The story behind McDonald’s golden arches is one you wouldn’t expect

Considering that most of us have been going to McDonald’s since before we can remember, the logo — including those golden arches— is something we pretty much take for granted. But now that McDonald’s is turning those arches upside down in honor of International Women’s Day, we can’t help but wonder: What do McDonald’s arches mean?

As it turns out, the arches weren’t always part of the logo. According to The Daily Meal, in the fast food chain’s early days, they were simply an architectural feature that made the building look more interesting. There was an arch on each side, and they definitely weren’t connected. But over the years, the shape morphed into something different. In the 60s, the company was looking for a new logo, and after designer Jim Schindler realized the arches on the building looked like an M from a certain angle, they decided to connect them to represent the first letter in McDonald’s. Kinda interesting, huh?

Of course, there’s also a rumor that McDonald’s arches mean something a little more…risqué.

In the book Fast Food Nation, author Eric Schlosser wrote that a consultant named Louis Cheskin thought the arches looked like boobs, which would subliminally attract customers to the restaurant on the principle that sex sells. So there’s that.

But regardless of that more scandalous story, and no matter the reason behind the M, turning those golden arches into the company’s logo was a pretty smart move. They’ve become truly iconic, and it’s impossible to see them without craving McNuggets. Just try. We dare you.

So next time you’re grabbing some fries, take a second to enjoy that pretty yellow symbol. But if you can’t take the time to appreciate the arches when there are fries to be eaten, the arches will probably understand. Those fries are really good.