Thursday, May 15, 2008

Edicate is not a word -- Etiquette is important!

Okay, my life is now much less meaningful. I used to be a good speller.

But now I just cannot spell to save my life! I was talking about washroom etiquette with my adult students at the Uni and I typed the words 'washroom edicate' instead. I saw that the dread red line had appeared below it but I figured it was just a problem with the spelling dictionary I use with Firefox. Just like the spelling of the word 'okay' always gives me a red line, even though okay is an accepted variant of ok in most circles.

The problem, of course, is that I have stopped writing by hand -- Almost entirely. And every application, in which I write, now seems to have a spell-checker of some sort or other. So, I'm losing my 'spelling sense'.

But now, back to the interesting issue at hand.

Unisex Washroom Etiquette

Many public buildings in Korea have unisex washrooms. On these doors you see both the customary red sign for women and the blue sign for men. My first reaction was one of amazement as Korean culture seems to be so repressed about sex -- I still wonder how Korean men and women can stand the very idea of a unisex toilet.

Their porn is pixelated, hell even modest cleavage is pixelated on Korean daytime television, but somehow they deal with sharing a washroom. There are typically urinals just across from the women's cubicle and so there is a lot of potential for women to catch sight of the dread phallic objects in the flesh! Of course, you don't need unisex toilets for women to get a glance as most men's washrooms have the door propped open and at least one urinal is in perfect site of the doorway.

How do Koreans handle the sharing of washrooms between both sexes?
My adult students appeared very glazed when reporting that they simply wait by the door until they are reasonably certain that no women are inside and naturally hope for the same treatment if a woman should approach while they are making use of the facilities.

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