You know how Rachel Maddow sometimes ends her show with a segment called "Best New Thing in the World"? Maybe we could call this "Worst New Thing in the World." The horror, the horror of exposing children, children, to the misogynist message of these old-timey bar signs.
Are they in "good taste"? No. Are they even funny? Nah, not really. Are they inappropriate in the year 2015? Probably. Are they disgusting enough to warrant a big public hullabaloo, outcry, and boycott? C'mon, lady, it's just a bleeping sign in a bleeping bar.
The lady, by the way, is Madrona resident Kelli Christensen. The bar is the newly opened Madrona Arms at the corner of 34th and E. Union, an address that was, for two decades, home to the Madrona Ale House. The new owner, Belfast-born Peter Johnson, owns similar pubs in Madison Park (McGilvra's), the U-District (Finn McCool's), and Capitol Hill (The Chieftain). They're neighborhood taverns whose success depends on hitting exactly the right spot of menu, price point, decor, and service.
So when Ms. Christensen showed up to scout the Madrona Arms for a lunch date with a friend recovering from a mastectomy, she was horrified: she saw the signs as objectifying women, especially women's breasts. Sensitive to her friend's medical history, overly sensitive perhaps, she complained. To the manager and on Facebook. After all, the Madrona Arms is an all-ages establishment and children, children, were being exposed to these images as well.
A no-brainer for Johnson; he had the signs taken down. "We're not in the business of offending people," he told me. A tweak to satisfy a neighbor and avert conflagration; that's part of what customers expect. But what's next? A sign at the door warning of potential risks inside, like nitrates in the sausage, sodium in the pizza sauce, alcohol in the beer, carcinogens on the grilled steak, crude humor on the wall?
My sense, no disrespect, is that Ms. Christensen should think about lunch a block away, at the Hi-Spot Cafe. They've got a similar Reuben sandwich (watch out for nitrates, though). She's probably okay if she sticks to the Emerald Blossom Green Jasmine tea, but remember that the OJ contains sulfites.
But just how much accommodation should a patron expect? The world's a dangerous place, full of gluten, full of terrorists.