Monday, March 07, 2005


I was out with some friends at a restaurant the other night, and after my third or fourth water, I needed to use the bathroom pretty badly. So I got up and found the restrooms at the back of the place easily enough, but instead of the traditional "damas" and "caballeros" labels on the two doors (ladies and gentlemen, respectively), or even the very helpful man and woman silhouettes, they were labelled simply with the letters 'M' and 'H.'

Seemed easy enough at first: 'M' for "mujeres" (women) and 'H' for "hombres" (men), right? But then, just as I was about to turn the knob and enter the 'H' room, it suddenly occurred to me: In Spanish, 'hembra' means female and 'macho' means male.

That was enough to give me pause, though I was fairly ceratin that hembra and macho are really only used for plants and slugs and the like. Still, I didn't want to take any chances, so I decided I'd just wait for someone to come out of one of the doors and that would give me a clue as to their designations.

But nobody came out.

Then finally, a waiter rushed by and sensing my distress, said "Use either one, it doesn't matter." So I did, and while my immediate physical needs were certainly satisfied, my intellectual curiosity wasn't, for it was a single-person facility with no real distinguishing features to let me know whether or not I was in the right place.

Either way, I left the seat down.

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