March 19, 2008 / 3:26 PM / 12 years ago

Portuguese mall livens up loos with racy mannequins

A man uses a public lavatory decorated with female mannequins at Sao Joao da Madeira shopping center in northern Portugal in this March 13, 2008 picture. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

SAO JOAO DA MADEIRA, Portugal (Reuters Life!) - You might be surprised to come across a scantily clad model in a public bathroom, but shoppers at Portugual’s Eight Avenue mall in Sao Joao da Madeira are beginning to like it.

Spread across the mens’ and ladies’ bathrooms, mannequins scantily dressed stand in suggestive poses as visitors meet them, first with shock, then with a smile.

The plastic mannequins have turned out to be one of the shopping center’s main attractions in this northern Portuguese city, traditionally considered a conservative region.

“People find it really funny, everybody wants to come and see it, and sometimes we see husbands blocking the men’s bathroom so that their wives can have a look inside,” said shopping center manager Jose Duarte.

In the men’s bathroom, women mannequins dressed either in lingerie or in fashion outfits pose in different positions behind a glass wall where the urinals are placed, causing somewhat of a disturbance to users.

“At first, when we walk in, we’re a little shocked, but it’s certainly modern and spectacular,” said customer Sergio Pereira.

The male models who stare out of glass galleries in the womens’ bathrooms have also been a hit.

“It’s certainly something different and I find it suggestive, which is pleasant,” said Maria da Luz, after a visit to the ladies’ room.

The Eight Avenue, which opened in September last year, has other distinctive marks, such as big armchairs spread across the building and special parking places for women drivers and big families.

Reporting by Ruben Bicho, editing by Paul Casciato

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