Standing up for women’s rights

A Vancouver restaurant urges its male customers to sit down

Standing up for women's rightsPicture yourself at Edible Canada, a restaurant that opened a patio and dining area this summer on downtown Vancouver’s Granville Island. You’re enjoying their signature local duck-fat fries with Fraser Valley bacon aioli. You’re a man, and you’ve been drinking. When you get up to drain the contents of your expanding bladder—as one tends to do in such situations—you notice something peculiar in the unisex bathroom stall: a small silver sign indicating you’re not allowed to pee standing up. You’ve got to sit down like everybody else.

Calm down. It’s a joke. But even though the signs were put in place largely “for a giggle,” the instructions are causing quite a stir, Edible Canada owner Eric Pateman tells Maclean’s. Early last week, a blogger for the Vancouver Sun wrote about the sign he found in the restaurant bathroom. Since then, Pateman says journalists from around the world have been contacting him about his supposed ban on peeing standing up. “It’s been an interesting couple of days,” he says. “We just put them up as a conversation piece, and it certainly seems to have generated that.”

Pateman says that, typically, guests at his restaurant get a laugh out of the signs, return to their tables and tell their friends to check it out. “The patrons think it’s been hilarious,” he says.

The signs have been such a hit that they often get peeled off the wall and stolen, sometimes forcing Pateman to replace the plaster. He now sells the signs from his restaurant. “It’s all in good fun, in jest,” he says. But jest or not, the signs might serve to inspire some standers to hone their aim when nature calls. “It makes people think about what they’re doing in there, and if it keeps the washrooms a little bit cleaner and lets people have a little chuckle, then great.”

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