Prepare yourselves: After watching this video, you will officially never feel comfortable in a bathroom ever again. Yesterday, comedian and interdisciplinary performer Tamale Rocks posted a video on YouTube of a bar (since identified as Cigars and Stripes in Berwyn, IL) where she was performing. The video reveals that the bar’s women’s restroom had a two-way mirror installed in a door, facing the toilet. For those of you who need a reminder, a two-way mirror is the kind of mirror we always see in cop shows that is reflective on one side and transparent on the other. In this case, a woman sitting on the toilet would see herself, while someone sitting in the closet behind the mirror would see the woman. Eww. EWW! A thousand times, ewwwwww.
In the video, Tamale Rocks explains that she’s at the bar to do a comedy performance, and noticed something weird about the women’s restroom. She says,
Now, the ladies’ toilet, opposite of the full-length mirror, may not appear weird to some people, but for paranoid jerks like myself, I get a little confused about why that might be there. To check a dress? Mmm, perhaps. To watch a panty line? Maybe. Let’s take a peek at what really lies behind it.
And what lies behind it is shocking: A utility closet with a door that’s had a huge hole carved out of it and replaced with a see-through mirror. Here is a view of the women’s toilet from inside the closet:
Have I said “Eww” yet?
Here’es the video:
In the video, it’s a bit hard to see through the mirror. Tamale Rocks tweeted some images that are clearer:
One thing that makes this episode really upsetting (you know, besides the creepy TWO-WAY MIRROR) is the fact that Tamale Rocks felt hesitant to expose it, for some depressingly legitimate reasons. She writes in her YouTube intro,
When I discovered this two-way mirror, many things ran through my head, including... "What if people know about this and I'M the jerk for posting?" "I talk about being a woman in comedy. What if people think that comedy is unsafe for women?" "What if people see that I've performed burlesque and write me off with slut shaming, stepping over the inherent issues of consent?" I became angry when I realized that I was more torn apart by the possible social ramifications around "causing trouble" by exposing it than the fact that it existed. This self-doubt is problematic and a product of rape culture.
She expected a backlash and, unsurprisingly, she got one (because it's somehow her fault that someone installed a creepy two-way mirror in a woman's bathroom, right?):
What is perhaps most bizarre about this extremely bizarre story is that the owner of the bar has not only admitted to knowing about the mirror – he has declared that the mirror is staying. In a transcribed phone interview with Jezebel’s Karyn Polewaczyk, Cigars and Stripes owner Ronnie Lotz declares, “[Y]es, absolutely: we have a two-way mirror in there, yes, yes; we’ve had it since 2001.” He goes on to say a bunch of things that are equal parts offensive and insane. For example: (Certain lines have been made bold by Jezebel)
Look, this woman is looking for a viral video. There’s a big movement in reality TV to be outraged about feminism. I’ve been in professional wrestling. So yes: come see my mirror; eat my wings—I don’t know what to tell you, honey.
I will burn this fucking place to the ground before I get rid of that mirror. Do you know how much joy that mirror has brought to us? We’re synonymous with Halloween. We do a freaky family fun day, and all the kids look in the mirror. This is a fun house, honey, and if you don’t like the two-way mirror, go fuck yourself
It’s like if you put something [about the mirror] into that Yelp thing: no bitch, you didn’t, somebody else did about fucking five years ago. It’s old news; the door is open; it’s for Halloween. We used to hang a witch’s head in there so that the girls would pee, and they’d look into a dingy closet and be all weirded out. We specialize in making people feel very uncomfortable.
Mission accomplished, I guess? Because I feel as uncomfortable as hell.
Images: Gisela Giardino/Flickr; YouTube