Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Ladies Room

Next to fearing possums with their gnarly teeth, huge rat sized body, and evil glaring red eyes, I also fear public bathrooms. This fear is mainly directed at porta potties with their hole of putrid darkness and their absence of a flusher, sink or soap, but it also is extended to rest stop bathrooms, gas station toilets, fair/amusement/beach washrooms, and really just about any restaurant bathroom that the staff has chosen to ignore all day long. I wouldn't say I'm a germaphobe or OCD, but I would definitely say I've been told way too many times by my Grandma about the 60 Minute special (they must do one every year) on what goes on in these bathrooms and how few people actually wash their hands upon leaving. I just can't enjoy having a snack after knowing I just walked out of a flooding bathroom that had an entire one square of Scott brand toilet paper left on the roll...and was completely out of the creamy pink floral scented soap...and there wasn't anymore fresh cloth for me to roll down to towel off my wet but still dirty hands. When I actually go into a restroom that is clean, it perks me up; when I find an elegantly decorated ladies/powder room, I am so taken that I just want to linger and enjoy the moment.

On Sunday, I went with my friend Ramsey to dinner at The Alcove in Los Feliz (a bohemian hipster neighborhood in Los Angeles). The day had been a scorcher, so we both opted for huge fresh salads which I ate every some of Ramsey's. Before leaving, I went to use the ladies room and found a sweetly decorated haven. There were photos from the 19th century, a Perfumery sign above the sink, Victorian era furniture pieces, and old dusty bottles with beautiful lavender spilling over. I was so enjoying my time that I had forgotten to lock the door, and was walked in on...not while peeing, but as I was taking photos. I think my intruder was more surprised to see me standing and documenting the room with my camera than if I had been squatting (part of my neurosis is that I never sit on a public toilet) over the pot. I was slightly embarrassed, and stumbled as I quickly shoved my camera in my purse and rushed out. I later wondered why I had felt so shy about another woman seeing that I appreciated the bathroom. After all, women have hung out in the bathroom for centuries.

The word "toilet" originally comes from the French word "toile" (identifying the cloth draped over a woman's shoulders while her hair was being done.) For the affluent class of the 17th century, this "toilet room" as it was later known, was stylish and posh because it was where women received their close friends and gentlemen callers as they were getting ready. Women have rarely used the lavatory for strictly practical purposes; it has been a communal area of chatting, powdering and freshening up with others of our gender for hundreds of years. Perhaps this is why we females can't help but enjoy going to the ladies room with a female partner...and why some of us linger in the beauty of a nicely decorated loo taking photos.

The Alcove
Los Feliz
Los Angeles, CA

Ramsey and I before gorging on greens.

Salmon salad. His.

Chopped salad. Mine.

An old staunch woman welcoming me into the ladies room.

1970's blue and white terry cloth tennis shirt; 1980's high-waisted denim floral shorts; 1960's gold and white cuff bracelet; 1970's burgundy leather puse; BDG brown braided leather ballet flats.

Close-up on BDG shoes from Urban Outfitters.

Close-up on my 1970's vintage burgundy long strapped purse.

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