female toilet lady lavatory

Every man will tell you that he is fascinated by what goes on in the Little Girl’s Room. Not so much biologically, because after all, we don’t do that do we? But more because through that stick-woman adorned door is a Narnia of gossip and beautifying and pillow fights in our underwear. Or some such.
But even to a self-confessed (and biologically proven) woman such as myself, bathroom etiquette is often equally as fascinating. Just last week, for instance, I stood in a dank bathroom in a nightclub, walls reverberating from the heavy bass as sweat formed droplets on the ceiling and splashed heavily onto the floor. And I was forced to stand there – back to glistening wall – for fifteen minutes until the two cubicle doors opened, and out tumbled six girls.
Six.
Three in each.
These are the type of cubicles you have to reverse into, squat five inches from the seat, and pee whilst holding your vodka tonic aloft in one hand and your handbag just high enough to avoid touching the floor with the other. There’s no way three girls could have fit in one of these cubicles. And yet, using powers only gifted to groups of females in a bathroom, they did, no doubt executing a Cirque du Soleil-esque feat to arrange themselves inside the grimy pen. Fascinating.

During the 20 years following my transition from nappy to potty to full-blown adult lavatory I have witnessed varying degrees of utterly bizarre bog behaviour. ‘Six girls two loos’ is at one end of the scale – the end often accompanied by the consumption of alcohol/narcotics and inhibitions which fall to the floor as quickly as some people’s knickers. The other, tamer, end of the scale is quieter, less scandalous, and involves less toilet paper stuck to the soles of your shoes – but nevertheless is equally as mind-boggling.

With this in mind, may I introduce you to the first stop of my brief journey through The Little Girl’s Room:

The silent visitor

I only encounter these individuals in such places where sobriety is expected. Think: work/funerals/Doctor’s appointments/performing surgery….and so on.

This is how the encounter proceeds:

  • I walk into a bathroom.
  • This makes vibrations in the air which are translated by the human ear into sounds.
  • Some human ears are controlled by owners who like to pretend that they never pass solids.
  • Therefore, a presumably active cubicle suddenly becomes mute as the inhabitant pretends that they, and their distinctively ‘engaged’ door, do not exist.

I have often entered a bathroom purely to apply my face – a process that takes a punchy 9.25 minutes – and not heard a peep from the other person I share the 20 cubic square feet with. I can only imagine they are willing me desperately to leave so they can conduct their business in peace.

Apologies, muted toilet-goer, but there are dark circles to attend to…

Some silent visitors are clever. They shuffle their feet or tear off sheets of Andrex to give the impression of activity, although they do so in their knickers sitting on top of a closed toilet seat desperately praying that they will soon be alone. Often, sniffly noses provide enough noise to distract from a distinct lack of flushing, but it is usually the case that upon leaving the bathroom you hear an audible sigh….
The mirror avoider

The first of a juxtaposing pair.

As you leave a toilet cubicle, feeling pleasantly relieved, you are undoubtedly faced with, well…..your face. Your face, looming large in unforgiving bright lights above the Kimberly Clarke sink you find yourself scrubbing your hands in.
There’s no secret to the fact that if you were alone your cheek would be pressed up against the glass as fingers busied themselves on your skin; prodding and poking and pulling. Hair would be plaited, patted down, pinned up, pulled back. Lips pouted, parted, plumped. All in the comfort that no-one was privy to your temporary moment of blissful narcissism.

However, the strictly enforced ladies’ loo etiquette dictates that the moment you are joined at the sink, you must look down.
Eyes focused on soap-smothered hands, you daren’t barely breathe, let alone nonchalantly check your reflection in the mirror for fear of being instantly and damningly labelled ‘a vain bitch’ (attention males: I’m not making this up, THIS SHIT HAPPENS).
Even if all you wanted to do was fish the spinach out from in-between your front teeth, you would have to attempt to do so blindly (using only your tongue) outside the confines of the loo. Because no-one in their right mind looks at themselves in the mirror in front of strangers in The Little Girls’ Room.

 

The mirror lover

Mirror lovers strut up to the counter and stand in a row with any number from one to as-many-as-you-can-reasonably-fit-in-your-bathroom mirror avoiders. The room is often doused in silence and air freshener. The mirror lover turns the tap on and washes her hands, but does so LOOKING UP. At her FACE. Gasp. Rather than stare intently at her talons, she is freely, and rather confidently, examining her crow’s feet. It’s bizarre, and it’s fundamentally wrong. It is a ladies’ loo social faux pas. She is being glared at from the corner of the mirror avoiders eyes. She is not making any friends here.The opposite of mirror avoiders, and a minority within the female population. We’re sliding from sober territory into tipsy territory here, because only those with naturally low inhibitions (aka pole dancers, strippers, Jodie Marsh), or those who have consumed a significant amount of alcohol/cocaine, would attempt this move.

On the plus side, however, she has extracted all signs of salad leaf from her teeth.

 

Your best friend

 Not your actual best friend. Rather, a complete stranger.

Picture the scene: you’re in a bar. You pop to the loo. There’s a queue. Behind you, a girl falls through the door and her glass full of Sex On The Beach spills on your shoes. She apologies profusely and it is at this point you garner that she has had no less than 6 cocktails already, simply because she has lost the ability to speak. The next 2 minutes passes in a blur as she begins to tell you about her night, then her ex-boyfriend, then her nan’s jelly mould set, then her other ex-boyfriend, then her two-faced best friend, and on and on and on, until the 120 seconds have sped by and have culminated in her sobbing onto your shoulder.

You are less drunk. You pat her once or twice and pull ‘this is awkward’ faces as your fellow loo-attendees. She turns her face to you and says ‘you’re the only person who understands me’, then asks for your number. Honestly, I have had this happen to me. Many a time. It’s an effective pick-up method for a lesbian.

Of course, you are trapped in a confined space with a drunk crying girl. You do what any sane person would do. You do as she says, give her your number, and suddenly you find you have a new best friend.

 

In addition to the above, there are hundreds more ladies’ loos personas, each weirder than the last.

The problem is, at one point in time, 90% of these have no doubt applied to me.

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