Club Courtesy: The Public Restroom Break

You never know what you will get on a club night. Especially, when the bottles are popping and the music is bumping. Once round three of the Patron margarita, Ciroc and pineapple, or Crown and Coke concoctions hit, you’re bound to need to excuse yourself to the restroom for a bit.

The journey from the pulsating rhythms on the dance floor to the brightly lit, tiled, (hopefully) sterile bathroom changes the scene drastically. For most partygoers, the venue restroom serves as a completely different venue in itself. The air on this side of the door is much lighter, void of the smoky humidity that the inside of the club offered. The bass from the DJ’s music becomes a muffled background beat for drunken conversations about what just went down at the bar. At times, the sound of someone in a stall whose liquor didn’t quite agree with them interrupts the buzz.

Yes, a club restroom can get “real.” The bathroom scene is the part of club life we’d rather not discuss, but cannot avoid. Whether you go to the restroom only when you absolutely have to, or plan restroom breaks with your posse every thirty-five minutes, we’ve all seen our fair share of the good, the bad, and complete “did that really happen?” moments.

The restroom attendant –the little lady perched on a barstool in the corner of your favorite spot’s restroom, listening quietly to all of your drunken conversation while at your service with a paper towel, a smile, and a lean of her head suggestively towards the tip jar. A staple in venue restrooms for both men and women, attendants provide a wide array of emergency nightlife goodies.

Irma, women’s bathroom attendant at The District in Midtown, had a spread complete with mints, perfume bottles, napkins and an assortment of gum flavors for $1 a stick. Other women’s bathroom attendants have weave glue, deodorant, or even flat irons. And in the men’s restrooms, attendants provide cologne, cigarettes, gum, mints, black and milds and an assortment of condoms for that after-hours hype.

Like most people in the hospitality industry, Irma makes the majority of her income from tips. Which isn’t easy to come by when servicing drunk people in the bathroom at a club. The tip jar, seemingly always half empty with singles, rarely gets any attention, yet it’s difficult to picture a trip to the restroom at the club without the bathroom lady/man. This brings up the question of whether or not it is necessary to tip them for handing you the napkin you could have very well picked up yourself. Their presence isn’t absolutely necessary, but on that night that nobody in your clique has emergency gum, Irma and her $1 stick of Winterfresh can come in handy.   Tipping the attendant is just one of the controversial issues that using the restroom at your favorite spot can bring to your attention. Simple cleanliness and etiquette can be questioned as well.

My rule of thumb; the Golden Rule slightly remixed. Treat club restrooms the way you would want your bathroom at home to be treated. Courtesy flush. We know you’re tipsy. We are too. But if your aim is off and you hit the seat just wipe the toilet down before you leave. It’s okay to tell that girl that she has toilet tissue stuck to the heel of her platform pumps. Use that little trash bin in each stall to properly dispose of your… products. Share the mirror. Please, leave your drink outside with the friend that didn’t go into the restroom. And when Irma hands you that paper towel, or you need a squeeze of that Sweet Pea lotion before you leave , drop her a couple of dollars. If that was your drink money, you can always wink at some guy at the bar to sponsor round four.

Illustration by Benjamin Buggs

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