Gendered Elimination?

Since my last few posts have been about creatures taking their pants off, a look at this shaker set seems appropriate:

toiletsAs a set, they have an interesting binary-oppositional relationship.  I’m tempted to suggest that they replicate the insistence of the shaker miniverse on dividing things into opposite pairs: salt and pepper, black and white, male and female.  They might be doing so in this case by suggesting a gender opposition:  one of the object depicted is used, usually, only by males, and the other is depicted in a position that makes it convenient for females.  And in that way, they might represent the common tendency in shaker sets of distinguishing the two components of each set in terms of gender: by dressing one cute bear in a blue shirt and the other in a pink dress, for instance.

The objects depicted in this set, however, are not wearing dresses or shirts (although, as a hardened veteran spectator of the salt and pepper miniverse, I can all too easily imagine someone producing a set that did show cute toilets in clothing and with smiley faces).  So maybe I’m just imposing that whole gender thing on this set.  After all, if you’ve decided to depicted plumbing fixtures that aid in human elimination in a salt and pepper shaker set, are there really any other choices of two objects to depict?  I can’t think of any offhand–it’s hard to imagine how you might go about depicting a hole dug in the floor of the forest.   Perhaps you could include an old-fashioned outhouse?  So maybe the manufacturer of this set, having chosen to do sanitary facilities, was merely lucky enough to be confronted with just two possibilities, one of which is usually associated with males and one which isn’t, a difference which then makes them suitably oppositional enough to act as subjects for tabletop containers of salt and pepper.

I am, once more, taken aback by the idea that you might get some pleasure out of putting miniature representations of sanitary facilities on your dinner table.  A momento mori sort of reminder of our essentially animal nature, perhaps?  Nor do I get the pleasure of symbolically shaking the contents of a toilet and/or a urinal on your food.  It somehow seems to be implying a reversal of the usual order in which the processes of eating and digestion take place. You put what was once food and rink into toilets and urinals; you don’t usually put what was once food and has now been deposited in toilets and urinals on food.  And call me an old-fashioned conservative, but really, why would you even want to?

For a Spicy Experience, First Take the Pants Off

Here’s a little guessing game.  This is a salt or pepper shaker:
blob man

So what do you think its companion shaker might be?  I suspect that most people would guess the other part of this pair would be another similarly doughy creature–possibly, in the light of the associations between salt and pepper and black and white, a black doughy creature.

In point of fact, however, the other shaker turns out to be an item of clothing.  In my last post, I described a set of shakers depicting somebody taking his pants off.  This time, it turns out, we’re dealing with a creature who has his or her pants off already.  And I know that because the other shaker is its pants:

blob pantsThe pants are much too big for the little guy, and indeed, with the set stacked as intended, as in the photo above, it actually seems that what the creature is doing is standing in an oddly-shaped barrel.  But the set was sold in a box identifying it as Salt & Pants.   That black barrel-like thing is, really, supposed to be a pair of pants, as can be confirmed by various web pages currently selling this set:

salt and pants

As the copy in this offering from suggests “This spicy little guy dispenses salt from the top of his head and he’s got something special in his trousers… pepper!”

Salt & Pants is the kind of shaker set known to collectors as stackers or, more specifically, nesters:  The salty guy fits onto, or actually, into the pants.  You can, then, actually put the creature into the pants–dress the creature up just like a little doll.  Or, if your pleasure tends more in the opposite direction, you can start with the pants on and then remove the creature from them.  Actually, come to think of it, and as the Perpetual Kids ad copy suggests, you have to separate the creature from its pants in order to help yourself to pepper–maybe even salt.  So this set then consists of what Robin Bernstein calls scriptive things”  that imply a strangely salacious script of actions for those who might choose to use them to season their food: an act of depantsing.  You don’t get to experience the pepper without first removing the clothing.  Such is life.

My thanks to Asa Nodelman for the recent addition of this set to my collection.