Monday, June 7, 2010

Onomastics - Creative Restroom Signage

Onomastics or onomatology is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names. The words are from the Greek: "ὀνομαστικός" (onomastikos), "of or belonging to naming" and "ὀνοματολογία" (onomatologia), from "ὄνομα" (ónoma) "name". - Wikipedia

One of the many ways that businesses add character to their establishments is by creatively naming their restrooms. Here are a couple spotted on the web.

I was recently out at one of the newer restaurants in my hometown when I happened upon these interesting restroom signs.

I get the name "Joe" for the men's restroom (after all, Average Joe, Joe Public, Ordinary Joe and Joe Sixpack have long been used as generics to represent the average American male); what I don't get is "Sally" for the women's restroom. The female equivalent of the above named "Joes" has always been "Jane". In my experience, "Sally" is used as a derogatory nickname for effeminate men. So what gives?

Maybe it has to do with Urban Dictionary's top definition for Sally: "A really, really hot girl."


Rimpy said...

That is odd. Does the name, ownership or theme of the restaurant lend itself to the choice of "Sally"?

There is a short, dead-end street in my town named "Melandjo". At first I thought it was a Spanish word. Turns out that it's a private drive and a couple name Mel and Jo live there.

Laura Payne said...

Hi Rimpy,
Great theory, but the restaurant is a breakfast place named "Toast" that is owned by Regan and Matt.

Rimpy said...

Hmmm...what about their kids, if any? No matter. I guess it all depends on your background. When I was in the army, all females were called "Molly". I forget what guys were called, but I'm pretty sure it was "Joe". Now, that may have been peculiar to that fort, but it seems like everything military is pretty uniform (ha ha).

So, who knows? It's these little things that keep language so interesting, eh?

Online Furniture Stores said...

Why mess with something that we all know works? If you get too creative with your restroom signs than you will end up with a lot of confused people.

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