Gender may be a largely social construct, but that doesn't mean it has no effect on our lives — just look at all the myriad things women do in the bathroom that men just don't. In my experience, men generally tend to get the job done and move on, but the women's bathroom is a far more complicated (and sometimes magical) place.
When you step into a women's restroom on a Friday night, chances are you'll spot at least two of the following archetypes: Someone fixing her cleavage in the mirror; someone else behind her craning her neck to check her teeth for lipstick stains; a bored college student Snapchatting about how long the line has been; and a drunk woman giving out incredibly earnest, surprisingly well-spoken compliments. All of this, of course, is set to the soundtrack of the conversation between two BFFs sharing a stall at the end of the row. Meanwhile, the glimpses of the men's bathroom you catch through the door show a quiet, poorly-lit empty space where people do their business and waltz right back out.
Obviously, these are sweeping generalizations; not all women spend an extra few minutes preening in the mirror after they use the bathroom, and men undoubtedly check on their appearance as well. Furthermore, these observations largely apply to people who are cisgender — for trans individuals, the bathroom can be a source of harassment and outright danger.
Generally speaking, however, there are some things that women do in the bathroom that men just don't. Let's take a look at 10 below.
1. Awkwardly Begging For Menstrual Products
You make it through the bathroom line, sit down, and suddenly find out you started your period — and you used your emergency tampon last month. Fortunately, someone else in the bathroom almost always has one, so at least there's that — but although I'm all for breaking down menstrual taboos, it's still super awkward to ask around.
2. Receiving Super-Sincere Drunken Compliments
Drunk Girl Compliments are a widely-documented phenomenon, and they are a glorious thing. Being on either side of the equation is basically the best.
3. Wondering If You've Left A Tampon In
If you get a period, chances are you've totally blanked and forgotten whether you took out a tampon. Cue the awkward vagina-searching.
4. Making Friends In Line
The "ultra-long women's bathroom line" is a stereotype for a reason; somehow, the line for the women's restroom always manages to be three times longer than the men's. Fortunately, the line is a great place to make friends.
5. Swapping Out Period-Stained Underwear
Anyone who gets a period is familiar with the agony of realizing it just started, and the evidence is all over your underwear. Personally, my solution is to carry around an extra set of underwear in my purse just in case. (Seriously, it works.)
6. Dry-Shaving At The Sink
Not all women shave, of course, and some men totally shave their body hair as well. Either way, basically everyone who shaves their underarms ends up in the same situation eventually: You notice that it's time to shave, but you're far too lazy to hop in the shower. Dry-shaving at the sink can be painful, but at least you don't have to take off your sweatpants.
7. Regrouping With Your Friends
It's a scientific fact (citation needed) that bathrooms are the best place for gossip, hands down.
8. Aiming The Blow Dryer At Your Face
I can't be the only person who was dying to know whether blow dryers make your cheeks flap like in the movies. (They don't.)
9. Sharing A Stall
Guys might do this too — in fact, I guess urinals basically count as sharing a giant stall — but when you're out with your friends, peeing in the same stall isn't that big a deal. In addition to saving time, it gives you the chance to talk one-on-one in a place where you can actually hear each other. It's a win-win!