Sunday, September 20, 2015

Adventures in Flight: Skip to the Loo, My Darling

Penguin and plane will travel

You'd think, with all the countries to which I've visited, I'd be more than capable in choosing the correct rest room when the need arises. Well, I do a very good job at it. In fact, I seem to have a more difficult time deciphering the crazy gender codes used in the States. We can be pretty crafty when coming up with rest room door signs. We've all seen the stick figures, or “Dames and Gents. Recently, I saw doors in Seattle- one said “Sitting” while the other said “Standing”. Could be confusing for a guy needing to do number two. Whether it's Caballeros, Men, Hombres, or just an M on the door, I very rarely have an issue.

I once had to make an emergency stop while driving through a city on the interstate. Upon seeing a Target store, I thought, 'that should be a clean facility in which to sit.' It was early in the day and the parking lot was near empty. I walked rather quickly into the main entrance, happy to see the restrooms immediately to my left. I looked up quickly and saw “Men” and went right in. It was very clean and I had the whole room to myself. I did my business and as I was washing my hands, was shocked to see a woman enter, followed by a second. Looking at the ground to avoid eye-contact as I made a hasty departure...without drying my hands...I discovered that the “Men” sign was actually a “Women” sign, but the “Wo” part was hidden behind part of a wall. Had I kept looking as I rounded the corner, I might have noticed my folly.
Lady and Gentle restroom sign in Beijing

A few months ago, I was on holiday in Chile and was at a fine dining establishment in Valparaiso. When we arrived, the first thing I wanted to do was wash my hands and make room for the copious amounts of wine I was about to consume. The rest room was just outside in a central atrium. It was very deluxe. I looked at one sign, and then the other. I was not familiar with either. Realizing I was in a country where Spanish was the official language, I entered the door that had the more masculine sounding name. It was a very nice facility, floral aroma, nice art. This was, indeed, a nice restaurant. This was also, indeed, the women's rest room!
Ladies sign in Chile

So I marveled on a recent Buenos Aires layover with fellow flight crew in yet another very nice restaurant. After a few glasses of wine and some loosening chatter, I was the first in need of finding the facilities. Door one had a boot. Door two had a ballet slipper. Cute, and obvious. I would make no mistake this time. I commented on the clever use of foot wear signage when I returned to the table.

Signage in Peru
Our first officer was the next to use the facilities, and a few minutes later was followed by the bunkie pilot, who, on this trip, was a female. As she got up, the first officer said, “It's the first door on the right.” He was joking, as that was the door with the boot, so of course she returned with a humorous comment and evil glare at the first officer, and soon the whole table was laughing about restroom humor. You can dress us up...but wit plus wine often ends up going down the drain.

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