Firstly, it appeals to me on a juvenile smut level. Don't let all the earnest chinstroking fool you, I'm a big fan and font of toilet humour.
I co-wrote a massive zine of the stuff called Junk Mail Backlash, where we sent off Freepost coupons with rude names just to see if we'd get replies. I was profoundly amused to receive catalogues addressed to Mrs A Pigfucksme, British Gas writing to Mrs Gufflighter, or having a letter that starts 'Dear Mrs Methsdrinker, thankyou for your inquiry about our incontinence products'.
Indeed, the NOP logo is reminiscent of artwork form another project I was part of, the back cover of Radio Savage Houndy Beasty's album Millennium Buggery.
Really, all that guff about the Millennium Bug and yet it seems we were the only ones to have thought of that pun.
The other thing I like about the Polish sign is the attempt at specifying the sexes.
The generic figures used in such signs are usually sex-neutral. I've often thought this about the traditional toilet signs; they seem to be actually advertising facilites for bipeds and monopeds.
But that would miss the point for our Polish chums, so they've added a comically weeny cock on the figure at the front. Notably, there is nothing to specify the sex of the person at the back. They appear to be campaigning against fucking men from behind.
Not only is this an activity enjoyed by straight women , but gay men having sex by no means necessitates anal sex from behind.
My own view is that most homophobia, if one wants to use that rather crummy word, has almost nothing to do with sex.
‘But have you any idea what these people actually do?’
Self-righteous members of the House of Commons loved standing to ask that question during our last parliamentary debate on the age of homosexual consent.
‘Shit-stickers, that’s what they are. Let’s be clear about that. We’re talking about sodomy here.’
Oh no you aren’t. You think you are, but you aren’t, you know.
Buggery is far less prevalent in the gay world than people suppose. Anal sex is probably not much more common in homosexual encounters than it is in heterosexual.
Buggery is not at the end of the yellow brick road somewhere over the homosexual rainbow, it is not the prize, the purpose, the goal or the fulfilment of homosexuality. Buggery is not the achievement which sees homosexuality move from becoming into being; buggery is not homosexuality’s realisation or destiny.
Buggery is as much a necessary condition of homosexuality as the ownership of a Volvo estate car is a necessary condition of middle-class family life, linked irretrievably only in the minds of the witless and the cheap. The performance of buggery is no more inevitable a part of homosexuality than an orange syllabub is an inevitable part of a dinner: some may clamour for it and instantly demand a second helping, some are not interested, some decide they will try it once and then instantly vomit.
There are plenty of other things to be got up to in the homosexual world outside the orbit of the anal ring, but the concept that really gets the goat of the gay-hater, the idea that really spins their melon and sickens their stomach is that most terrible and terrifying of all human notions, love.
That one can love another of the same gender, that is what the homophobe really cannot stand. Love in all eight tones and all five semitones of the word’s full octave. Love as agape, Eros and philos; love as romance, friendship and adoration; love as infatuation, obsession and lust; love as torture, euphoria, ecstasy and oblivion (this is beginning to read like a Calvin Klein perfume catalogue); love as need, passion and desire.
All the rest of it, parking your dick up an arse, slurping at a helmet, whipping, frotting, peeing, pooing, squatting like a dog, dressing up in plastic and leather — all these go on in the world of boy and girl too: and let’s be clear about this, they go on more — the numbers make it so. Go into a sex shop, skim through some pornography, browse the internet for a time, talk to someone in the sex industry.
You think homosexuality is disgusting? Then, it follows, it follows as the night the day, that you find sex disgusting, for there is nothing done between two men or two women that is, by any objective standard, different from that which is done between a man and a woman.
What is more, one begs to ask of these Tony Marlowes and Peregrine Worsthornes and Paul Johnsons, have the guts to Enquire Within. Ask yourselves what thoughts go through your head when you masturbate. If the physical act and its detail is so much more important to you than love, then see a doctor, but don’t spew out your sickness in column-inches, it isn’t nice, it isn’t kind, it isn’t Christian.
And if the best you can do is quote the Bible in defence of your prejudice, then have the humility to be consistent. The same book that exhorts against the abomination of one man lying with another also contains exhortations against the eating of pork and shell-fish and against menstruating women daring to come near holy places.
It's no good functionalistically claiming that kosher diet had its local, meteorological purposes now defunct, or that the prejudice against ovulation can be dispensed with as superstition, the Bible that you bash us with tells you that much of what you do is unclean: don’t pick and choose with a Revealed Text — or if you do, pick and choose the good bits, the bits that say things like ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’, or ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’.
And please, whatever you do, don’t tell us that what we do, either in love or lust, is unnatural. For one thing if what you mean by that is that animals don’t do it, then you are quite simply in factual error.
There are plenty of activities or qualities we could list that are most certainly unnatural if you are so mad as to think that humans are not part of nature, or so dull-witted as to believe that ‘natural’ means ‘all natures but human nature’: mercy, for example, is unnatural, an altruistic, non-selfish care and love for other species is unnatural; charity is unnatural, justice is unnatural, virtue is unnatural, indeed — and this surely is the point — the idea of virtue is unnatural, within such a foolish, useless meaning of the word ‘natural’.
Animals, poor things, eat in order to survive: we, lucky things, do that too, but we also have Abbey Crunch biscuits, Armagnac, selle d’agneau, tortilla chips, sauce béarnaise, Vimto, hot buttered crumpets, Chateau Margaux, ginger-snaps, risotto nero and peanut-butter sandwiches — these things have nothing to do with survival and everything to do with pleasure, connoisseurship and plain old greed.
Animals, poor things, copulate in order to reproduce: we, lucky things, do that too, but we also have kinky boots, wank-mags, leather thongs, peep-shows, statuettes by Degas, bedshows, Tom of Finland, escort agencies and the Journals of Anaïs Nin — these things have nothing to do with reproduction and everything to do with pleasure, connoisseurship and plain old lust.
We humans have opened up a wide choice of literal and metaphorical haute cuisine and junk food in many areas of our lives, and as a punishment, for daring to eat the fruit of every tree in the garden, we were expelled from the Eden the animals still inhabit and we were sent away with the two great Jewish afflictions to bear as our penance: indigestion and guilt.
- Stephen Fry, Moab Is My Washpot