The only time the rules generally come to the surface, is when someone does something that breaks the rules -- and then they receive negative sanctions. In general, however, responses only go in that negative direction. In other words, we receive little direct positive response for doing the "right" thing, but people are free to call us out if we do the "wrong" thing.
Take this fine specimen spotted in an Ann Arbor coffee shop yesterday:
Posted by Zoe the Wonder Dog at Friday, January 25, 2008
Labels: academia, bathrooms, etiquette, flossing, public space
You should be careful with that "price he has to pay for having broken the rules" photojournalism business - you never know when someone might have some look-what-you-did-in-public photos of you. I'm just sayin', ya know?I wholeheartedly agree with you about Single Occupancy Gendered Toilet (SOGT) segregation though. I'm tempted to make a personal crusade over it. Somewhere in public architecture standards of practice, there might be a reason for SOGTs. It might just be a reason to sell different signage. It might be a "boys tolerate dirty bathrooms, so let them wallow in it". It might be that builders/architects expect that retailers/customers expect there to be SOGTs (the "I-thought-that-you-thought-that-I-thought" problem). I know there's a nugget of a reason in there somewhere, it just needs finding.As far as your encounter with the man going into a woman-designated SOGT, I say it's both a Territory and Permission thing. It's clearly marked territory. Like a No Trespassing or Employees Only sign, we are taught from a young age to drive between the lines, stop at the red light, listen to what the police officer tells you, and don't go where you're not allowed to. The REASONS aren't understood (if at all) until later in life. But for children to be able to operate in the world, they are taught to take certain rules/cues as axiomatic. One of those is that the room labeled "women" is for women, and the one labeled "men" is for men. I'm wondering if the genders were turned around and you were a man, the waiting pisser was a woman, and the open SOGT was labeled "men", what the waiting pisser would have done? And what would your reaction have been to their choice to go or wait? and why? Riddle you that one too. As for Permission - yes, once you have the notion of marked territory (not the fire hydrant version, the Employees Only version), then you are giving him permission. And that permission is social liability protection for him ("it's not my fault, she said I could"). And going a step further, because that space is marked, you and your gender "own" it. Only you (women) can be perceived to release control of it. Same is true for socially perceived men's spaces.As far as SOGT permutations of will-they-won't-they... Are you looking for an assistant in some urban social experimentation? I work for very reasonable rates.
January 25, 2008 12:36 PM
Zoe the Wonder Dog said...
Yes, yes, I'll have to mind my p's and q's tomorrow night at that social gathering, lest I end up as blog fodder (can that be shortened to "blodder"?)I'm up for the experimenting, but we need more folks. Wonder if we can set W up for stealth video taping... It's always better with video. I think we should enlist some of those tweener sprogs our friends have too -- kids that are obviously not adults but do look like they are old enough to "know better". We could get a whole passle of people who appear on the boundaries of categories we use to organize society (gender, obviously, but also class, ability, etc.) and test just how the rules get applied... [mental wheels turning furiously]Think I can get an article out of it? :)
January 25, 2008 12:55 PM
I like Primo, too!Speaking of breaking societal rules...I was at Hillers the other day, and the lady in front of me had a few items on the belt, and was fussing with her purse and wallet. I figured that she had loaded all of her groceries, so I put mine on the belt. A few seconds later, she was all, "Wait! Stop!" and then fussed at the cashier, demanding, "What are you going to do about this???""This" was the fact that she had unloaded a few items and then stopped, leaving the rest of her items in the basket. Therefore, after I unloaded mine, they traveled merrily down the belt, thus preventing her from putting the rest of her stuff up there.After the lady left, I commented to the cashier on how the lady had broken the social norm and had no business fussing. Sorry folks, but the "rules" say that you unload all and THEN worry about money. Why? I don't know, but that is the rule. And see what happens when you break it? My lovely Guernsey Farms milk bumps against her nasty-ass generic brand.
January 25, 2008 8:23 PM
I love primo too!!! Izzy's piano lesson that is where I get my chai latte fix!!