I live in New York. It occurs to me that I've seen these in other cities, and possibly other countries, but I am positive that they absolutely are plentiful in NYC. It also occurs to me that they might--just might, for I have not ventured into any great number of female places of relief--be wholly or mostly unknown to our womenfolk. Hence, this write-up:

Sometime in the last few years, Madison Avenue figured out it had a large and almost totally captive audience in males of the urinating variety. Now, all males that I've ever met urinate; and when outside the home, they frequently (but by no means exclusively) use that paean to plumbing, the urinal.

Now, when standing at a urinal, as I'm sure you can imagine, ladies, there's not much to do aside from the business at hand. Looking at your fellow urinators is largely regarded as uncivilized. Talking to them is nearly universally out of the question. Consequently, pondering your own urinary prowess--is that a cigarette butt I could perhaps dismantle?--is the only viable alternative to staring blankly at the wall before you.

Blank white space? Stared at for several seconds uninterrupted? In retrospect, it seems unfathomable that MadAv didn't figure this one out decades before. But it's a recent phenomenon, I swear: now you look not at mere white tiles and their oft-accompanying graffiti--Ramon, why don' you love me? Fer a gud time, call Jenny--but rather at slick corporate ads for products that make sense for today's urinating male.

Hallelujah! Finally I can be pissing away my life in a bar and read ads for gin, or dot-coms, or legal and courteous escort services! The times, my friends, are truly grand.

The first time I saw ads on urinals, as opposed to ads for urinals, was in the Narita (NRT) airport in Tokyo. I found it rather offensive, as if there was one place in the world that should escape commercialism, it should be there.

There are, in fact, corresponding ads in women's washrooms, especially bar washrooms, where one is likely not only to spend more time on the pot, but likely to be inebriated and perhaps more receptive. There are ads on the back of the stall doors, stickers on the mirrors, ads on the tampon vending machines, ads on the walls, and sometimes ads on the trendy herbal hangover cure vending machines. Thankfully usually not all at once, but it's only a matter of time.

The solution of course is a campaign of vociferous counter-graffiti - carry a sharpie in your purse, ladies! At least you know they aren't video-taping you there. Yet.

A friend told me that while she sold Herbalife or something of the sort, she used to post ads on the bathroom doors of college campuses. She summed it up perfectly: What college aged female sitting on a toilet seat with her thighs overflowing would *not* be receptive to one of these ads?

I agreed with her wholeheartedly - after all, I will in my own house read the backs of shampoo bottles while I upload my wastage to the bowl, so despite my weight, I would likely be captivated by anything posted just for my reading pleasure in a bathroom stall. Nowhere near as amusing as graffiti though.

if you love your boyfriend,
show some class
don't write his name
where you wipe your ass.

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