Water in a canal, Baja California Sur, Fall 1999.
wet/dry
binaries

The White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia has four bathrooms: "Democrat," "Republican," "Pointer," and "Setter." The food is fabulous, but it's also fun to go and watch how people navigate these familiar binaries in an unfamiliar setting. Some people hardly give them a second glance and just go into the nearest door. Other people are really stumped, and treat them as concrete, binding categories: "Well, I definitely can't go in the Republican one," mused one customer who waited for the "Democrat" bathroom to be free.

But how can you really take those door labels seriously? I mean, so many people aren't really Democrats orRepublicans. What about Independents, Greens and Right-to-Lifers? And why would you ever limit yourself and waitfor a bathroom with the label of your supposed political party on the door?

But that's exactly the point! How can you take anybathroom door labels seriously? So many people aren't really men orwomen. What about transmen, drag queens, transexuals, hermaphrodites and intersexuals? And why would you ever limit yourself and waitfor a bathroom with the label of your supposed gender on the door?

So I decided to launch my own bathroom door sign campaign this fall. We had a binary party where we ate pink and blue sugar cookies, brainstormed binary pairs, and made a pair of signs for each binary. We then went around and covered the "men" and "women" signs on all the bathrooms around campus with our binary signs. Instead of the traditional skirt and pant silhouettes, the bathrooms in the Biology building read "heterotroph" and "autotroph" and those in the science library said "smart" and "pretty".

The point? Our gender binary may have its advantages, but it's important to think about how in some ways, men/women and male/female can be just as complicated and/or ridiculous as black/white, city/country, paper/plastic and here/there. Here is the list we came up with. Enjoy it, send me any new ones, and have your own binary party!

'N Sync
0
AC
AM
Amy
analog
apples
automatic
autotroph
baked
bert
big room
big
blonde
Broadway
Calvin
casual
cat
cereal
christians
clean
Columbia/Tristar
communist
consulting
country
course
coward
cowboy
crazy
credit
credit
crime
Crosby, Stills, Nash,
crunchy
crunchy
crusty
dead
Democrat
dissonance
dominant
druggie
east
fat
fiction
fish
forte
fruit
gay
glasses
Greek
happy
Haverford
head
healthy
heaven
hip
Hollywood
human
Israel
iterative
ITS
ketchup
Kirk
kitsch
leader
leather
lefty
literal
live free
McCabe
Mehitabel
micro
mind
monogamous
music
Nader
naked
naughty
near
neo
nerd
Nora
normal
O
old
oppressor
outie
paper
passive
PC
pencil
penny-loafer
Pepsi
political
porn
pretty
private school
pro-life
public
realist
rhythm
rich
Roadrunner
rock
romantic
S
sacred
sailor
sccs
self
senate
single
slut
smoker
Socrates
stabilizing
Stalin
sun
sweet
tea
theory
time
tomorrow
top
tortoise
tragedy
union
union
urban
us
vegan
virgin
virtue
Wa
war
wild
wind
work
Yankees
Backstreet Boys
1
DC
PM
Emily
digital
oranges
manual
heterotroph
fried
ernie
small room
small
brunette
Main St.
Hobbes
serious
dog
bagels
pagans
dirty
Righteous Babe
capitalist
organic farming
western
honors
fool
indian
sane
cash
points
punishment
Young
creamy
smooth
flaky
quick
Republican
harmony
submissive
straight-edge
west
thin
poetry
fowl
piano
vegetable
straight
contacts
Roman
sad
Bryn Mawr
heart
sick
hell
square
indie
cyborg
Palestine
recursive
CC
mustard
Spock
camp
follower
canvas
righty
figurative
die
Cornell
Archy
macro
body
polyamorous
dance
Gore
nekkid
nice
far
post
jock
Patty
weird
X
young
oppressed
innie
plastic
agressive
mac
pen
wing-tip
Coke
personal
erotica
smart
public school
pro-choice
private
idealist
blues
poor
Wile E. Coyote
roll
platonic
M
profane
mermaid
activists
other
house
attached
prude
non-smoker
Plato
subversive
Trotsky
moon
salty
coffee
practice
money
yesterday
bottom
hare
comedy
confederate
scab
suburban
them
carnivore
whore
vice
Wa
peace
domesticated
rain
play
Mets


here are new ones that have been added since!

crunchy
emacs
lick
pine
participant
insider
me
manic
real
yin
here
etc.
...
:)
hip
black
Mason
discrete
soggy
vi
self-adhesive
mutt
observer
outsider
you
depressive
academic
yang
gone
period
.
:(
hop
blue
Dixon
continuous


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