No breasts for our guests

« previous post | next post »

Part of the ensuite bathroom in my room at the Deca Hotel in Seattle has wallpaper on which the decoration is text, in a variety of arty fonts. The text, repeated over and over in a variety of different fonts, is part of a poem. But there's something odd: one word from the poem is missing.

The poem is by Ernest Farrés, and it's a description (translated from Catalan by Lawrence Venuti) of a girl on a train in an Edward Hopper painting, "Compartment C, Car 293, 1938." Here's the part of the poem that appears on the bathroom wallpaper:

Face stern, hair
more or less blonde, eyes
with an inward-looking glint,
skin in the pink, wearing
a stare-till-you’re-bored attitude
in a black dress that hugged her breasts
and a pair of long legs, in good working order,
she looked real swell, sure enough,
and 'independent', as the saying goes.

The word that is missing is breasts in line 6. It just says "a black dress that hugged her".

It seemed very odd to me that the poem should have been redacted in this way. Did the designer really think that in famously liberal Seattle it would be too risky to have the word "breasts" embedded in artistic wallpaper poetry? That some hotel guest might complain? Very peculiar. But there seems to be no other explanation: censored wallpaper.

Comments are closed.