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…Go to the Restroom by Themselves

It’s the rare individual indeed who recollects her own potty-training.  Like the trip through the birth canal (a trauma we mercifully have no conscious memories of), the agonies of learning to relieve ourselves in the toilet rather than the diaper go largely un-noted when we re-tell the days of our lives. Sadly, this isn’t true of our mothers, who must find it enormously therapeutic to regale friends at large dinner parties about the frustrations and messes and indignities they themselves suffered while their little ones transitioned from Pampers to big girl panties. It might have something to do with having endured the traumas of actually owning the birth canal that those babies passed through, now I think of it. I, myself, may or may not have found it necessary to shock and awe my own cadre of friend-moms with my tales of woe in which twin boys scoffed at the promise of big boy underwear (okay, they were Micky Mouse Underoos, so I sort of understand their scoffing) and refused to potty in the toilet during a seven-week siege of chicken pox while I was  six-months pregnant and trying to remove wallpaper installed with the intention of surviving nuclear holocaust. But that’s another story.

Well, the training part of any program implies a certain failure rate, doesn’t it? No one is running a marathon without building up to that particular brand of insanity mile by grueling mile. So it goes with restroom trips. First, we’re watched like hawks for the tell-tale signs of an imminent need to ‘go potty.’ Prancing about and vociferous denials remain first-rate clues. We are ushered in to the bathroom, plopped unceremoniously onto the toilet and commanded to go while our mothers perch anxiously on the tub, listening for that glorious sound of water tinkling on water. Accidents happen, laundry piles grow exponentially, tears are shed, but the next thing we know, we’re asking if we can go to the restroom in every public place imaginable — McDonald’s, the local grocery, the ballparks, the zoos, the movie theatres, the interstate rest areas, the department stores. We don’t simply ask to go, either. We ask to go by ourselves. We want to be found worthy of the big girl panties we proudly wear, after all! And what do our moms inevitably say to our requests to prove ourselves trained, responsible loo users? They say ‘no.’ NO!! After all that training, all that cajoling, all those m&ms offered as rewards, all that praise for every success and all those piles of messy undergarments undergoing yet another wash — we ask to go potty like big girls and our incomprehensible mothers refuse us the courtesy of maneuvering the public restroom on our own. The indignity of it all…

Is it any wonder, then, that our school days continue the trend of visiting the restroom with at least one friend in tow? Even after we’ve long mastered the art of relief  on our own (right up to and including the flush), we still prance about during recesses and lunch times, anxious to rush together through that mysterious door labeled ‘WOMEN’ so that we might discuss all we’re learning that day. Oh sure, sometimes we even talk about the upcoming spelling test or math quiz, but usually, we’re marveling at Lisa’s new book bag, Debby’s hopelessly unstylish tights, or Brian’s devilishly handsome gap-toothed grin. These antics continue throughout our high school years. Closer to being women, we still prance about, pushing through the crowded hallways to reach those tiled, echoing havens restricted to ‘just us girls,’ where we marvel at Lisa’s great new boots, Debby’s hopelessly unstylish bangs, and Brian’s devilishly attractive backside in those just-tight-enough Levi’s. Going to ‘the ladies’ isn’t just about taking care of business, y’all. It’s where we girls do life.

Don't Go Alone

Don’t Go Alone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s where we touch up our makeup, re-style our hair, adjust our bits in need of realignment. From schooldays’ gossip to wedding days’ maids holding up the bride’s gown so that she can, you know, potty — a solo trip to the restroom simply won’t do. When we walk into a stall and find the empty roll just a few seconds too late, we don’t worry. We simply sigh — loudly — and ask for a few squares. Immediately enough TP to take care of the giant oak in your front yard magically appears, right at mid-calf.  If we’ve just met Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome at the bar, we don’t worry about the garlic mashed potatoes we had for dinner, we ask for a breath mint and confirmation that we ‘look alright.’ If we just got dumped via text message (don’t get me started), off we go to the sanctuary of reprieve — the ladies room, where we can cry our eyes out, borrow our friend’s mascara to repair the damage, and relieve the strains of both relationships and overfull bladders.  We go in together, and we come out stronger than before, because friends don’t let friends ever, EVER go to the restroom by themselves. Our mamas traipsed into the restroom with us to encourage, cajole and keep us safe. They were initiating us into the rite of ‘passage,’ if you will. We honor them, and the tradition, every time we make our way to ‘the ladies,’ together.

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About beckyfields

Learner. Teacher. Reader. Writer. Contemplating 'life changes' -- one common chapter at a time.

170 responses »

  1. The ladies room, that is THE place to leave a card with a hotline number on it. That is the place where women will be able to take the card , pocket the card and keep it for future reference. The restroom might just be the beginning of a new life, a way out of domestic violence, and who knows, perhaps a way out of child abuse. You just never know.

    So, get out there, leave your message in the restroom. That is the place where some women actually do get “rest”.

    Reply
  2. Perhaps someday I’ll understand this phenomenon. Today is not that day. Even if a guy has to go, he will wait just so it doesn’t look like he’s going with another man.

    Reply
  3. I’ve always believed that it was a “safety in numbers” thing. My mother always warned us that we never know who might be lurking in the bathroom…
    There was an infamous case in my area about 8 years ago, when a woman was raped in the bathroom of a restaurant. This only reinforced my mother’s warnings…

    Reply
  4. That is one thing I’ve never actually enjoyed. I’m more of a solitary restroom goer. I don’t go in public if I don’t absolutely have to. Good post, though.

    Reply
  5. This is brilliant! Never thought of it in this perspective before, but it was certainly entertaining and I can definitely relate

    Reply
  6. CollegeGirlMusic

    http://collegegirlmusic.wordpress.com/ Check it out. Mainstream music and female artists attempt to revive feminism! 🙂

    Reply
  7. THANK YOU! I have a friend who is convinced that girls go to the rest room to hold hands under the stall! Now I can use this to show the truth! Glad we got that theory taken care of! haha seriously though, this post made me laugh out loud

    Reply
  8. Us, girls know it’s the code of honor, we never go to the public bathroom alone. Great piece of work!

    Reply
  9. this is true of most, but personally I dread those words “wait, I’ll go with you”. Am I the only one?

    Reply
  10. I like! I think more conversation happens in the ladies room than at the table nowadays lol.

    Reply
    • Thanks! I do wonder if more conversation is electronic… 🙂 Stop by again, won’t you?

      Reply
      • I think electronics is what stops the conversation at the table. Women are are to busy powdering their faces for the IG pics in the restroom lol.

        Keep them coming. Appreciate if you check out my posts as well!

        Thanks !!

  11. Funny essay. But I’m a woman who believes in rapid fire peeing. I like my bathroom time to be as short as possible – in public. At home, I’ll bring 3, 4 magazines, my ipad and the latest Stephen King novel..but that’s because I know it’s safe to *sit*. Seriously it drives me crazy when I really really really have to go, and run to the restroom at some public venue, only to encounter the inevitable line of 10 women with the patient faces of cows in the rain. My husband mocks me – what’s up with the line? I went right in! All I can do is wail “I DON’T KNOW, AND I’M ONE OF THEM!” and then, of course, hold it all the way home, bitching.

    Congrats on your FP!

    Reply
  12. Look what happened to Hermione when she went to the restroom alone. She got attacked by a troll.

    Reply
  13. This is wonderful!
    I’m new to WordPress! Any new comments or pointers would be much appreciated!
    http://briannajackson1.wordpress.com

    Reply
  14. great post !
    I’m still fairly new to blogging so would love it if you’ll go check out my blog as well and maybe like or follow if you like it 🙂

    Reply
  15. I always wondered why women go to the ladies room in packs, it always seemed kind of an invasion of privacy. check out my blog http://www.jasonjamal.wordpress.com

    Reply
  16. Pingback: …Think They’re Unappreciated | Friends Don't Let Friends...

  17. Reblogged this on Words to Ponder and commented:
    This was too good not to reblog 🙂

    Reply
  18. This was an awesome read! Thanks for sharing… will have to reblog on Words to Ponder 🙂

    Reply
  19. I LOVED reading this! It was written SO well and it is SO true!!

    Reply
  20. Entering the “Ladies”…Picture: 12n, Sunday, Houston TX, – a vast, clean, brand new Whole Foods Ladies Room – and one girl is in a stall – solo – on the phone non-stop jabbering about “like a meal, you know, she like had, you know?”…blathering on as women all around her flushed – and flushed again… she so needed a female companion to fill her in on the facts of loo etiquette…

    Reply
  21. This was an amazing post, and so true! I immediately thought to just last night when I was out with friends at a club and how even with girls that friends brought (and gfs of guy friends) but we didn’t know super well, we’d troupe to the bathroom together when someone needed to go. So true! And I loved your writing style!

    Reply
  22. Lol truth

    Reply
  23. Pingback: …Go to the Restroom by Themselves | Dekorhore

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  25. The main reason my friends and i went to the restroom together in high school is because one of us had the cigarettes one had the lighter and one had the gum and perfume

    Reply

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