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Hebburn, UK

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One Night Only: An Ode to the Girl's Bathroom

Friday, 04 October 2019

The standard night out. A pastime with a startling propensity to be more or less exactly the same every time you choose to partake. It is as if there is a checklist to be followed, certain rules to abide by.

Outfit stresses. The friend who is always, without fail, so inordinately late that you begin to question why they bother coming at all. Pre-drinks. The last minute panic prompted by the arrival of a taxi, which still manages to be a surprise; no matter how much notice you were given. The Houdini friend who will disappear, audaciously returning an hour or so later; in the possession of a drink or three and without any awareness of how long they’ve been gone.

There is, however, a shining light in this alcohol-fuelled routine. Something that is different every time.
Something that adds a little light and excitement to what might otherwise be a distinctly predictable night. Something to talk about over the meal you stubbornly profess is breakfast, despite the fact that it is actually two in the afternoon, and your heavy heads can barely lift from resting position on dusty café tables. This beacon of hope? The saviour of a slightly dull evening?

Drunk friends.

Steph_Smiling

If you are lucky enough to have experienced this phenomenon, you will be acutely aware of how truly
excellent drunk friends can be. For one night, at least, they are the greatest people you’ve ever met. Drunk friends are interesting. Drunk friends are exciting. Drunk friends are the people you decide you absolutely one hundred percent will keep in touch with, because you all decided to go to that festival together in August, and you can’t miss that. Drunk friends are the ones you will likely never hear from again.

Of course, if you are proficient in your inebriated networking, you will be aware that are different categories in which each of these drunk friends fall into. There are the social sorcerers, who manage to capture the attention of everyone in the smoking area, beguiling their way through their evening with unbelievable stories, and unending levels of charm. There’s the lone jester, who appears as if from nowhere to enthusiastically provide an evening’s entertainment, and who will likely get kicked out of the takeaway a few hours later, after jumping over the counter and asking for your order. Perhaps the greatest of all drunk friends, however, are those who reside in the girl’s bathroom.

This very particular category of drunk friend is home to the true queens of the drunken friend world. They are among the most hilarious, kind and supportive people you will ever meet. Every night, around eleven pm, the dingy, dusty bathrooms in bars and clubs up and down the country transform. No longer places of horror and disgust, they become magical, safe spaces, ruled by ethereal, if not slightly tipsy creatures – creatures known affectionately as Girl’s Bathroom Friends.

The girl’s bathroom on a night out is a truly magical place, and it is the tireless work of the Girl’s Bathroom Friends that make it this way. Of course, there are still templates to go by. The returning characters among an ever-changing cast. There will almost always be someone crying over a boy, and another trying to comfort her. There’s always someone who will promise to be your Instagram photographer, and will go as far as to stand on a sink in an effort to get you at just the right angle. And there is, every night, without fail, someone whose true calling in life is, it would seem, an ability to make you believe that you really do look ‘absolutely amaaaaazing!’ To put it simply, if you are seeking some support, a safe space, a pep talk, or just someone to ask about how much a nipple piercing actually hurts; the girl’s bathroom is the place to be.

Bathroom Friends

There’s a lot we can learn from the girl’s bathroom. It appears to be a place entirely devoid of negativity or competition. If someone looks great, you tell them. If someone is in distress, you do your utmost to comfort them. If someone is in need of something that you possess, you share it with them – even if it is only a lipstick. Girl’s Bathroom Friends are the best simply because they represent that which we all ardently desire from those around us. To feel supported, safe, and inspired is an incredibly valuable commodity. One that, try as we might, cannot be bought, sold, or magically conjured up. It is something built on an alliance of our own behaviour, and that of those around us; an agreement to perpetuate confidence, kindness, and a desire to make others feel as great as we’d like to. Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. That sort of thing.

Steph Serious

There’s also value in openness. The deep discussions about life, love, and everything in-between. The stories shared with people you’ve just met, merely because you rightly perceive that your own experience is, in some way at least, relevant to that which your new friend is currently crying about. There’s the total, unabashed trust from the girl who showed you the results of her tummy tuck, just because you were curious. And there’s the willingness of others to scrape you off the floor and welcome you into their girl gang when you’re having a bad night.

There’s truly something to be gained from losing some of our cynicism, from dropping a sometimes
internalised disregard for those around us. There is incomparable benefit to be found in a willingness to
embrace a little vulnerability, and to pioneer compassion. Imagine if the whole world followed the ethos of the Girl’s Bathroom Friend. Now, wouldn’t that be great?

Written by Steph Hebdon
@stephhebdon