grout expectations

Ever since I moved back to California, I’ve noticed this weird form of public restroom graffiti which involves inscribing puns based on the word “grout” into the grout around tiles. It looks like this:

In case it’s hard to read, from the top clockwise they say “who let the dogs grout,” “the grout gatsby,” and “grout at the devil.” (Unfortunately, I didn’t get the full one on the left, since I wasn’t all that comfortable standing in a public bathroom trying to compose the perfect shot.) The puns depend largely on either substituting “grout” for “great,” as in “grout expectations” or “grout balls of fire,” or substituting “grout” for a rhyme word, such as “for crying grout loud” or “what you talkin’ grout, willis?”

What’s fascinating about this — and I imagine this is the whole point — is the literal inscription of a pun onto the material from which the pun derives.  But I also sort of appreciate the pure goofiness of it, the implied rejection of more acerbic or vulgar forms of restroom graffiti.

I’ve seen this only in campus men’s restrooms here in California, so I wonder if this is a regional thing. Or only a men’s room thing. Or only a college campus thing. Or some combination of those. Does this happen elsewhere?

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One thought on “grout expectations

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