October 9, 2016

What we can All Learn from Drunk Girls in Bathrooms.

The Sweetest Thing trailes screenshot

I think it’s commonly known amongst women that the staunchest support we will probably ever receive will be from drunk girls in bathrooms.

Any woman who has ever been drunk in a ladies’ room knows this. Now I’ve never been drunk in a men’s restroom. (I wonder if this is something that I should put on my single bucket list. Maybe not. No, any shenanigans that go on must be in the far cleaner ladies’ room.) But I digress.

While I’ve never been drunk in a men’s restroom, I imagine it’s a world away from the support found in the adjoining ladies’ room at your local watering hole. For some reason, alcohol is a substance that bonds us like no other. I don’t know that I’ve ever received a similar outpouring of support outside the confines of the ladies’ room. It’s pretty intense.

Several months ago I found myself drunk in a ladies’ room at an establishment that proffered adult beverages. Doesn’t that sound sophisticated? The truth is, I found myself drunk in the bathroom of a bar. Well, it was more like a bar at a strip club, to be exact. But again, I digress. Still, I found myself in the ladies’ room with several other women of varying degrees of inebriation. I wasn’t sick. I was simply trying to stop myself from dancing. Apparently, the combination of alcohol and music turns me into the girl from The Red Shoes, and instead of looking for someone to chop off my legs, I escaped into the restroom where the music was muffled so that I could take a moment to rest.

Several women approached to ask if there was anything I needed. Was I sick? Did I have a friend they could go get for me? Did I want water? Would throwing up help? I explained my situation to all which resulted in varying levels of amusement and sympathetic understanding. A couple of women went out and brought back glasses of water. Others sat down with me for a minute to make sure I was okay.

During this process, a trail of women came in and out of the room. They reapplied lipstick, touched up hair, adjusted clothing, changed clothing, sat for a moment to take off a pair of stilettos and give their feet a rest. And almost every single one had a piece of advice or asked about my well-being. Some exchanged a joke. Others passed around compliments as easily as drawing a breath (or taking a drink).

And we were strangers.

Other than one friend, the other women coming in and out of that room were all strangers to me—different backgrounds, different ages, different races, different walks of life—and still they took a moment to check in, to make sure I was okay, to make sure that I would be safe, to make sure that I wouldn’t be taken advantage of in my compromised state. To offer a kind word or a piece of helpful advice. To listen and understand and encourage. To laugh with me, not at me. To be present.

Can’t we all learn something from drunk girls in bathrooms? Subtract the alcohol and take us somewhere other than a bar. Can’t we apply that level of kindness in all areas of our lives? There’s nothing stopping us. From noticing, from checking in. From offering a kind word in passing to a total stranger who also happens to be another human being. To laugh with others and not at them. To be present. To make sure that others are okay and that they aren’t taken advantage of.

In the last several months, I’ve offered up my personal struggle for public consumption by writing about it. I’ve taken my broken, beating heart and put it on public display. I’ve turned it inside out and upside down in hopes that my experiences can help someone else through their own struggle or simply tell them that they aren’t alone in it. And in telling my raw, unfiltered truth, I’ve received a wave of support that is the closest I’ve ever come to the experience of being drunk in a bathroom with other women. I’ve found a network of love and support, offered by total strangers who are just fellow human beings.

So, yes, that support exists outside of the bathroom of the local bar, outside of a drunken interaction while waiting for my head to stop spinning and my feet to stop dancing. But it’s rare and precious. It’s not the usual interaction we have on a daily basis, but it could be. Or it could be if we each choose to learn a little something from drunk girls in bathrooms everywhere.


Author: Crystal Jackson

Image: Screenshot from a movie trailer

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

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