Kubera merchant, Edible Canada, causes stir with conversation piece mistaken for feminist approach

Kubera merchant, Edible Canada, causes stir with conversation piece mistaken for feminist approach

Article Source www.vancouversun.com

VANCOUVER — When Vancouver Sun reporter and daddy blogger Chad Skelton visited the coed bathroom in a restaurant on Granville Island recently, he was surprised to see a sticker that featured a male figure peeing — with a line through it.

No stand-up peeing allowed.

So he did what any reporter would do: he blogged about it, washed his hands and went on his way (not necessarily in that order).

Within hours, the tale of eatery Edible Canada’s totalitarian and possibly feminist-inspired “no peeing standing up” edict had been splashed across websites around the globe and re-tweeted by thousands.

Edible Canada’s Facebook site “blew up,” Skelton’s blog was flush with comments, the Drudge report released it, and Gawker.com wiped the floor with the issue, slamming Canada as “stupid,” the ban as “sad” and daddy bloggers in general as “sissified.”

When we lifted up the seat to investigate, however, a different story splashed back.

Eric Patemen, owner of Edible Canada, who bought the stickers as a “joke,” is laughing all the way to the bank — the one that takes money, not the bank of urinals.

The stream of publicity has been fantastic.

“We saw the stickers, we figured it would be something fun and different,” he said. “A conversation piece. We’re not banning men from peeing standing up.”

When Patemen moved the restaurant from its original location in Granville market three months ago to create a new 188-seat venue, space was an issue. So a coed washroom was designed.

Patemen was picking up signage to indicate the washrooms were a shared, gender-neutral environment, and saw the no-peeing-standing stickers at Puddifoot Restaurant suppliers. He got a kick out of them.

“We saw what other restaurants were doing with cool washrooms and thought, why not have some fun?”

The stickers have been so popular with customers, Pateman has had to replace them five times in the last three months. Customers keep taking them. Some people have even taken off the plaster to remove them and take them home.

Pateman now sells the stickers in Edible Canada’s store — along with fine foods.

Jason Puddifoot, owner of Puddifoot restaurant suppliers, said his brother ordered the stickers after seeing them in Europe.

“In Europe and Asia there are lots of cool signs,” said Puddifoot, who was reluctant to be quoted for this article. “Hygiene,” he adds, delicately, may also be an issue.

“It may be related to the communal washroom thing. These are very popular and this is not the only restaurant that has them.”

So, is anyone actually banning men from peeing standing up?

Would sitting-only rules even be enforceable? (Perhaps not without breaking no-hidden-camera rules.)

Naked Scientist blogger John Gamel has plumbed the waters of the “excretory dilemma” that is at the root of the European-sourced signage. “Droplet shaking,” the politics of toilet-seat position, stream trajectory, back-splash and the hazards of penile “bowl-dipping” are being hotly debated in Europe.

So what does the Naked Scientist recommend to please the urine-phobic hygiene junkies, the feminist fighters on the front lines of the toilet-seat up-or-down debate and the folks that have to clean up after the rest of us?

Peeing in the sink, of course.

dryan@vancouversun.com

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