Art, Community, Uncategorized

Behind The Door With The Woman Icon – What Really Goes On In Inner Northern Women’s Bathrooms

February 14, 2018

There’s nothing like a Saturday night out on Brunny street. Whether it’s to grab a fat ol’ feed from Doughnut Time and hide in the car eating in both shame, yet delight; or a classy night out with cheeses and many glasses of wine at Shifty’s before heading to Glamorama. You never know where you’re going to end up, and that’s the nature I love most about the Inner North. That you can start in one bar and end up face first in a HSP at one of the many adored kebab shops in the area, not knowing how you got there or how much money you’ve spent, but just knowing that you’ve had a great night out.

 

That was our plan last weekend. Well, not exactly to that standard. Basically to have a couple of drinks, boogie to some classic sing-along tunes at the building with the creepy baby doll that never fails to have a line: Bimbos. And then, we’d see where the night takes us.

 

We had a few drinks, hit the dance floor for a bit, before the inevitable break the seal moment dawned upon us. Despite how annoying it is to have to pause the fun, often missing out on your favourite song to go pee, there’s something I realised on this particular night out. It came to me that women, whether drunk or sober, in bars or clubs, are always overly supportive of each other. They hold each other’s hand to weave through the crowd to get to the bathroom, share cubicles with their friends to save time, clean up each other’s makeup, swimming down their cheeks with sweat. It’s the home of terrible mirror selfies, of breakdowns and d&ms between strangers, and too-loud personal conversations from cubicle to cubicle. It’s beautiful, it’s gross, and we all don’t care. There’s something so distinct about the kind of women that use bathrooms in clubs or bars within the Inner North. I don’t know if it’s the same for men; I’d actually love to know. For women, there’s just this sense of community. We’re best friend strangers as soon as we step into a room filled with toilets.

 

For one instance, I was once at Shifty’s, wining and cheesing, when this woman who looked as though she was having a fantastic evening, stopped by our table.

‘Girls, I just need to let you know, if you haven’t already, you need to use the bathroom. You will not regret it!’ she insisted.

‘Why?’ we giggled.

‘Who needs to pee?’

‘I mean, kinda,’ I shrugged.

‘Good enough!’ she took my hand and guided me into the bathroom, the walls decorated with sheep munching across a field that looks painted by Bob Ross.

She guided me to stand by the door before promptly shushing me as she stood next to an old-fashioned toilet flusher chain. Behind it sat a contraption holding one of those cow cans that, as she lifted it, mooed.

‘Have a wonderful evening,’ she nodded dramatically and left. I believe it’s quite rare to say that you bonded with a stranger over a cow toy in a trendy cheese and wine bar; but I suppose I just got lucky.

 

This happened to be a great night, in fact, but there are definitely those nights where drinking can truly antagonise the repressed recesses of your mind. Insecurity and doubt, heartbreak and loneliness, it all pops up when we’re supposed to be having the best night, and man, does that suck. The bathroom is home to these tear-stricken episodes, no matter where you go. Even if you are having the best night of your life, occasionally you might sit on the seat and stare blankly at the cubicle door and think, gosh, I’m really missing ______ in my life right now. Whatever problem surfaces, it’s reassuring to know that everyone has dealt with one of those nights, and I realised that as I locked myself in a cubicle at Bimbos last weekend.

The walls were covered in empowering messages – to dispel any negative thoughts before they emerged. Words were inked in my vision, speaking with passion, pain, and relativity. No matter who wrote these messages, they knew that other girls would look and connect to them. And although I was having such a great night out, I did look at these lines of poetry and think, how awful is it that so many girls would’ve experienced these same feelings. More so, I thought, thank God we’re here to save one another. Yes, perhaps they’re a cry of feminist frustration. They may be there to reassure the girls who have no one else to sob to in the bathroom. To me, it felt like that revolution of support. That competition between us females should be flushed away. We need to inspire each other, commune together against immorality. That the influence of men shouldn’t dictate how we feel about ourselves, nor change our ideal version of ourselves. Even messages as random as love our dogs because we don’t deserve them! Spoke wonders to me.

The art across those walls were so empowering, and I think I said, far too confidently, ‘Oh my God, I love supportive women!’

Which may have sounded a bit strange for whoever was on the other side of my cubicle.

The inspiration fulfilled me to continue on to have a fantastic night. To those Inner Northern female artists and writers, thank you for being there in the most mentally vulnerable destination of a night out. Bimbos, thank you for supporting those stranger’s voices painted across those walls.

 

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