The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Thirty-Two



From Candace, photos of toilets grace the wall inside the ladies room at Portage Bay in Seattle. (Candace reports the door itself was not exciting.) She saw the sign below at Brower’s Cafe in Seattle.


As a nice contrast to Candace’s toilet photos, I discovered a china cupboard in the ladies room at the Angus Barn in Raleigh, North Carolina. Elegance!


A WC sign Candace photographed at Stateside in Seattle.


She reports that inside the bathroom she discovered the “coolest black toilet & black tile with blue grout.”


From Lois, Zombie Burgers in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

Zombie Burgers

Another from Lois, The Lucky Oyster at Virginia Beach.


Fr0m Judy, these tell-it-like-it-is doors at The Station in Carrboro, North Carolina.



The back of the bathroom door (or should I say barn door?) at Maple View Farm in Hillsborough, North Carolina.


I found this door at Snapper’s Waterfront Cafe and Tiki Bar in Cambridge, Maryland. The bottom of the door featured this Jamaican carving.

And above the carving, a much more demure sign.

From Judy, a public toilet near the Opera in Vienna.


The Starbucks in Vienna Town Center.


And the Shalimar Indian Restaurant in Vienna.



What a selection of creative doors in this, our thirty-second edition, of the Ladies Room Door Art Series. Thank you, potty goers!

Pants! Thank You, Hillary Matzinger



In tenth grade, Hillary Matzinger walked into my English class wearing jeans. No girl wore pants to Towson High School, much less jeans. Mrs. Rhydburg turned Hillary into the office. I’ve wondered to this day why our teacher, younger and a woman herself, felt the need to rat on Hillary.

I don’t remember what transpired next, but by the end of the week, more girls wore pants to school. Soon I did.Thanks to my mom for having no objections.  (Although she did finally hide the baggy blue work shirts I took to wearing with my jeans.)

Our bus stops in Baltimore were freezing cold in the winter. It’s shocking to me now that anyone forced girls to wait for the bus when they were wearing skirts. Even heavy tights couldn’t block the wind.


On to Helen Hulick, in the photo above. In 1938, Helen wore pants to court, was sent away, and returned another day wearing pants again. She was a 28-year-old kindergarten teacher who had witnessed a burglary. On her second court appearance, Helen was taken to jail and put in a prison dress. Although she was sentenced to a five day stay, she was released later that day.

Hundreds wrote letters in defense of Helen’s right to wear pants.  You can read more of the story here.

Thank you Hillary and thank you Helen, for giving a kick in the pants to the powers that be!

Thanks, too, to Amelia Bloomer, who gave  bloomer-like outfits attention in the press in the mid-1880s. Read about Amelia here.


What about you? When did you first wear pants to school?

Read more about the history of women and pants here.

Physicool Rapid Cooling Mist: A Giveaway!



Physicool Rapid Cooling Mist is offering a bottle of their refreshing spray to two lucky Friend for the Ride readers. Read how Phsyicool works to give you a blast of chill in the middle of a hot flash:

Physicool cooling mist uses the same concept of cooling by evaporation to provide cooling relief for menopausal hot flashes, sun burns, bug bites, or simple heat exhaustion.  The formula for the cooling spray has been slightly altered to give cooling relief without the use of a bandage.  Physicool cooling mist can provide relief for menopausal hot flashes by simply spraying the mist on your neck, chest, and/or face.

Physicool Coolant is a fluid made up of alcohols and oils which react to the bodies heat and this causes the alcohols to evaporate. This evaporative process draws heat out of the warmest source – local underlying tissue. Whilst the deep tissue is cooling down the compression will modify the inflammatory response, helping healing and recovery.

Physicool cooling mist is great for sunburns and bug bites, too, and relief starts with a simple spray to the affected area.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a bottle of Physicool Rapid Cooling Mist, enter a comment in the comments sections below before March 15. Thanks!

To Buy Physicool, visit their website here.






Family Feud: The Indian Mother-in-law



A post by writer Gwen Bellinger, an American woman living in India. The story is based on the experiences of friends she’s made there.  Gwen took the photos, but is not identifying the women in order to preserve their privacy, quite important in the Indian culture.

Raveena desperately did not want to get caught. Each evening, after her son returned home from playing cricket with the neighborhood children, the two of them would take a walk. They frequently stopped in the market to share a Coke, and then she’d indulge in not just one, but two plates of pani puri, a popular Indian street snack. Although the entire affair cost less than $1 USD, she warned her son not to mention their evening snack to his grandmother, lest she get upset at Raveena’s frivolous spending on herself and on the boy. The last thing Raveena needed was more criticism from her mother-in-law.


After her arranged marriage, Raveena did as most new Indian brides do: she left her parents and moved into an apartment in Jaipur, fully furnished with husband and mother-in-law. The harassment began immediately. When relatives visited, Raveena acted as their servant while the mother-in-law blatantly ignored her. When Raveena’s husband said he wasn’t hungry, her mother-in-law criticized her for not insisting he eat anyway. Any problems Raveena’s children had in school? Her fault.

The ‘”Indian mother-in-law” is a phenomenon prevalent in soap operas, films, and talk shows. Stereotypically, she openly criticizes her daughter-in-law while coddling her own children. She’s typically seen as over-involved with enormously high expectations. The United States has its own equivalent of the mother-in-law phenomenon. Anyone who watched the television 1996 series Everybody Loves Raymond is familiar with Marie’s ruthless attacks of Deborah’s cooking. Articles like 8 Ways to Deal with Your In-Laws this Holiday Season decorate my Facebook.



Traditionally after marriage, the bride becomes part of the groom’s family and moves into their house. It’s not uncommon for a bride to cry on her wedding day because her family physically leaves her with the groom and his relatives, symbolizing that she is a part of a new family. Before 1990, most middle class homes did not have a phone. Calling was expensive, so Raveena only spoke to her family a few times a year. One woman I know only spoke to her family once in five years, the day her son was born. While this kind of isolation is less common today, it was very real for Raveena’s generation.

While I’ve read horror stories from rural, conservative villages of in-laws treating their daughter-in-law as a servant, changing her first name, even beating her or killing her, the familial problems of the urban class appear to be mostly passive aggressive. The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law gossip and bad-mouth each other. The mother-in-law criticizes the daughter-in-law’s cooking. She is overbearing about how to raise the children. The daughter-in-law comes off as ungrateful. Some people credit this to a competition between the women over the man. One of my friends rationalized that it was the society her grandmother grew up in, and she didn’t want to change her ways.



Of course, the cycle can be broken. Some young brides I know love their mother-in-law. Raveena? She gets along great with her daughter-in-law, and they’ve become fast friends. She and Priya quickly bonded over how much Raveena’s mother-in-law dislikes both of them. Priya doesn’t live in Jaipur with Raveena. She and her husband work together and have their own apartment in Delhi. The couple visits Priya’s family weekly.


India is still a patriarchal society, yet the sub-continent appears to be changing overnight. The rise of feminism in India is apparent in major cities. Women are no longer the keepers of the house. They are in universities and becoming lawyers, doctors, and politicians. People are moving abroad. Cheap calls and internet mean families remain digitally connected. As women move out of the “domestic sphere” and begin to take on traditionally male roles, it will be curious to see how the relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-laws morph in the years to come. Clearly, as Priya found of Raveena, not all Indian mothers-in-law are to feared.



Gwen Bellinger is a freelance writer and editor originally hailing from North Carolina. She moved to Chandigarh, India in August 2015 to work with the Haryana government on a one-year education implementation project. You can follow her travels and adventures abroad at or visit her official website at