Friday, November 24, 2006
Believe it or not, I'm old enough to remember the first time male and female stick figures were used to designate restrooms. Previous to that the restrooms were labeled with words like "Ladies" and "Gentlemen" or "Seniors" and Senioritas."
I remember the very night I first saw the new symbols. They were on the lavatory doors of a Marie Calander's-type family restaurant that my friend's dad took us to. A bunch of frustrated patrons were gathered outside the restroom doors trying to puzzle out what the signs meant. The consensus was that the bell-shaped, flared stick figure might be a be a girl with a dress but what was the other figure? One lady thought it was a woman wearing a pant suit. Maybe both the bathrooms were for women, one for traditional dress wearers and one for pants-wearing new-agers. Somebody guessed that the the mens' rooms were somewhere on the other side of the building.
Every once in a while a frustrated citizen would knock on the door and if there was no answer he'd cautiously open the door and let himself inside. Everybody waited with baited breath to hear what he was seeing. When he came back with the answer the relieved crowd streamed into the appropriate rooms then ten minutes later a new crowd would form and the whole cycle would start up again.
What everyone in the crowd would have agreed on was that the new symbols were bold and futuristic. We all felt like we were entering restrooms on the starship "Enterprise." I wondered if it meant we'd all be wearing capes and gauntlet gloves and be carrying ray guns soon. It was heady stuff. A real glimpse into the future.
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 12:14 AM