It’s Sunday morning at 11am. You’ve just woken up with a pounding headache from way too many margaritas. But they were only $10, how could you resist? You start to get an anxious feeling in your gut. Oh no, did you offend one of your best friends last night? Did you message that girl you’ve been crushing on? You open your Instagram DMs to assess the damage. But instead, you find a message from an Insta handle you don’t recognise, from a girl you met while drunk in the club bathroom.
And then you never speak to them again.
[Quick note: as a cis white woman, it’s important to acknowledge this is a privileged experience. Bathrooms definitely aren’t a safe space for everyone. And if you’re a TERF reading this article, fuck off and grow up.]
Why? The women I’ve met in the toot at 2am have given better advice than my therapist. They were going to be my #BFFS forever! So why didn’t I ever message them again?
Instead, I awkwardly watch their lives unfold on Instagram and Facebook. I know @lady_lucy5000 celebrated her nephew’s 3rd birthday on Sunday and finished her law degree, but if I saw her in real life I would panic and hide.
So, I decided it was time I reached out. Move over Mental Health Plan, my bathroom besties are all I need!
I had a bunch of people on my Instagram and Facebook that I didn’t personally know, and my memory was a little foggy. Did we have a life-changing D&M in the line for the bathroom at Friday’s Riverside Bar (Brisbane represent)? Are they the reason I stopped pining over my toxic ex? Or did we just work on a group project at uni?
It was a mystery, so I decided to send them all cute little messages asking how we met.
(Fun, right? It’s not “a weird thing to do” like my girlfriend said as she sat next to me cringing… right?)
Well turns out it was weird, BECAUSE NO ONE RESPONDED. Not one person! Okay that’s a lie, one girl responded – but it turns out we actually used to play touch football together and I looked like a complete fool for forgetting who she was. Sorry, Jen.
BUT MY BATHROOM SISTERS! MY BFFS! WHY THE REJECTION!? When I was single and dating, I used to get ghosted regularly (I know, weird right?!), but this hurts so much more! I know, I know, I should have messaged you earlier. And maybe it was a little bit of a kooky approach but I thought we shared a connection! Lydia, when you told me that the girl I was crying over “wasn’t worth it and to go back out there, forget her and just fucking dance, babe!” Did that mean nothing to you? Do you say that to everyone you meet?
Reminiscing on Lydia’s wise advice got me thinking, why have club bathrooms become such a safe place for me? What is it about those cubicles that make me feel like I can share my deepest secrets without judgement?
Alcohol obviously plays a huge part in this unfiltered abandonment of truths, but it has to be more than that. Club bathrooms create a heightened sense of community and sisterhood, we should be striving to care for one another like this in everyday life!
So, I asked a bunch of my mates to share their go-to bathroom #bff advice.
“Often when I’d be out and waiting in line for the loo, girls would compliment me on my winged eyeliner so I’d always tell them the trick to a perfect winged eye is to have some cotton tips handy to fix any mistakes. Also don’t waste your money on expensive eyeliners. The best one is a $5 waterproof liquid Essence one you can get from Priceline.” – Hannah
“I did a cull a while ago on social media (sorry besties) but whenever I’m out and drunk I always tell people to consider getting an IUD.” – Jessica
“Whenever I hear women complaining about shitty men I ask if they’ve ever thought about not dating men.” – Tash
“I tell people to consolidate their super, to check if their fund is investing in industries that align with their values and to consider making additional contributions as the compounding effects of the gender pay gap are fucked.” – Courtney
“This one night I was out and this girl was crying in the bathroom over her boyfriend not paying any attention to her, so I grabbed her phone and blocked his number, and told him she wasn’t allowed to say his name or talk to him for the rest of the night. I didn’t see her again but I hope she’s well.” – Christen
“Dump him.” – Leo
We tell our bathroom besties our life stories. I’ve told these people things that my family don’t even know. Do we only do this because we know we will never see them again? Sometimes it feels like a new type of confessional. You wander into the cubicle, and bare your soul across the partition. This is a religion I could get behind!
So let’s make the private room public. Let’s bring this bathroom sisterhood out into the streets! Now I’m not saying get drunk and go into work and scream at your boss that they’re a #GODDESS!, but if you see a stranger who’s having a tough time, reach into that person you are when it’s 1am and you’re having the “BEST NIGHT EVER” and ask them if they’re okay.
Jenna Suffern is a Sydney based comedian. She loves the topic of club bathrooms so much that her and her friends wrote a play about it! It’s called HOT MESS and it’s playing at KXT Theatre from the 9th – 19th of June. Suss ticket info here.