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Toilet Signs in Poland and Continental Europe


Cardno85 31 | 976  
4 Dec 2009 /  #1
Now I've stuck this in the off-topic because it is more related to Continental Europe in General as opposed to Poland. But what is the deal with the signs that are a circle for female and triangle for male. I know which one's which, but don't quite get why. So does anyone know the reasoning behind this?
Wroclaw Boy  
4 Dec 2009 /  #2
It dates back to the zodiacs and spiritual readings masculine and feminine were denominated by various shapes on the tarrot cards, seeing as Poland and some other countries are fairly open minded about such things it just stuck.
OP Cardno85 31 | 976  
4 Dec 2009 /  #3
Oh right, cheers, I've been wondering about that for ages!
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
4 Dec 2009 /  #4
Separation by sex is characteristic of public toilets, with writings or pictograms of a man or a woman are used to indicate where their respective toilets are. Warsaw, Poland is a rare exception where a triangle indicates male and a circle indicates female.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet#Gender_and_public_toilets

off-topic because it is more related to Continental Europe

Maybe it is just Poland?
szkotja2007 27 | 1,500  
4 Dec 2009 /  #5
Lithuania is even more confusing. Two triangles !
A triangle for females and an inverted triangle for males.
Wroclaw Boy  
4 Dec 2009 /  #6
It dates back to the zodiacs and spiritual readings masculine and feminine were denominated by various shapes on the tarrot cards, seeing as Poland and some other countries are fairly open minded about such things it just stuck.

Seriously i totally bullshitted that, i dont really have a clue.
OP Cardno85 31 | 976  
4 Dec 2009 /  #7
Maybe it is just Poland?

Bizarre, I was sure I had seen it in Germany as well.

Seriously i totally bullshitted that, i dont really have a clue.

Awesome haha, totally believed you as well!

So right, anyone have any idea why it's a triangle and a circle?
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
4 Dec 2009 /  #8
Although WB was just messing, I would not be surprised if it were linked to some sort of pagan fertility symbolism.
Ksysia 25 | 430  
4 Dec 2009 /  #9
haha, not pagan!

The triangle is male and circle is female - imagine moving the triangle towards the circle, one enters the other (to be lewd) and there, it's obvious.

We kinda thought that it was so universal, like arrow pointing in the direction. The ideas resembles the modernist, utilitarian,or conceptual - whichever. It may have to do with overly educated students of the twenties translating the knowledge of anatomy, the shape of the pelvis, to symbols.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
4 Dec 2009 /  #10
haha, not pagan!

How do you know, smarty pants?
When did it originate?

The triangle is male and circle is female - imagine moving the triangle towards the circle, one enters the other (to be lewd) and there, it's obvious.

There are several things about that that do not make sense, as far as phallic symbolisms go, the triangle is not typical.

It may have to do with...

So you do not know either, yet you are quick to laugh at others who make suggestions.

the shape of the pelvis, to symbols.

Possibly, although men's pelvises are smaller than women's.
OP Cardno85 31 | 976  
4 Dec 2009 /  #11
There are several things about that that do not make sense, as far as phallic symbolisms go, the triangle is not typical.

That's what I was thinking, I would have thought a triangle was not very phallic at all.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
4 Dec 2009 /  #12
Lithuania is even more confusing. Two triangles !

I always assumed that in Lithuania the triangles were a very basic shape of the male and female.
The broad man's shoulders and the wider women's hips.

Whereas in Poland, I just do not go in to the one marked by a circle.
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105  
5 Dec 2009 /  #13
Why pick a circle and a triangle at all when they could have picked any from this selection? ;)
oddee.com/item_96744.aspx
OP Cardno85 31 | 976  
5 Dec 2009 /  #14
Yes indeed, and I would say that all of those...for a tourist on a first trip...would be clear which is male/female/unisex bathrooms. I actually had to look in both the first time i was confronted with this signage to check which one had urinals (which has since become confusing as, on busy nights, you will see women coming out of there and vice versa). The exception on your list could be the WO-MEN sign, but the colour coding helps.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
5 Dec 2009 /  #15
Hasn't anyoen seen ther M and D (męska - damska) letters on public loos in Poland? That syncs with the German Männer - Damen and French Messieurs - Dames.
frd 7 | 1,399  
5 Dec 2009 /  #16
I like it when they just put a picture of a girl and boy, no strange fancies like a tie and apron I've seen in some ruraly themed restaurants. I had a mate who was always tricking me into entering the wrong one..
OP Cardno85 31 | 976  
5 Dec 2009 /  #17
I like it when they just put a picture of a girl and boy

That is fine for the West, but what about countries where women don't wear skirts? How do the locals there tell the difference?

I always liked the places that had a guy's face and a girls...that is pretty universal.

I feel we are straying wayyy off topic...there has to be a reason behind the shapes...now does anyone know what that might be?
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
6 Dec 2009 /  #18
This has baffled me for years. Every intelligent thought would make you think it was the other way round, but nope.

An afterthought. Could it have something to do with the shape of the toilets? Triangle for urinals and circle for toilets?

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