A shop in the French town of Annecy a few weeks ago had these mannequins displayed in their window. The one facing the front is alright, but the other one looks like he’s having a wee. At first, I was surprised and amused in equal parts, and then I realised it was totally normal. French men regularly wee on the side of the road. I have lost count of the private parts I’ve unwillingly glimpsed at whilst innocently driving past, and part of me wonders whether the person who placed the mannequin in this position was just mimicking a typical situation on roads in France.
I asked a French friend about it here in the Alps. “It’s nature so it’s nicer than using a public toilet, and it doesn’t hurt the environment,” he said. He told me of the time he reached the top of a drag lift when skiing with his girlfriend and two other couples. The warm sun at the end of the season had prompted the other two couples to have a little kiss while they waited for him and his girlfriend to get off the drag lift. His girlfriend needed to wee and so did he, so he walked five metres in the snow and let rip. His girlfriend, unhappy, asked why he made her wait when they could have skied down so she too could go to the toilet, noting also that the other couples were loved up while he relieved himself, annoying her further. He shrugged and said if he had the choice of looking at mountains and scenery or being in a smelly environment covered in wee, he’d take the mountains any day. Can’t argue with that. I’m not sure if the mannequin needs to enforce it though.