Mar 31, 2012

My European Bathroom Curse

Posted by Tonia at Saturday, March 31, 2012
Estrofests is excited to host guest blogger, Grace Ballard. Grace is a social worker and a lover of hilarity and fun. She is an inspiration in her field and we are thankful for her contribution to women's parties at Estrofests!

by Grace Ballard
I call it my “European bathroom curse.” Classy, don’t you think?

It all began in Aviano, Italy. I was eight years old and at a party with my parents. A very inebriated lady had spilled her entire mug of beer on my skirt and my mother told me to go clean up in the restroom. (Children reeking of beer rarely make a good impression.)

I was intrigued by the beautiful old story book lock in the bathroom door. It had a large keyhole with an old antique key. I immediately forgot about my drunken skirt, enraptured by the fairytale key. I closed the door, turned the magical key, and pulled it out of the lock. BUT, instead of being transported to Cinderella Land, I entered Trapped-Inside-Bathroom-Hell. I couldn’t get the key back into the lock. It was a single room restroom with no crack under the door to crawl under. I banged on the door, the walls, the sink, anything to get somebody’s attention. Two hours passed before the owner of the restaurant finally heard me and let me out. He kept saying, “Gelato for the bambino. Gelato—no charge.”  He was my hero. He had freed me from bathroom prison. And the gelato was more than worth the incarceration.

BATHROOM MISHAPS.  Definitely women’s domain. Because our urethras are literally three times shorter than men’s, we have to pee more and, consequently, we hang out in restrooms more frequently. We understand automated toilets. You know – the kind that require you to jump up and down like a lunatic to make them work. Or the other kind that flush every 3 seconds and splash water all over your ass. This all happens whether you’re done or not. Hey, I want to be able to decide when I’m done.

My story continues.

When I was nineteen my brother and I flew to Germany to see my father. For the 13 hour plane ride I was in the middle seat between my brother and an unknown man. I remember the long lines at restroom - consisting of mostly women, of course. Near the middle of the flight I had to pee pretty badly. I had procrastinated going because there was a lot of turbulence, but the turbulence only added to my urgency.  I glanced back – no line! I rushed into the little stall, dropped my pants and began to experience that glorious relief of urination when swoosh - the door flung open due to the turbulence. Now, directly in front of me, was the male passenger who had been sitting next to me for the past 6.5 hours – and who would continue to sit next to me for the NEXT 6.5 hours. Couldn’t. Have. Been. Someone. Else. Had to be him.

On that same trip we traveled to Paris and, while in a lovely Parisian restaurant, nature called. But I was confident I could manage those cute little fairytale locks. Everything went well until I tried to unlock the door. And. Nothing. Happened. The walls began to close in on me. I started to panic. I began thrashing myself around the room. I threw myself against the door, and as I did, it flung open with a crash. Trying to look cool and walk away with some dignity, my father and brother were hysterical.  If other customers had not heard the door crash open, they certainly heard my unruly family members. My brother taunted me, “No gelato this time!”

Flash forward 11 years to a doctor’s office where I’m supposed to give a urine specimen. As a connoisseur of restrooms I admire the futuristic George Jetson design. But the lock is very modern with no discernible LOCKED position. I turn something and assume it’s secure. Midstream with legs spread and cup in hand, the door flies open. A middle aged man is standing there. He immediately shuts the door - but he knows and I know. Is that the end of the story? Of course not! A few days later this same man came to my workplace for a therapy appointment with me! During the intake he kept saying, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?  You look incredibly familiar.” Is bathroom familiarity a conflict of interest?

So turn bathroom chagrin into grins by having a few of your girlfriends over for a Bathroom Party! Here are drink and games suggestions:

Buy several specimen cups from your nearest pharmacy. Have each party participant write her full name on her cup’s label with a Sharpie marker. Then fill each with the following:

1 part Brandy
2 parts apple cider, chilled
2 parts Champagne

Toilet Paper Fashion Show
Split your girlfriends into groups of three. Hand each group one roll of toilet paper. Ask each group to pick a model and then have the groups design an outfit using only toilet paper. It can be timed 15-20 minutes. Then have a fashion show.

Pick Your Paper
Pass around a roll of toilet paper and ask each participant to take the usual number of sheets from the roll that they would use in the restroom. Don’t tell them why. After everyone has taken their sheets of  toilet paper, have each person to tell as many embarrassing/humorous true stories as the number of sheets they took.

Grace Ballard has a Masters Degree in Social Work and is working on her clinical social work license as well as her drug and alcohol counselor license. She currently works as a mental health therapist with children and families. She is a true believer in the power of humor as a way to cope with life on life's terms. She also believes in the power of cocktails, games, and girlfriends! 


sweetlady on June 7, 2012 at 1:15 AM said...

Oh, that was terrible! Good thing, the owner heard you that time. I also did have a bad experience with bathrooms. But mine was when I first saw a bidet toilet. I didn't know yet how to use it back then. :P

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