You’re a grown-ass woman, so you are familiar with the literature and therefore aware of an important fact. You know it, I know it, Al Roker DEFINITELYknows it: everybody poops. And everybody pees and everybody sometimes just goes into the bathroom because they were in a really boring conversation and didn’t know how else to leave so muttered something about checking their make up and ran away to hide for a bit. The bathroom is a place we all go and man, sometimes us ladies can get really worked up about it. Well, stress no longer! Whether it’s your bathroom, his bathroom, the work bathroom or whatever happens between midnight and 2 am to a bar’s bathroom that makes it that gross swamp mess you find right before you leave, we are going to get through this, together.
An important Pee-S.A.
“Okay, ladies, tell me if this has ever happened to you. Ladies? Where my ladies at? You know when you go into the bathroom and you just need to pee or like, change a tampon or something—periods, ladies, you with me?—and there’s just a million girls in front of the mirror taking selfies and gossiping about some guy that has been COMPLETELY checking out their friend Elizabeth all night? She knows what I’m talking about, YES. Ladies. Don’t be those girls! No one likes those girls! You don’t need to all crowd into one stall just because one of you has had too many ciders and needs to go. Leave some space for those of us who need to actually get to it! Like, have your club meeting back at your comfortable table where everyone has a seat and it doesn’t smell like hand sanitizer and pee! I know you did your make up before you left the house, so why is there a tiny Clinique counter happening where I’m trying to wash my hands? It’s called HYGIENE, maybe you’ve heard of it? Oh, he definitely has. Where you from, sir?” —my 1980s “men and women are different” stand up comedy routine but also an important truth about bathrooms.
Do not trust the mirrors
Just ignore any problems with your reflection you see in a public bathroom. (Unless we’re talking weird stains or something, then Tide-to-Go that shiz and carry on.) The lighting is bad, the mirrors are set weird, and the colour schemes often leave much to be desired. Instead of looking in the mirror, why not ask anyone else in there if your hair is okay? It is a little-known fact that women in the bathroom are obligated by law to tell other women that they look amazing, no matter what. There is a 2am-and-later sub-clause that also stipulates any woman asking another woman how she looks post-2 is now that woman’s best friend. On a related note: love you, Tanya! So glad we met, and I can’t believe we have Sneaky Dee’s to thank for it!!!!
Treat every bathroom like it’s your bathroom
I do NOT mean walk into it with no pants on and then pee with the door open. I mean keep it how you would like your bathroom to be in an ideal world. This means none of the following behaviour: leaving droplets on the seat, discarding of your tampons just wherever, not flushing, throwing toilet paper around like an excited tween at a bully’s house on Halloween, barfing and walking away like that didn’t just happen, picking fights with strangers, judging other people in there just trying to deal with totally natural bodily functions, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. I do not know what makes regular, polite, clean women become inconsiderate gross nightmare people about shared bathrooms, but let’s just agree to QUIT IT, okay? One time in Italy I went through a door marked “Toilet” and it led to a fenced-in hole in the ground that was only fenced-in on three sides. Are you hearing me here? Three wooden sides and one casually open, free-to-the-world side surrounding some dirt with two GRIP MARKS for your feet. 99.99% of the city’s bathrooms are better than that so treat them with some respect. While I’m pretty sure an Italian wood pigeon was responsible for taking care of that other one, real people are in charge of cleaning these bathrooms that you are strewing your personal waste all over, and others want to use it later. Keep it together.
There is no shame in wanting a little privacy while going to the bathroom, especially not if you’re “dropping the kids off at the pool” (incidentally the WORST euphemism in the entire English language, and hopefully the last time the phrase is ever used) at a significant other’s house or your workplace. I personally believe stall bathrooms at work should be illegal, but since they remain fairly ubiquitous it is important to remember that unrolling toilet paper and coughing does not really cover up any noises and everyone knows what you are up to in there so just go for it and quit pretending. Also, do not gossip from inside a stall, you will get caught. That is not just for teen movies. One time I caught someone talkin’ trash on me while they were peeing and honestly, it was kind of cool to be like “Oh, hi” afterwards but I could tell they did not think so.
Shit literally happens and so do smells, let’s all move on
Smells are actually a positive sign and apparently mean that your gut is super efficient/good at its job. Great for your abdominal cavity, not so great for your housemates/family/co-workers/the person sitting beside the bathroom on your long-haul flight. However, I feel like you can’t hold it against someone if there’s a bad smell in the bathroom, and it’s important to remember that they probably don’t feel great about it either. “UGH, gross, Sarah, you made the bathroom smell disgusting!” is rarely met with “I know, go me! Feeling good and loving life!!!”, you know what I mean? The other day at a bar I complained that the restroom reeked and a tiny voice from a stall that I had thought was unoccupied whispered “…sorry,” and I died and resolved never to whine about a totally natural byproduct of a totally natural process again, and also laughed for a hundred years because COME ON, I’m only human.
If you’re looking for important tips to take from the boy scouts, do not go with neckerchiefs. If washing your hands and/or using toilet paper is really important to you, you might want to consider carrying some hand sanitzer and kleenex with you, because not all bathrooms are restocked equally. Stash a few tampons in your purse even if you’re not on your period if you want to feel like someone’s actual hero for a few seconds when some poor sister gets caught out sans O.B.
Sometimes you gotta do the city, and sometimes you gotta poo the city, nah’mean?
Follow Monica on twitter: @monicaheisey