Cidu Bill on Jul 25th 2012


Is the joke here that the restrooms have cute names, or that he’s too stupid to figure it out? As bathroom signs go, I’m certainly not impressed: I’ve seen at least a dozen variations over the years, and I’m sure y’all have as well.

I remember when my son was 6, he went off to the bathroom at an Outback and came running back to the table in a panic: was he supposed to use “Blokes” or “Sheilas”?

Filed in Bound and Gagged, CIDU, Dana Summers, bathrooms, comic strips, comics, humor | 28 responses so far

28 Responses to “X?”

  1. Christine Jul 25th 2012 at 08:52 am 1

    The joke is that the cartoonist came up with a cute way to name the washrooms, and needed a gag to present them, and couldn’t come up with one that stood on its own.

  2. The Bad Seed Jul 25th 2012 at 08:53 am 2

    I think they just have names related to the business, and it just surprised him and he had to think about it for a sec. Been there, done that. And I’m especially careful because of a small trend in back in the early 1990’s to label them in an attempt to get people to walk into the wrong one, i.e. a tiny “not” above “men”, or a fancy camouflaged arrow pointing from “women” over to the other door. Thankfully, a lot of restaurants in this area have made their single-seat restrooms gender-free, to better keep traffic moving.

  3. billytheskink Jul 25th 2012 at 08:55 am 3

    I see no joke beyond being confused by the use of male and female chromosome pairs in place of “Men” and “Women” on the restroom doors of a genetics lab. I guess the strip is also implying that Mr. red shirt doesn’t work for the lab, as he is confused by the signage.

    It’s not extremely funny, but I think it works.

  4. James Pollock Jul 25th 2012 at 09:21 am 4

    Plus, of course, it excludes the XXX and XXY individuals who would be most likely to show up at a genetic research facility…

  5. 1958Fury Jul 25th 2012 at 09:50 am 5

    Also, IME the cutesy restroom name thing is usually only seen at fun businesses like cheesy restaurants, not somewhere as serious as a genetics lab. (On the other hand it is a lab named “Buzzy’s” so I guess all bets are off.)

  6. Kilby Jul 25th 2012 at 09:59 am 6

    German restrooms are usually labelled “D” and “H”, which not infrequently presents English-speaking tourists with a 50:50 riddle.

    P.S. When in doubt, check for urinals.

  7. Ian Osmond Jul 25th 2012 at 11:08 am 7

    James Pollock’s point is an interesting one: including the XXYs and XXXs that he mentions, it would also be a challenge for people with androgen insensitivity syndrome and transgender people, among others. Turns out that there are a surprising number of people whose gender presentation doesn’t match their XX/XY status, and many of those people might be interesting to a genetics lab studying what components of the situation are genetic and/or heritable.

    I suppose it’s a cute enough joke.

  8. J-L Jul 25th 2012 at 11:12 am 8

    Bill, I’m pretty sure that the joke here that the restrooms have cute names. The character’s confusion in the second panel is just a way the artist chose to deliver the punchline.

    I suppose the artist could have made the same joke without a person and by using just one panel, but I gotta admit that would seem kind of bland.

  9. Elyrest Jul 25th 2012 at 11:58 am 9

    Although I have laughed at many of the weird male/female signs on restrooms - when I need to use them I want to figure it out quick. These doors would be a fail because, although I do know which is which, I’m afraid I’d have a brain fart at the wrong moment. When bodily functions are on the line too much thinking can cause critical errors.

  10. Keera Jul 25th 2012 at 01:39 pm 10

    One signage I saw used triangles: Pointy end down for the men, mimicking the ideal male torso; pointy end up for the women, mimicking the look of a dress or skirt. I live in a country where women hardly wear dresses so the latter is in many ways as anachronistic as dialing a phone. And no, to me a triangle does not make me think of the feminine pear shape. What does evoke that is a circle or oval, seen paired with a rectangle on the men’s door.

  11. Detcord Jul 25th 2012 at 01:43 pm 11

    It’s a genetics lab. Those who don’t know which door to use don’t belong there. Simple. ;)

  12. Boise Ed Jul 25th 2012 at 04:38 pm 12

    One bar/restaurant here has, on the men’s room, a stick figure with legs crossed and hands on the crotch, obviously in a dire peeing emergency.

  13. George P Jul 25th 2012 at 08:56 pm 13

    Before I went to Germany the first time I gave myself a crash course in German. It turns out I didn’t need the Damen und Herren lesson, because almost every toilette I saw had pictures similar to ours. Far more useful was “bad”, since I was staying at places that were not en suite, or whatever that is in German.

    For a week after I came home I was saying “bitte” and “danke” to everyone, since those two words made up approximately half or what I said there.

  14. Mark in Boston Jul 25th 2012 at 09:37 pm 14

    Why is the first door Xx and not XX?

    and the second door Xy and not XY?

  15. pepperjackcandy Jul 25th 2012 at 11:13 pm 15

    My reading is that the second X and the Y are recessive, which doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, since an entire chromosome really cannot be recessive. At least I don’t think they can.

  16. James Pollock Jul 26th 2012 at 12:59 am 16

    Well, a Y chromosome is physically much smaller than an X chromosome, so Xx/Xy is half right.

  17. J-L Jul 26th 2012 at 11:12 am 17

    It’s “Xx” and “Xy” for the same reason it’s “Men” and “Women” and not “MEN” and “WOMEN”.

    It’s part of the absurdity of the humor.

  18. Rainey Jul 26th 2012 at 11:14 am 18

    Kilby, looking for urinals only works if you’re a woman. I you’re a man, you usually know you entered the wrong restroom by being yelled at or assaulted by women and/or workers at the area of the restroom. As a general rule women are permitted in men’s facilities but men aren’t permitted in women’s facilities.

  19. Seymour Jul 26th 2012 at 12:40 pm 19

    My favorite was an eatery in Newtown, PA whose rest rooms are labeled “Elton” and “Olivia Newton” we took my parents to lunch there and my Dad was stymied. We ended up yelling “Elton, Dad!” down the hallway.

  20. jp Jul 26th 2012 at 08:48 pm 20

    @Kilby#6: Indeed. Many years ago, on a business trip to south-west Germany (Boeblingen), after a while at the bar after dinner, a colleague left to go to the bathroom. When she didn’t return after 5 or 6 minutes, I went out to see what the story was… She was standing in the hallway staring at two doors labelled “H” and “D” wondering what to do. Knowing enough German to get myself arrested, I directed her to the “‘Damen” [Women’s] room.

    Fun times.


  21. Mark in Boston Jul 26th 2012 at 11:11 pm 21

    He’s confusing chromosomes with genes. Genes are indicated with big and small letters, so if a male dog has two dominant genes for black fur, BB, and a female has one dominant black-fur gene and one recessive white-fur gene, Bb, then you can expect 3 of their four puppies to have BB and one of four to have Bb.

    But genes are not chromosomes. A gene is a stretch of DNA on a chromosome, and the chromosome has lots of genes on it. No matter how many recessive or dominant genes are involved, a male has XY and a female has XX.

  22. Mark in Boston Jul 26th 2012 at 11:13 pm 22

    jp: Those German doors are the equivalent of labeling English and American rooms G and L.

  23. Mark in Boston Jul 26th 2012 at 11:14 pm 23

    I wonder if the taps on a French sink are labeled C and F. I’d go for a cool drink from the C tap and burn myself.

  24. Ian Osmond Jul 27th 2012 at 08:04 am 24

    Mark: yes, they are, and yes, I have.

  25. Meryl A Aug 2nd 2012 at 01:58 am 25

    The joke is that it is a GENETICS lab. People who work there should not be confused by XX/XY. And generally in that type of lab no visitors are allowed unaccompanied, so he must be an employee.


    As far as I know women are not allowed in men’s rooms either, although we have been known to take one over as a group once in while when there is a huge line at the ladies and no one in the gents. (Although at an accounting conference I went to decades ago the 4 women attending went in to the 4 booth ladies room after lunch and then came out and watched the hundreds of men on line - and laughed.)

  26. Kilby Aug 2nd 2012 at 03:42 am 26

    @ Meryl A (25) - I remember attending a conference at a convention center in southern California that had nowhere near the necessary number of restrooms (for either gender). There were lines for both, but the lines for the ladies’ rooms were much longer. I saw an adventuresome vanguard of women standing defiantly in a men’s room line - and there was no commentary or criticism whatsoever: partly because everyone recognized the inherent unfairness of the situation, and partly because they were nuns, wearing full black & white habits. It was an impressive demonstration.

  27. HonestOtter May 28th 2016 at 06:05 pm 27

    yes, to include those with xxy and x makeups, the male bathroom should be labeled simply “y” and the female bathroom should be labeled simply “x”.

  28. James Pollock May 29th 2016 at 01:41 am 28

    Except that some people who are genetically XXY identify as male, and some identify as female.

    I am impressed that this cartoonist foresaw the current “potty purity” crisis by several years!

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply