Beyond the Bar: Learning from the Friendship Dynamics of Drunk Women (Opinion)

Crystal Jackson
Photo byMatheus Ferrero on Unsplash

It’s a well-known fact that the staunchest support we will probably ever receive as women will likely be from drunk girls in a bathroom.

Any woman who has ever been drunk in a ladies’ room knows this. Now I’ve never been drunk in a men’s restroom, and I can’t say if there’s a male equivalent. However, with the female tendency for going to the restroom in groups — often as a safety-in-numbers sensibility — I have often witnessed this phenomenon.

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.

There was once a time when I found myself drunk in a ladies’ room at an establishment that proffered adult beverages.

Doesn’t that sound sophisticated?

The truth is that I found myself drunk in the bathroom of a bar.

Actually, it was more like a strip club, housing a bar. But I digress. I was there for a friend’s birthday in what was perhaps the oddest strip club I’d ever known with aged strippers walking about offering lap dances and serving the strongest shots I’ve ever had. It was disconcerting enough, and then you add in my lack of familiarity with strip clubs in general and the amount of alcohol I’d consumed.

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? Did I need someone to hold back my hair so I could?

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.

We were strangers.

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 with me, to make sure I was okay, that I was safe, and that I wouldn’t be taken advantage of in my compromised state.

They stepped up to offer a kind word or a piece of helpful advice. They listened, understood, and encouraged me all while complimenting my shoes, my hair, and my outfit. They laughed with me and not at me. They were present in my predicament sans judgment.

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 or checking in.

We can offer a kind word in passing to a total stranger who also happens to be another human being. We can laugh with others and not at them. We can make sure that others are okay and that they aren’t taken advantage of. We can be present with them without the judgment it’s so easy to carry.

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.

Originally published on Medium

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails:

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