11 January 2009

A water closet for pipe-smoking 19th century gentlemen

I am suspecting that there has been a minor art movement behind the creation of signs for public restrooms in Turkey. However, so far it remains undeclared and rarely noticed. Nevertheless, as I noted in this post, the fruits of this creativity are not restricted to large cities but can be seen and enjoyed even in dinky towns off the beaten paths.

This sign outside the men's restroom was at a rest stop along the highway from Ankara to Istanbul last October.


One characteristic of this movement is that the men and women portrayed on the signs are almost always idealistic, unrealistic and old-fashioned characters. Probably no one looking like the man in this sign has ever entered this particular restroom. Would you say he has a late 19th century look about him? Perhaps they are expecting occasional time-travelers. More examples are in the previous post.

The favorable bias the Turkish artists must have towards smoking is also betrayed by their tendency to depict the male WC visitors with cigarettes and pipes in their mouths. A sizeable fraction of the Turkish population (males and females) smokes. But regulations restricting smoking in public places, especially in buses, for example, are being enacted. Hopefully, the future restroom signs will be a bit more contemporary and healthier looking.

1 comment:

John said...

Most public restrooms I see have signs saying not to smoke.

19th century looks about right, though I don't know fashions well enough to go beyond that.