Some things in life are important. This is not one of them. This blog is about bathroom keys. Not bathroom keys for your home bathroom, if you have any, but public restroom bathroom keys. I don't know the history of public restroom bathroom keys but some day I hope to write the definitive treatise on the topic.
Years ago, perhaps 30 or so, one could walk into a public establishment and simply use the bathroom. Today, one has to ask for "the bathroom key". Why? I posit a multi-pronged theory: 1) protection of the customer, and 2) discouragement of use by non-customers. The former I am not so sure about; the latter I will bet the farm on (including the bathroom) based on the proliferation of "Rest Room for Customers Only" signs.
Here in New York, the need to discourage the use of bathrooms was prompted somewhat by the increase in homelessness. Some of these homeless people, or sometimes simply drunks or vagrants of some sort, would enter and use the bathroom. For some reason, their hygienic habits were not up to snuff, sometimes leaving clear evidence of the purpose and intent of their bathroom use. Icky poo!
On some level, this is a simple subject; on another, I am making it unnecessarily complex. Here's how: The Bathroom Key Chronicles takes an in-depth look (with photos) as to how bathroom keys are presented to their customers. What I mean by this is, when you ask for the bathroom key, you don't just get the key, you get the key attached to something to...well, I guess to remind you to not walk out with it? To make sure everyone in the place knows your business?
The bathroom key attachments are sometimes more elaborate, indeed ingenius, than others. This blog will feature a photo of a bathroom key, it's accoutrement and a brief description of its locale. Send your photos and texts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read and enjoy and please, please send me photos and text to add to the blog. Help me to document this small bit of Americana.