What Actually Happens In Women’s Bathrooms


It’s no secret that women and bathrooms have a special relationship. We like to go in groups, stay in there for about two rainy seasons, and often come out an entirely different person. No matter what anyone tells you, never believe that that little room with the W on the door is anything less than the insane study in behavioral psychology that it is. Jane Goodall could have easily built a makeshift hut in the back of one and come out with findings no less interesting or revealing. And no bathroom is more of a circus than that of a busy bar or club on a Friday night. The stakes are high, the girls have been drinking, the line is long, things are going to happen. For those of you that haven’t had the privilege of seeing one for yourself, here are a few of the more choice bleach-scented realities.

  • The lines are Soviet bakery long- There are really only two reasons that women go to the bathroom in small groups/duos, and one of them is that it’s nice to have someone to talk to while you’re standing awkwardly, trying not to touch every wet surface, and often spilling out into the hallway as you wait for one of the three stalls to open up and service the dozens of women who’ve just chugged three gin and tonics. If you do go it alone, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have an awkward, stilted conversation/head nodding session with the girl next to you about how long this line is. Imagine a conversation about the weather, only much less engaging.
  • People are talking shit- This is the other reason that women go in multiples. Just so you know, fellas, any time you go out with girls and they retire to the bathroom together, they are having one of two conversations about you:

“He is so hot, like, Ryan Gosling in the bearded, middle thirty minutes of The Notebook hot. I normally don’t go for facial hair like that, but he could so get it tonight if he wanted to.”

“I think he’s trying to get with me… he can’t possibly think I’m into him, can he? I don’t know, what do you think? Ugh, you have to save me. Can you take one for the team, please? Say you stepped on a rusty nail in here and we have to go to the hospital. Or something.”

These conversations generally make up the light, effervescent din that fills women’s bathrooms like a fine dust.

  • Someone is crying- I know, I know, it’s a cliche at this point to point out women crying in public. But oh, God, is it ever true. There is, without fail, one girl against the wall with a light blend of tears and mascara running down her ruddy cheeks, barely eking out a semi-coherent but universally understood, “I just…I just don’t know what to do anymore, you know?” while her poor, poor friend runs through a list of The View-style affirmations and tries to pretend like she’s not holding in about 7 beers’ worth of pee.
  • There is some bitch glaring and typing away on her phone- It is a staple of any bar/club, the girl who spends the entire night (never more so than when pressed against the bathroom wall), looking at everyone with the hate of a thousand suns in her face and mashing her keys with a vengeance. She is so over it, she doesn’t like you, she doesn’t like your shoes, and there’s a 93 percent chance she’s also the girl who, when politely offered to be bought a drink by a poor, unsuspecting man, will treat him as though he just yelled racial slurs and farted directly into her purse.
  • Vomit! Vomit! Vomit!- Someone is puking. A given for every bathroom, but yet somehow so much more beautiful when done by ladies at a bar. Leaving all sense of dignity or shame behind, women will unabashedly ralph their small intestines out as two of their best friends stand by for moral support (?) and look at everyone who walks by as though they are bursting into her home bathrooms and videotaping her in the shower. The very same women who would rather fall on a sword than take a poop in a public bathroom, even a completely empty one, are ready and willing to hit that perfect combination of Red Bull and Lemon Drops that will leave them with liquid pouring freely out of every facial orifice.
  • There is a Christ figure walking around with some Windex- The true martyrs of our time, the women who are left, on a nightly basis, to pay for the myriad sins of the human race, are without a doubt the women’s bathroom cleaning ladies in a bar. Left trying to scoot around every manner of drunk, unaccommodating woman to feebly attempt to pick up sanitary napkins and empty constantly overfull trash bins, they look upon the bazaar of the bathroom with the same hopeless, solemn, thousand-yard stare that I imagine POWs must bear on their more bleak days.
  • Screw this three-square-inch mirror, I have makeup to put on- Let me tell you, there is nothing more hilarious than seeing the makeup-and-hair combination that, while looking like something out of a Victoria’s Secret catalog on the dance floor, looks like a raccoon on its third day post-being flattened by a car in the harsh light of the bathroom. Thank you, most dive bars, for installing fluorescent lights in your WCs and therefore giving us all a humbling reminder that we are, in fact, not as hot as we think. And the furtive, almost desperate adjustment of all that is cosmetic in front of a mirror an infant would have a hard time using is made all the more wonderful by the knowledge that, when they return to the blacklight-and-fog-filled mess of a dance floor, they will look exactly the same as before. Strobe lights, the great equalizer.

So there you have it. Women go into the bathroom together, and it takes a while, but it could be worse. All things considered, we’re actually pretty timely. We usually share stalls with our friends to save time, and if you still want to complain, we would be happy to wait for individual ones. We will then be spending approximately 27 minutes in the bathroom for every hour out on the town, if my calculations are correct.

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image – ©iStockphoto.com/Nathan Watkins