Behind Closed Doors - The Ladies Rooms
Let’s face it-there are certain things that only us womenfolk are able to experience or understand, you know the sort of thing, the need for vast numbers of shoes for example or the reason we possess ten lipsticks all the same colour, and why it takes us hours to pick a dress yet less than five seconds to choose which chocolate we are going to devour from a tin of Roses Chocolates. It also struck me how we have the ability to make even the most mundane visits to the ladies room an extraordinary source of information and social occasion. How often have I been privy (excuse the pun) to boyfriend break ups, tears, tantrums and traumas in the ladies room? Often the powder room is the source of much gossip and bitching (who knows who is sitting in the far cubicle ear wigging?)
I recently overheard a conversation between the cubicles next to me at the recent Nottingham Pulse Festival which amused me
“I can’t believe Barbara isn’t wearing any knickers” said one Brummy accent. “Yes I know made me feel quite nauseous“was the response. Only to hear the aforementioned and evidently knickerless Barbara bang on the door and ask how they all knew and had they told anyone. On another somewhat urgent visit to the loo at the Light Bar I was left bewildered by the loud conversation in the queue. Two somewhat tipsy twenty something’s were audibly concerned at the prospect of removing what they described as their “fat sucking pants” in order to use the facilities. It took some moments for me to understand that “fat sucking pants” were the slang term for the latest line of lingerie for women in order to lift bottoms and disguise love handles-literally sucking in, smoothing and disguising any overspill reducing the chances of the muffin top but not terribly comfortable to wear. The problem being (apparently) is they are extremely difficult to get on and off with any sort of speed-all very disabling when there is an urgent bathroom visit on a pub crawl. As I sat there listening to these distressed females battling with their undies I tried to envision how our men folk would handle “fat sucking pants” in an attempt to disguise protruding beer bellies lets say. Imagine if you will, the cries of agony at the saga of hoisting them up and down during frequent visits to the “crapper” (yes men have their own less glamorous lingo for the loo too) the trauma of such frequent visits especially since beer is usually the preferred tipple. The amplified groans of despair as their nether regions became compressed, lifted and hoisted in an attempt to look slimmer? No it just wouldn’t happen would it? Because most men-lets face it- would certainly never put themselves through such pain, indignity and discomfort. Rather, there is almost a sense of pride in having a rotund belly; I have even witnessed the patting of paunches with some sort of fondness and pride.
In the meantime the “fat sucking pant” girls having successfully managed to help each other to pull up their resistant lingerie departed the toilet slimmer and trimmer having but apparently slightly breathless and with the traditional piece of loo roll trailing from their left shoe leaving me to wonder if the days of the tight corset and fainting maidens really had past?
But I digress; rather let me ask our lady readers, how often do toilet visits descend into cosmetic, fashion and hair discussions? Recently while travelling I had an audience of several female tourists watch in awe as I applied my liquid eye liner and eye lash curlers and before long we were all sharing tips on makeup techniques and the best mascara-they in broken English, me in various degrees of sign language and gestures. Further back I recall in the early 80s at a mod do in Watford hosting an impromptu dancing class in the ladies room -egged on by some younger 14 year olds anxious to learn “60s style moves” they had seen me do on the dance floor. My boyfriend, thinking I was unwell, sent in a search party after thirty minutes of waiting only to find us all twisting and shimmying our way across a grubby tissue strewn floor.
Take a moment if you will, to remember the lovely toilet attendants in rather more posher establishments and hotels who armed with copious bottles of perfumes and deodorants offer us some sort of refreshment for an agreed tip. I paused to talk to one pleasant woman in London’s finest loo and remarked knowingly in a nudge nudge wink wink sort of way “I bet you see and hear a lot in here don’t you?” She looks skyward and with a deep sigh whispers “You have no ideahow embarrassing it can be, and pointing to the last cubicle she added “last night there were two people having sex in there-they made such a racket you wouldn’t believe (but I got a great tip for turning a blind eye” Little wonder she had added condoms to her “shop” next to the Tic Tacs and Gucci fragrance.
So next time when you wonder why oh why does it take your lady friends so much longer in the loo than men yes its partly due to the fact we are doing our hair and make up and squeezing our rear ends into fat pants but mostly its because we are having a whale of a time planning our weeks social calendar and are very likely talking about you…