01 October 2008

loo sign at internet cafe

Transgender Loos

I'm sure there's a wittier title out there.

Any road, I despair of blighted Blighty. Every day brings new evidence of my sceptred isle plunging straight down the latrine.

This time it literally *is* to do with toilets: The bogs in Man U's students' union are no longer distinguished by 'M'/'F' signage but renamed "toilets" and "toilets with urinals".

The idiot student union made the decision after complaints from ... wait fer it ... from transgender students.

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Sibadd said...

My friend Dr Lesley Prince is one of the most enjoyable and witty scholars I know - an expert on the English Civl War. I knew him for 10 years as a bloke and now he's a she. Lesley tells how glad she was of the disabled loo in our office on campus because the girls were uncomfortable with 'him' in there, and she didn't want to use the men's anymore - obviously. "The difficulty is that I don't think I'm disabled but I realise I'm not quite ordinary either". If you think the Man U signage change is idiotic (which it is) how about the signs on the councillors lav's in one county I visited long ago. It was decided that it was no longer appropriate to call these "Ladies" and "Gentlemen". The first new sign said "Female members", the other - well, someone realised before the notice was actually erected (though not picked up in earlier debate - double and triple entendres notwithstanding) where that was going... Result: the Gents stayed indefinitely signless becoming the default urinal and the matter got stuck in the tray marked 'no man's land' until someone invented icons.

Busker said...

Thanks for this learn'ed comment. I have a real dislike of what's happening to the language: the Brit Sociological Assoc banning 'Old Masters' and 'seminal' for being sexist; 'Classic Masters' is ridiculous. 'Immmigrants', developing nations', black. "Disablist" terms like patient, the elderly,and special needs. Out goes 'Chinese whisper'. I tell you, if i ever return to Blighty, I may as well turn myself in to the Thought Police at 'Immigration' and be done with it.

Sibadd said...

Conversation overheard in the 1950s:
Teacher 1: "Have you heard of this ghastly new word 'actually' that everyone's using these days?" Teacher 2 "I haven't actually". If it's any consolation, I'm not sure you can ever find the sort of police you could ask to arrest you for this sort of daftness in Blighty. The worst eventuality is to live in a world where the language is bent by powerful bullies - as in '1984'. I don't see that happening, but even if it did, and indeed where it does in some countries today, it stimulates the ingenuity of the rule breakers making prose an act of courage. Good writing will find a way. You write beautifully (sorry if this praise embarrasses) and, since you admit you 'love hiding behind words', I can imagine you using that love of subterfuge to circumvent the most odious restrictions. I may sound contrary, but some of the guidelines on avoiding offence are the same as those that discourage spitting or public flatulence (something Greeks detest). I welcome such proscriptions. You use ripe crude rough and - at times - dangerous language that I've never found offensive. Scary Like stand-up comedy, you can get away with just about anything if people laugh. Bladerunning. There are expressions that makes me want to saw off my legs - such as 'at the end of the day' and 100s more. The use of 'we' when talking to old people, as in 'have we taken our pills?' I'd get my police to arrest people for speaking in that way. I'd be rounding up people for bad writing and casual cursing. I'd prosecute the little man who, on a train, after I'd picked up what I thought was his abandoned newspaper, said archly "You may retain it if you wish." My excellent prep school head said years ago, scolding me for wssted swearing, as I listened goggling, "Don't get used to saying 'Fuck'. What have you got left when you drop a brick on your toe?" That said I know far too many good people who don't have the blarney, that I'd probably end up letting them free with a warning. Sorry to go on....my wife has just issued me with a ticket for being prolix (pro-licks?) yeah yeah...ouch, gerroff

Busker said...

Wonderful comment. I'm not worthy. I'll have to start a 'Dont mind the quality, feel the width' promo: 'Stuff t'blog, make straight for the Comments'