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We should all be more like drunk women in bathrooms!

I’ve often commented that if the world was more like drunk women are when they’re in the bathroom of a bar, restaurant, nightclub, anywhere really, then the world would be such a better place. Over the years when I’ve been out with friends and family celebrating a life event, a wedding, a birthday, or even just reaching another Friday after working hard all week, I’ve always noticed how women are when they go to the bathroom. Now I have personally snuck into a few men’s bathrooms over those years because let’s face it, sometimes the lines are just far too long for the ladies, there’s nobody waiting at the men’s and you just sometimes really, really need to go; but I can’t say I ever recall seeing any of the comradery and support in the men’s room that I have been witness to and a part of in a ladies room (a brief consult with my partner, Glenn, has confirmed that this suspicion of mine is correct). When women are drinking and having a good time, their inhibitions are down and along with those lowered inhibitions so often comes such an amazing sense of love and support for their fellow women. Of course, there is also the other side of lowered inhibitions, but that generally happens outside of the bathroom. Women become the biggest supporter of women when they’re tucked away behind that closed door. Men ask why women go to the bathroom in packs – well here’s why. It’s not because we’re scared of going alone, we don’t need our friend to hold our hands while we hover over the toilet seat (our Mumma’s taught us how to do that when we were five), we don’t need someone to hold our bag, our drink or our phone; it’s the feeling of empowerment and confidence you can walk away with when you leave that bathroom and go back to the dance floor and the guys. I’ve come across women offering encouraging words of comfort to a crying woman in the bathroom, bolstering up her confidence and reminding her that she’s got this and is better than the guy who reduced her to tears. I’ve seen women helping fix another woman’s dress or pants when they’ve had a wardrobe mishap – heck, I’ve had that support. My pants split one night, and I had to borrow a jacket from a friend of someone I knew to tie around my waist, so my backside wasn’t showing to the whole club.

One of my funniest stories about my Mumma was when my parents renewed their wedding vows in the 90s. We took Mum out for a hen’s night and being in my twenties, I was taking care of her for the night while she had the time of her life. Towards the end of our evening, we met my dad and his mate at a restaurant in South Bank and I had to track mum down in the bathroom after she had disappeared for ages. I found her talking a mile a minute to some girl she had met in there, telling her all about the renewal in a couple of weeks. When I joined her, she excitedly introduced me to her new friend, who’s name I don’t even remember, telling me she had invited her to the renewal, and she was going to come party with us. Mum had the biggest heart and would make friends everywhere, including in bathrooms of restaurants and bars.

A few months ago, I went to the wedding of my beautiful bonus-daughter. At one stage I went into the bathroom down on the ground floor of the hotel where the reception was and met a lovely lady at the sinks while we washed our hands. In a matter of two minutes, she told me how beautiful she thought my hair was and how lucky I was to have such long, healthy hair then she checked out my dress and new shoes I had bought just for the wedding and complimented me, telling me I looked amazing. A simple smile at a basin resulted in a quick conversation about haircare products then ended with me being showered with compliments. When I left the bathroom, I told my partner that there’s nothing like going to a women’s bathroom because you always leave feeling pretty damn good about yourself.

What made me think of this theory of mine that I’d like to see put into practise in the world? Lately (and I’m talking very specifically in the last two years) I’ve been seeing more and more posts shared on social media where some random page has shared a photo of a woman who, for reasons that are truly only her business, has made the decision to have excessive cosmetic surgery done on her body. We’re all aware that this type of action is generally chosen because the person in question has internal struggles they’re battling; trying to meet impossible ideals, a survivor of abuse who is trying to reinvent herself, and a myriad of other reasons. But whatever those reasons, their hers and hers alone to know and understand. The thing about these posts that I find particularly disturbing, aside from the fact that the admin of the page in question is sharing it in the first place, are the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of cruel and bullying comments under the photo. The posts get shared by others who have seen it, they comment with a snarky remark and their friends and followers follow suit, and so on and so on. It breaks my heart to see these types of bullying comments, and what upsets me more is the simple fact that the reason I’m even seeing the post, is because someone I know and care about has made one of these comments. That’s the saddest part. I pride myself in surrounding myself with positive and uplifting people, and I’d like to believe that these people I’ve made a part of my world are better than the cruel comments they’re directing at a perfect stranger on social media. So, I find myself asking, why do people think it’s acceptable to bully a stranger online?

The ironic thing about this is that if their child, grandchild, best friend, sister or somebody they cared about was being bullied and tormented by cruel, nasty comments at school, work or in a social situation, they would no doubt be standing up to defend their loved one and protect them from the cruel actions of the people bullying them. How is it so easy for people to stand and protect the wellbeing of those they love, but when it’s someone they don’t know and have no connection to, it’s acceptable to join the pack mentality and pick away at the confidence and emotional wellbeing of the person? That woman in the picture on social media may not be your friend or family member, but she IS a loved one of somebody else in the world and the cruel words you’re throwing at her will affect both the woman being targeted and her loved ones. We need to stop and remember the power that words can have on someone when those words are directed at them.

The last couple of years have been tough and challenging for the entire planet. We’ve had some major upheavals that we’ve had to overcome as a society, and smaller, more individual and personal ordeals we’ve had to fight our way through. When we find ourselves in a situation where life is turned topsy-turvy and we no longer know which way is up, we need to remember that we aren’t the only one facing turmoil and challenges and if we show a little kindness, compassion and love, it’ll make the ride that much easier for each of us. A kind, uplifting word makes such a difference to a person, and it costs us nothing to spread love and understanding. If we all make that concentrated effort to spread a little more love and kindness around each day, then in no time at all this type of positive interaction will be a part of our normal, and the cruel and biting words will gradually fall away and stop slipping off our tongues so easy.

The power of social media is wonderful and with it the world has become a smaller and more connected place. Friends and family thousands of miles away are right there when we want to talk to them, and we can connect so easily to the people and activities that matter most to us. With the good however, there always comes bad and sadly some take advantage of that and use it as a forum to torment and berate others. By rising above what I truly hope is the minority who choose this path, we can become a better race of humans and create a legacy for future generations that shows them that compassion, love and kindness to strangers, both in person and on the internet is the norm, and that like drunk women in bathrooms, we have love, hugs and encouraging words for everyone we meet in the bathrooms of life along the way.

Remember to be kind to everybody you meet and rise above the negativity. We’re all engaged in a personal battle of our own and you never know what an impact the words you choose to direct at someone could have – both positive and negative. Choose your words wisely and aim to leave a positive aftertaste everywhere you go – if it’s a Pina Colada-kinda taste, even better! Words are a pretty powerful tool, not only through writing and books, but also verbally and in a comment thread. Use yours for good today!

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