Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013

Men's Room Graffiti:

SELECTED WORKS

With solitude comes wisdom. This is why enlightenment is sought beneath trees and on the tops of lonely mountains. The toilet also has a long history of inspiring deep, profound thinking, which is why you will find so much graffiti on the walls of public restrooms. And while you’ll find serious men writing detailed analyses of books, poetry, plays and films the field of restroom graffiti had been largely ignored. Until now: I present to you my commentary on the graffiti I found in my university’s various loos.

Page_301This article will only include men’s room graffiti, as I am not a position to know if the ladies also write in the lavatory. (Also, yes, I am okay with myself.)

‘Call Tasnima [phone number] 2 have any good time very recomanded [sic].’
Let’s get this out of the way: the usage of numbers as shorthand 4 words is only acceptable when texting or IM-ing, and no self-respecting writer would ever consider using it. This and the poor spelling reflect poorly on the writer’s presentation skills. The actual message is quite alienating as well: it is all well and good to say that calling Tasnima will provide good times, but good times for whom? Not everyone has the same idea of fun, after all. I personally enjoy rainy afternoons with Pink Floyd and a good book: I doubt calling Tasnima will affect local weather patterns. Keep your ‘recomandations’ to yourself, sir. Your assumption that everyone likes what you like will win you few fans.

‘Have you forgotten this is an educational establishment?????????????’

Here is a man who goes against the grain and wants to stop all this nonsense. While he has every right to be outraged, I do not see that he has contributed anything to the cultural landscape himself to let him talk smack about others’ work.  Show them that you can do better is my advice. And also: one question mark is always sufficient.

‘Part time sales & MKT job for girls. Attractive salary. Must be very smart, sexy and beautiful girls send CV at [web address].’

Woo boy. I’ll say it, when I read this I realized that I was looking at one of the greatest moments in English literature. On the surface it’s a fairly commonplace, if dubious job offer to university students with some improbable requirements.  It’s when you take a step back and you realize that this ad is in the men’s rest room that the absolute genius of the writer becomes apparent. In one stroke he has revealed the inherent silliness of all bathroom graffiti, with their bizarre sexual fixations and incoherent demands and suggestions. And he has achieved this by writing something so stupid it had to be deliberate. Or, maybe the man really is an idiot. There’s no middle-ground when judging this masterpiece, you can either love it or reject. (Rather like Tool’s fourth album in that respect.)

These were just samples from the rich and varied world of men’s room graffiti. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I had, and if you find any gems yourself do send them along to me so that we can enjoy them together. Goodbye for now. Hugs and kisses.