Q: There seems to be some serious confusion around this whole "wee-wee" thing. Is it a penis, a vagina, the act of urinating, or urine itself?
-ZM, San Francisco
A: Good question ZM. Webster's Unabridged Dictionary defines wee-wee as:
1. The liquid that comes out one's pee-hole.
2. To expel liquid from one's pee-hole.
3. Slang term for a penis. And to weirdoes, a vagina.
The simple answer would be "all of the aforementioned interpretations". But you deserve more, dear reader. We must ask, where does "wee-wee" come from? We must know its origins in order to use "wee-wee" comfortably and confidently. Unfortunately, historians cannot agree on how "wee-wee" came about. The most widely-recognized story comes from 16th-century England.
There was a farmer in what is modern day Lancashire who tended to pigs in the hot summer months. As you are aware, pigs are filthy, disgusting creatures. They are, however, tasty as all get-out. So in order to keep them edible, the farmer cleaned up after dozens of these dirty animals every day. He scrubbed the slop off their skin, shoveled the endless piles of pig-plop, and washed away the expansive pools of urine inside the sty. There was so much urine in fact, the farmer couldn't walk without stepping in smelly yellow liquid. His frustration built to the point where he bordered on dementia. To mock the animals he both loathed and depended on, the farmer began squealing just like them in hopes they would feel ashamed of what they did. He made "weee" noises every time a pig made a mess, even when it wasn't urine. But because urine was the most common filth, his family, and eventually other hog farmers, started referring to the urine as "wee-wee". Over centuries, the squealing was slowly dropped and the word was softened to the form we know and love today. It is now adored by two-thirds of the world's population and shows up in 83 different languages.
I hope that answers your question ZM. If you want more information on the origins of "wee-wee", check out Francois LeBeaux's urination celebration Wee-wee? Oui, oui! The book doesn't get everything right, but does give an interesting French perspective.
Keep writing in, readers. Your Q's demand my A's.