” beneath the desk of a gamer or musician (cough, Beethoven), or just a seemingly normal dude’s dorm, images of accumulated “piss bottles” appear online for commenters to utter shock and awe at anything from the number of bottles accumulated to their apparently dangerous levels of hydration.
Besides working jobs so demanding and demeaning they’re discouraged from taking bathroom breaks, what makes a guy pee in a bottle? Many point to anxiety or depression, which is understandable. Depression sends people deep into ambivalence about their self and surroundings.
Similarly, living in a dorm or house with multiple roommates can exacerbate some folks’ social anxiety, they say. Fearing they’ll run into someone in the hallway or wake up their roommates, they’ll opt to pee in a bottle and throw it away later rather than risk an awkward interaction.
I talked to actual pee-bottlers to find out more.
Saving the Planet When You Can’t Step Away
James, 26, Massachusetts:
I’m not a neckbeard or anything. I’m in pretty good physical condition.
I rarely use the bottles, pretty much only for long movies at home or if I’m in a conversation over Discord or Skype that would be very inappropriate for me to get up and walk away from for a bathroom break. Also, car rides, but most people ignore that because it’s so much more common.
I find that the more sturdy the bottle, the better. It’s much easier to clean out and use. And it’s not a bad way to track hydration. You get a better picture of [the urine’s] color and amount without it being diluted in the toilet.
When I’m done, I dump them and wash them out. If they have been sitting there for a while, I imagine soap would be useful, but I’ve never left mine for more than a few hours before they go into the trash.
It’s also quite helpful for those moments where getting up and either walking down a hall or possibly disturbing someone who is sleeping is a bad thing.
I’ve only let two bottles max sit around because I’d filled one and needed to start on another. But I didn’t let them sit: I got rid of them after like two or three hours when I got up to go eat dinner.
Basically it’s a quick, not-as-silent-as-you-would-think way not to disturb either yourself or someone else.
That said, if you’re ever really tired from watching a movie late at night, avoid doing this. I once fell asleep mid-pee and the bottle fell to the ground. It proceeded to spill pee on my extension cord thingy that most of my electronics were plugged into, and blew the fuse. So that was a mess, but I learned my lesson.
Oh, and make sure to not accidentally get a boner. Amazing way to end a day, with a bottle stuck on your penis that causes a lot of pain.
Too Many Roommates, Not Enough Bathrooms
Nick, 29, Seattle:
My first time peeing in a bottle wasn’t really a moment of clarity so much as it was a moment of necessity. I lived in a house with five guys in college and we had only one bathroom. We had people over and parties a lot, so it just happened out of necessity.
If someone was in the bathroom taking a shower, or if there was a line of girls for the bathroom during a party, I would just go in a Gatorade bottle in my room if I couldn’t wait. The 32-ounce wide-mouth Gatorade bottle is the best. It’s got a wide mouth for “ease of access,” and 32 ounces because I only ever did it out of desperation, and by that point I had a lot more than a small 12-ounce bottle’s worth of pee stored up.
During my time in that college house, I did it pretty frequently, but have pissed in only one or two bottles since. I was in outside sales for a few years in my early 20s and frequently was driving an hour or more at a time. Once or twice on a long highway stretch with no exits for miles, I went in a bottle while driving.
I don’t play video games or do anything “neckbeardy” — my hobby is golf, and when golfing, I just pee in the nearest tree.
Honestly, I felt gross doing it, but it was the least-bad option. But if you do it, get rid of the bottle ASAP! My college girlfriend almost drank it once when I forgot to throw out the bottle. That was a tough conversation.
Can’t Hold the Morning Piss
Andy, 33, Ohio:
The first time I peed in a bottle was probably on a road trip vacation with the family as a child. There wasn’t a place to stop. I guess I just learned how efficient it could be.
Otherwise, I don’t see the benefit in peeing in bottles unless there are circumstances that call for it … like, I have a roommate and a one-bathroom house surrounded by nosy neighbors. I’ll wake up and have to unleash the usual morning piss. There’s no waiting for the roommate to be done showering, and I can’t very well expose myself outside in a residential neighborhood.
So I’ll grab a water bottle and proceed to do my business without overflowing the damn thing, cap it and toss it in the garbage outside.
Of the handful of times I’ve done it, I usually just cap it and throw it in the trash. Since it’s not diluted, sometimes I’ll give it an inspection, as it could be an indicator of hydration or kidney function.
Nothing Compares to the Convenience and Ease
Reddit user u/Fuqstix:
I can tell you that it’s certainly a slippery slope. People talk about sink pissing and the like, but nothing compares to the convenience and ease that comes from having a decent bottle setup. And once you figure that out, it’s incredibly hard to go back.
The first time I remember actually pissing in a bottle, I was maybe about 12 or 13. I was playing Call of Duty and decided to just go for it. I was absolutely taken aback at the fact that bathroom trips were now essentially irrelevant to me. I’d stumbled upon some secret forbidden knowledge. [It was] so plainly obvious.
That was 10 years ago, and I haven’t missed a day since. I can’t even remember the last time I pissed in anything besides a bottle, and I don’t see why anyone would want to. I keep one on me pretty much at all times: I have four in my car and a few dozen at home for easy access.
It’s incredibly easy to hide if you know what you’re doing. Just don’t keep a strange amount of empty bottles out in the open and always make sure to be discreet when using them.
I was in a pretty deep depression a while back, and I barely left my house for a period of about three or four months. The piss bottles never got emptied that entire time. Toward the end you literally had to wade through them to get from room to room. I just used them and dropped them where I stood. I’m kinda back on my feet now and I would never let bottles build up like that again.
For someone looking to get into it, you’re gonna want to use larger-sized, tinted bottles like Gatorade, Mountain Dew, etc., and darkened sports bottles if you want to avoid suspicion. The amount of dirty looks I’ve gotten in the past because I’ve been carrying full, clear bottles is staggering. A strong cap is paramount, obviously, assuming you can’t dump the contents straight away.
I get that pissing in bottles is a very strange thing in most places and is largely frowned upon, but once you break the social convention and become comfortable with it, the perks outweigh the negatives. Until very recently, I genuinely thought that more men did this, but it’s something that really doesn’t get enough attention.
A lot of people would probably bring up the hygiene aspects of it and say that the whole thing is just gross and that it’s something that shouldn’t even be considered. I assure those people that it is completely sanitary if you know what you’re doing.