Rattle Rattle


Okay, first of all, how old were you when you learned not to try to open a locked bathroom door when somebody’s inside? Three? Seriously, dude, it’s a locked bathroom door.

And second, maybe equally creepy, that expression on his face at the thought of seeing Janis shaving her legs. Even if we’re talking about Brazilian. Still. She’s shaving her legs. Is this some sort of fetish? Has she been deliberately denying him the opportunity to see her shaving her legs for the last 30-odd years so he’d build it up in his mind as the ultimate erotic experience?


  1. With the standard lock integrated into an American interior doorknob(*), he would not be able to tell that the door is locked until he tries to twist the knob. Despite the second “rattle”, I don’t think predatory creepiness is intended. Arlo is simply amused by the fact that she is still trying to conceal the fact that she shaves. The joke could just as easily been based on her coloring her hair, which was once a more common concealment issue for some women.
    P.S. (*) – German doors have handles instead of knobs, so the lock is alway separate. On most bathroom doors, there is an exterior indicator that shows whether the door is locked. In private homes, the slot on the indicator doubles as an emergency method to unlock the door from the outside.

  2. I was taught that if a bathroom door is closed, you knock, you don’t try to get in. Precisely what the person is doing in there is irrevelent and none of my business.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bathroom door in a private home with an “occupied” indicator. What I’ve seen that the light switches (which are always outside of the bathroom, due to grievously outdated building codes) have a light to indicated that the light in the bathroom is on, implying that someone is in there.

  4. British bathrooms (well, certainly those with baths & showers in, not so sure about toilet-only cubiroomlets) aren’t allowed to have a rocker-type switch inside. But lots of places, including mine, have pull cords dangling from the ceiling.

    Our single-knob bathroom doors do have a slot you can put a coin into to unlock it from the outside if the person inside has collapsed/drowned etc., and as the slot lines up differently according to whether the door is locked or unlocked, you can in principle tell whether it is locked or not… though as this slot is on a slant, not either horizontal or vertical, it is had to remember.

    In any case, best to knock if the door is closed. People may not bother locking the door for a quick slash, for instance.

  5. I was in Germany 15 years ago and I don’t recall any “occupied” indicators on the bathrooms. The weird airlock doors, yes.

    As alluded to above, modern electrical codes include what we Americans call Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) and Europeans Residual Current Devices (RCD), which make switches in bathrooms for any practical purpose totally safe. Except the one for my own bathroom outlet is stuck, I have to get it replaced.

  6. @ DemetriosX – I didn’t mean the “red/white” indicator seen on virtually all public bathrooms and toilet stalls, just that for bathrooms in private residences, the end of the bolt that turns to lock the door is usually visible from the outside. If the slot on it is horizontal, the door is locked; if the slot is vertical, it’s open. If a little kid has locked itself inside, the slot can be turned with a coin.
    Just as narmitaj described, the light switch is normally outside the bathroom. Our switches have an indicator light that can be configured to turn on either when the light is on (sort of useless), or when it’s off (better, since it doubles as a mini night light).

  7. Interesting (to me) is that all replies so far have been about the light/doorknob, NOT the ‘shaving her legs being erotic’ aspect . . . I wonder what that says about CIDUers?

  8. P.S. @ carlfink – Ground fault circuit breakers are required for all new construction in Germany (our house was built in 1997 and has one), but the customary placement of bathroom light switches hasn’t caught up with the technology.
    P.S. The red/white door indicators have become very common (in public places), and are impossible to miss. The “slot” indicator on private doors is less universal, but so subtle that it can pass unnoticed if you aren’t looking for it.

  9. @ Andréa – It’s possible that the resident gentlemen were simply being gallant, but it’s more likely that we’re all so old that we don’t think of such things in those terms. (For what it’s worth, that kind of shaving is less common in Germany than in the US).

  10. “(For what it’s worth, that kind of shaving is less common in Germany than in the US)”

    So Kilby gets a pass, for the Germany thing, not the “we’re all so old” thing.

  11. Has it been established whether in the Arlo household it is normal to lock the bathroom door? Or even close it? If the normal is not to care, then a locked door would be a weird thing, and Arlo picking and teasing at it would be more understandable: what, for everything else, you don’t care, but for this one thing, suddenly you go all secret agent on me?

  12. “Seriously, dude, it’s a locked bathroom door.”

    In panel 1, it’s just a closed bathroom door. In panel 2, it’s a locked bathroom door.

    I don’t think Arlo’s expression in panel 4 expresses an erotic intent. He’s just curious, and prone to whimsy.

  13. We have a master bathroom off the master bedroom. Both have a door. It is possible Janice has closed and locked the bedroom door and Arlo is trying to get into the bedroom, not the bathroom.

  14. I think Arlo has brought Janis refreshments when she was in the bath, so the door wasn’t locked for that.

  15. Arlo always likes to get a chance to see Janis without any clothes on. Janis is not totally secure about her own beauty and does not want to be seen in the bathroom without any clothes on.

  16. Andréa, didn’t the original post question the “erotic” nature of a woman shaving her legs?

    I personally don’t understand either Arlo’s fascination or Janis’s horror.

  17. I don’t think Arlo necessarily thinks it’s erotic. I think he’s just amused that Janis is so protective of this action. (And that she’s managed to hide it all these years.)

  18. Perhaps the male contingent here doesn’t think of a woman shaving her legs as potentially erotic because they have never seen it happen. Picture any standard ladies’ razor commercial…A woman in nothing but a towel (or two- one for the hair), with one foot on the side of the tub… the shaving implement being slowly moved up the leg all the way to the towel which discreetly covers the model’s nether regions….which might be glimpsed if one were in the proper place. She may also need to do some lady-scaping, which logically happens while mowing the legs. Now, consider that few women shave their legs AFTER they shower, so most of use are au natural when the event occurs. Proof advertisers use sex to sell everything.

  19. “That’s only because Janice always uses Dagwood’s magic opaque bathtub water.”

    Be careful what you suggest… Dagwood and Blondie and Arlo and Janis are probably neighbors. (We know that Hi and Lois live in A&J’s neighborhood.)

  20. I can’t claim extensive experience, but women I have known did shave after showering. Hot water softens hair, which is the reason I myself shave after showering when using a blade (as opposed to an electric razor).

  21. There are products like a supposedly non-steam-up mirror surface (and not dangerous breakable glass!) made to be mounted on a shower wall or shower-caddy, at face levels, for people who want to shave (their faces) while still in the shower.

  22. “a light to indicated that the light in the bathroom is on, implying that someone is in there”

    Doesn’t visible light under the door give you the same information?

  23. Bill, see my comment upthread about my visit to Germany. Bathroom doors there have an airlock-like seal, the door fitting tightly into a sort of socket in the doorframe. At least, when I was there most doors in public spaces did.

  24. @ Bill – I think what carlfink is recalling is that German doors usually have an additional “flange” all the way around three sides of the inside face of the door (not on the bottom edge, of course). This means that in the closed position, the cross-section of the door-to-frame “seal” doesn’t look like an “L” (as it does on an American door); instead, it has an extra “leg”, forming a three-section zigzag “└┐”. Some door frames do include a provision for a rubber gasket, making the result nearly (but of course not entirely) airlock-worthy.
    The bottom edge of the door does not have a flange or gasket, but there is almost always a rail covering the floor seam on the threshold directly below the door. The arrangement is often carefully adjusted so that it does not actually “scrape”, but so that it does strongly minimize whatever air might lead to any drafts. In some cases this is done so well that the amount of escaping light is minimal to none.
    P.S. @ MiB – Germans do not do this so that they can smell who “dealt” anything. The reason for it is simple: they have an extremely strong aversion to “drafts”. I’ve never encountered forced-air heating in any private home here; almost all German houses use radiators, the rest (a very small minority) have heated floors.

  25. Here’s my take- it’s well established that Janis is nonplussed (even flattered) when Arlo walks in her bath to offer refreshments.. Arlo hears the bathtub water running and assumed Janis was once again in the bath. Arlo is amused that she feels shaving her legs is some terribly private/embarrassing act even though to most men it would not be considered so.

  26. DemetriosX – Other than some odd public bathrooms, I have never seen a light switch on the outside of a bathroom and light up switches are just as rare. The one place I know of with the light switches outside the bathroom is a muzzle loader gun store in PA.

    n the other hand, I have been seeing more of the locks Kilby mentioned that when one turns them it shows on the outside if the toilet is occupied or not outside the house, mostly in Asian buffet restaurants – and the pizza restaurant mom and I seem to go to after I take her to the doctor. (I just thought of something – when I say it like that it sounds like a parent taking their child to the doctor – do I have to give her a lollipop for being good for the doctor? 🙂 )

    The light would not show under our bathroom doors Bill as the wooden door jambs (?) fits too tightly towards the door. Similarly light does not show around the edge due to the molding around the door.

    I shaved my legs twice when I was young and my mom said I should. I have found that by leaving them alone, nothing grows on them and they have since remained hairless – some 50 years later.

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.