A subtle difference

These plaques were placed outside the doors of a toilet in a train station on the outskirts of Taipei.

Boy toilet entrance

Girl toilet entrance

Even with my lack of Chinese, I managed to go to the right place.


  1. Joy

    That’s easy, the boy’s wearing a hat.
    It’s “danielle the squirt.”
    What’s more embarrassing, standing really close to look at the sign? Especially when it’s one like that, Or chancing it fifty fifty?
    The best way is to wait and see which way the others go.
    I’ve had other women follow me into the men’s toilets before now and a fellow go back and do a double take on the toilet door because he thought he was in the wrong one!
    Ending up in the right one first is one of life’s happy surprises when you’re in a foreign land.

  2. Bernie

    The surprise is that such signs are left in place. It says a lot for the discipline of Chinese young adults or the ferocity of the punishments for defacing public property. How long do you think it would be before a goodly percentage would be adorning dorm rooms?

  3. harold

    I liked the expression of relief on the faces. I was reprimanded when I taught my nephews a more hygienic way of peeing, I was told that doing this while sitting on the toilet seat was an very unmanly thing to do.

  4. Semiotic psychosis. Signs of the times. Bad art, forced upon the post-literate public. Rudeness replaces beauty.

  5. Joy

    But Mike, would you normally look for beauty on a toilet door?

  6. stan

    I’m still trying to figure out how she levitates like that.

  7. Joy

    I too thought she’d jumped in the air! She might be from the French
    “cirques du oui oui”

  8. But don’t those cut-outs attest to the universality of Charlie Brown and Lucy? Btw, Joy’s “cirques du oui oui” is a classic.

  9. JH

    I also liked the expression on the faces.

  10. D Johnson

    When I was in Taipei some years ago, I saw men’s room doors decorated with the profile of a man smoking a pipe. As a pipe smoker, it worked for me, but the strange thing is that I didn’t see any Chinese actually smoking a pipe. I don’t recall what they used for the lady’s rooms.

  11. JH

    Mr. Johnson, a high-heeled shoe is used for the lady’s. I have a picture of it.

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