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Which is which—that’s all we really need to know. But when it comes to bathroom-door decor, why stop at merely differentiating between genders?
The savviest Texas restaurateurs have learned that with a little extra effort, they can make a statement or make you smile. Often door designers rely on thematic puns, as in the multitude of seaside spots with doors tagged “Gulls” and “Buoys.” Sometimes door decor is simply a reflection of an ethnic motif: half of the Tex-Mex joints in the state sport doors labeled “Damas” and “Caballeros.”
That’s a regrettable situation in the eyes of a traditionalist like Karnes City restaurateur Al Pawelek. His doors plainly state “Ladies” and “Men” because, he says, “we’re in America, and that’s the way it should be.”
But the real door artists go for a particular form of comic relief, not known for its sophistication. Think of Austin’s much-lamented, long-departed Jake’s, which earned a small part of its rowdy notoriety from its restroom doors: they read “Setters” and “Pointers.” Now that’s the kind of bathroom humor we like.
Jerry Jeanmard is a designer from Houston.