I saw this sign on a toilet when I attended a book launch in Switzerland recently. I know the Swiss are quite strict on things like noise pollution and residential car parking spaces and, well, just about everything else, but surely a man is allowed to stand up to pee! Okay, I’m not a guy, and maybe it doesn’t bother guys. So I asked some male friends what they thought. Responses ranged from “It’s unmanly,” to “It’s a luxury after a big night out when you can’t be bothered to stand,” and everything imaginable in between. One friend suggested it was for noise-related reasons, which does make sense given the bookshop location.
So, what is the purpose of this sign? To emasculate men? To make them feel special? Or to shame them into not splashing the seat?
More questions. Do men actually abide by such signs, or do they ignore the sign until they’re finished, then wipe away any tell-tale signs so nobody knows? Or do they deliberately leave a mess to show the sign who really is the boss?
Given that this is Switzerland, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d seen a surveillance camera pointing at the toilet seat. However, this was at an English book shop, so they’re obviously far too polite to go to such measures.
In case you’re wondering what book was being launched, it was Mucho Caliente by Francesca Prescott. The book launch was great fun, with some really interesting questions asked of the author and some very amusing segments of the book recited. The story revolves around a woman who tries her hardest not to fall in love with a Latino superstar who happens to be on the same Spanish island as her and her friends. That’s about all I can tell you as I haven’t started reading my copy yet. I’ve been too busy thinking about toilet sign symbolism.