Saturday, January 9, 2010

No Grooming!

So there I was in the men's room in the terminal of the Staten Island Ferry on the Manhattan side. I had just taken a leak and I turned to see a bright yellow sign fastened to the wall high above the wash basins and mirrors. The sign read:


No grooming at all? You can't even drag a comb through your hair? Or push an unsightly blemish around? Is adjusting your tie in front of the mirror taboo as well? And who's going to check, in any case? It seemed like such a ridiculous sign I decided to look up the word "grooming" to see if it had a more restricted meaning than I realized. American Heritage says "To make neat and trim, polish." defines it as "To care for the appearance of; to make neat and trim." It also says "To care for one's appearance." Seems harmless enough, right? But maybe they specifically meant no fingernail clipping, which, after all, would also count as grooming. It even occurred to me that this is a shorthand way of discouraging toenail clipping, an activity which, in my experience anyway, really could stand a sign. Or perhaps they're saying that it might be okay to comb your hair, but that you shouldn't be taking a scissors to it and leaving all those unsightly discarded strands in one of their sinks. Or maybe, just maybe, this being the terminal of the Staten Island Ferry and all, the sign serves as a friendly reminder that no matter how carefully you groom yourself, the ride on the ferry, with all that wind and fuss, will undo anything you've attempted to do neaten yourself up, so, please, don't even bother to try in the first place. "Positively no grooming" seems a bit strong, though, if that's the actual message.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure what the sign is about, but I will admit that there are always a number of well trained drug sniffing dogs hanging around the terminal. It is likely that the grooming they are referring to is animal grooming, not human grooming. Still, if I am right, you have to admit that it remains humorously ambiguous. I'm still waiting for something direct and declarative in those bathrooms. Something like: ABSOLUTELY NO ARMPIT SNIFFING AT ANY TIME!

1 comment:

  1. This little discussion has made me realize something about marriage. Guys, we'll all be more successful husbands if we do what our moniker implies, keep our brides 'spruced up and cared for'. Unless, wait a minute, are we the groomer or the groomee?......