No sooner had we walked into our charming Amsterdam apartment, than we noticed a decor element that was slightly out of the ordinary. Almost all vacation rentals — at least the ones I stay in — feature at least one tragic decorating decision. Scented potpourri. A few too many duck decoys. A vase full of feathers.
Obviously people have different tastes, and these small details don’t detract from our pleasure. We just… notice them.
This time, the discordant item was what we came to refer to as “the giant pink penis lamp”. Now. I know I have a little bit of a reputation for hyperbole, so I’m including a picture to prove that, for once, I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to include anything in the photo for size reference, but this thing is at least three feet tall.
We were mystified.
This is a really nice apartment — very classy, and in a great location. If you haven’t done so already, go to the website and look at the pictures. Since the lamp was tucked in the bedroom behind a chair in the corner, I decided that it must have been left behind by a bachelorette party and overlooked by the housekeepers. My theory was confirmed by the “XXX” printed down the
shaft, I mean side.
I amused myself by sending a picture of it to my husband and then put it mostly out of my mind.
The next day, while my kids and I were trying to thread our way through the omnipresent Amsterdam bicyclists, my daughter stopped in her tracks. Naturally my son and I ran into her like a three-car pileup in rush hour traffic. “Oh!” she exclaimed, “I know what the lamp is.”
Lining the street were dozens of steel traffic bollards. I have since learned from Wikipedia that they are called Amsterdammertjes, which is Dutch for “little ones from Amsterdam” (you can’t make this stuff up). The three Xs on the side don’t denote pornography — on the contrary! They are Saint Andrew’s crosses from the coat of arms of Amsterdam. Of course!
Obviously pink was an unfortunate color for the lamp, though in all honestly, they don’t look that much less like a circumcised penis in blue, white, and brown. They do keep cars from parking on the sidewalk though, so that’s something.
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