Places you’ve got to go

I’ve been thinking about bathrooms lately. My friend celebrated his thirty-first birthday last week, and we celebrated at a place in the Pike Place Market. The ladies’ room had been converted from past use, and there was an ornate and rather large chandelier almost touching the top of the stall doors. I was assured that the men’s room was not nearly as decorative. From what I’ve been told, it rarely is.

Today I’m going to share a few other memorable bathrooms with you. There is a Thai restaurant in Greenlake that has vases with real roses on each table. When the roses fade, they are bundled with string and placed in upside-down bunches along the bathroom walls. There are hundreds and hundreds of bunches in there, and a slight rose fragrance lingers, along with a tinge of decay. It’s meant to be charming, but I find it more than a little bit creepy.

Another Thai noodle place on Capitol Hill has a bright green bathroom. Plastic flowers and greenery are stapled to the walls. There is also a fake aquarium, a fake waterfall, and lots of pictures of fish. This would be enough of an overload, but one of the moving pictures also has a soundtrack of chirping birds. It’s like a demented aviary in there, and I could barely manage not to duck my head to avoid the imaginary birds. Quite festive, but again, a little odd.

My favorite odd bathroom of all times is in a bar in Long Island. The name and location is lost to memory, but the bar is elegant. Dark wood on the walls, light opera in the background—a classy place if every you saw one. In the ladies’ room, there is an enormous fresco of a nearly-naked Roman god, complete with a three-dimensional hinged fig leaf. I was luckily among friends when I used that bathroom—if you lift the fig leaf an alarm goes off in the bar and everyone knows you’ve done it. My friend stayed in there for half an hour when she’d made the mistake.

I love these little treasures. They are the dessert to my meal, the appetizer to my imagination. I hope you enjoy this taste.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

207. Next time you are out at a restaurant or bar, check out the bathroom. If you find something cool, share it with your friends. If you are out with a companion of the opposite gender, find out if their bathroom is similarly nifty.

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