----> continued <----

by the time i -- dressed as a ridiculous prom queen in an enormous gown and huge blond wig sporting seventy-two pounds of makeup -- got to the line, a butch pimp, a sleek catwoman and a cute cowgirl were in front of me. all also clearly drunk (harry potter has that power over us), and all also having to pee with the same urgency.

finally the Pimp looks at the Cowgirl and asks, "hey, have you been in line long?"

to which the Cowgirl replies, "a few minutes, yeah."

Pimp: is someone in there?

(this means, "have you knocked on the door?")

Cowgirl: well, it's locked.

(this means, "i tried to get in once and i don't want to be rude. but feel free to do it yourself.")

and since it's clear that Pimp is going to be more vocal than Cowgirl, she steps up and knocks on the door.

there is no answer.

Pimp shrugs and returns to the line. we are all silent again. two more women join me in line (both dressed as slutty schoolgirls**). another three minutes pass.

now there is general unrest. we have all been drinking, we have all been waiting, and we all think the silent woman in the bathroom is an evil bitch.

Pimp: what is she DOING in there?

Cowgirl: i don't know. it's been way too long...

Catwoman: hey, can you guys see through crack at the bottom of the door? is there more than one of them?

me: i hate when they go in as pairs, it always takes longer.

Catwoman: nice wig.

me: thanks.

Pimp: fuck this. [she starts knocking really hard on the door] HEY! there is a LONG LINE out here, could you HURRY UP PLEASE! [she puts her ear to the door] i don't even hear anything. [tries to open the door] PLEASE HURRY UP!!!

and when there was still no response we – and by now “we” included about a dozen very concerned, very uncomfortable, very costumed women – started getting angrier and angrier. which is when the shouting began.

slutty schoolgirl #2: WHAT IS GOING ON?

slutty schoolgirl #6: WHO IS IN THERE!?


and just like that, a coalition had formed. oh yes, me and my sluttily costumed sisterhood were in this together: we all needed to pee, and we all needed to get THAT BITCH out of the bathroom.

and just when our annoyance was reaching its peak, Catwoman did the only thing you can do to ebb the drunken flow of hatred towards a woman taking TOO DAMN LONG in the only ladies’ bathroom*** in a crowded bar. she asked a very good question.

Catwoman: do you think she’s okay?

a hush fell over the sisterhood. and just like that, we went from hating THAT BITCH to fearing for her. because being drunk and sick and feeling like you are going to pass out in a public bathroom is not something you ever want to experience and is something you absolutely need to be rescued from.

Pimp: maybe we should get a manager. do you think she’s okay? god, i hope she’s not passed out.

Cowgirl: we have to get in there.

Catwoman: hey, there is an opening at the top of the door, see! it doesn’t go all the way to the top. i bet you can see over it.

and with that – i swear i am not kidding – several drunken, costumed women (who still really really really had to pee) started jumping. to see if they could see into the stall.


apparently drunken, costumed women who have to pee are very well intentioned but are not so much good with the physics because that door was really friggin' high.

Cowgirl: this isn’t working.

Pimp: i don’t want to get out of line, but someone has to do something.

and it was at about this point that Cowgirl did the most amazing thing i’ve ever seen outside a ladies’ room.

by now Cowgirl had been joined by her girlfriend, and so she handed her girlfriend her drink and got a very serious look in her eye. hey you guys, Cowgirl said to her girlfriend and me and Catwoman and Pimp, help me.

and then she stood up on a bench for leverage and leaned her body into the door frame. she put one hand on either side, and then slowly brought her legs into the frame as well. and then using nothing but her own strength and door frame resistance, she climbed to the top of the door.

let me say that again.

an itty bitty woman, dressed as a cowgirl, actually CLIMBED UP AN ENTIRE DOORWAY. because she had to pee.

having to pee is one damn powerful female force, i tell ya'.

anyway, when she reached the top, she clutched her hands on the door rim and lifted her eyes to the opening.

the entire line of women, in complete awe: uh…can you see anything? is she okay???

and here’s where i wish i could tell you that, thanks to Cowgirl’s heroics, we were able to get to a very sick woman and help her before it was too late.

except i can’t.

because of course what Cowgirl saw when she looked in was even more harrowing.

there was no one in the bathroom.

the sisterhood was collectively stunned.

(well, for like, 3 seconds. then it was collectively pissed off.)

and so Pimp ran and got a manager, who hastily walked past the enormous line of angry, costumed women. apparently, the women's room is used so infrequently that they don't always remember to unlock it.

given the enormous cheer that erupted when the door was opened that night, however, i can't imagine they'll forget anytime soon.

**because half of the women san francisco think it would be fun to dress as a slutty schoolgirl for halloween

***do not suggest to me that we could have used the men's room because the line is shorter; gay men's bathrooms do not work the way other men's bathrooms do


  1. you might have noticed i didn't mention the part about the cab.

    that is because later that same evening, after 294 margaritas, i didn't feel so well and wasn't quite as concerned about the women's bathroom as i was about having to get home RIGHT AWAY and doing everything i could to not throw up in the cab.

    for the record, i didn't.

    but it was close.

  2. You have got to be kidding me. The door was locked? Good grief.

  3. i would have enjoyed that story more if it had turned out that there was a big scary monster in the ladies' room, lying in wait, and when the cowgirl peered over the top, it suddenly attacked, and broke the door down, and sucked out the pimp's innards with its gargantuan proboscis, and then you killed it with a knitting needle you happened to have lost in your cleavage and suddenly found at the opportune moment.

  4. cocaine is what takes so long for girls to get the hell out of the bathroom.

  5. That sucks!
    But ya I agree about the Men's Bathrooms in The City! Plus...boys are dirty! lol

  6. Love: Your recounting conversations with yourself, us, etc. Very funny and it illustrates the best of your wit.

    Hate: The lack of punctuation - would it kill you to capitalize?

  7. Valerie - very witty comment.

  8. I'm sorry, I usually enjoy your site, but I'm watching CNN and the devastation that Katrina caused. Even your site can't make me laugh right now.

  9. sorry, anon.

    i know my lack of capitalization is super annoying to a lot of people, but it's just this thing i do.

    see, proofreading/copy editing has been a major component of most of my jobs. in fact, i worked for a company for several years where a typo would be cause for a group meeting (for the purpose of discerning how a typo "got through" and what could be done to ensure it wouldn't happen again). (i am very much not kidding.)

    so when i started writing again (pre-blogosphere), not capitalizing was my way of distinguishing corporate writing from my creative stuff...even if just a little bit.

    please note that my punctuation is otherwise pretty damn good. :)

  10. knitting!

    that's what we're in the bathroom doing!

    yeah, uh-huh. yep.

  11. I hear you on the peeing every five seconds thing...

    Last year at New Year's I heard "Five, Four, Three, Two..." while the very next in line for the bathroom and decided that peeing was way more important than kissing my boyfriend at midnight.

    Oh and my favorite quote -
    "The length of a minute depends on which side of the bathroom door you are on."
    So true.

  12. Damn! If only I'd been there. I might have been able to see some of this.

  13. Until I got to the end of your story I was thinking "that was my ex-girlfriend in there". She could spend 20 minutes in the bathroom putting on lip-stick, completely aware of the fact that it was Halloween in the Castro and there was only one bathroom. How about the gay men's bars where you have to ask for the key to the women's room and it's attached to a 6'long railroad tie?

  14. This is what makes you a good blogger: after having had 176 margaritas, you STILL REMEMBER THIS STORY. I have had millions of bathroom bonding stories--and I can't remember a single one.

    Part of what amazes me about bathroom bonding, though, is the blazingly straightforward HONESTY. From a gender not known for its straightforwardness or its honesty. Something about complete strangers allows us to ask a question of a girl, like, "Do I have too much eye shadow on?" And she'll turn to you, and if she really thinks you do, she'll say, without hesitation, "Yes." And instead of getting defensive or bitchy, you'll (and by "you", I mean "me") say, "Okay," and take some off. If only we could be like that all the time.

  15. That made me laugh so hard at my desk while I was reading it I couldn't stand it. The same thing almost happened to me last night except I got locked in the stall and thought I was going to have to crawl out...

  16. *LOL* Excellent story. I love Halloween. LOVE IT. It is my favorite holiday of the year I think. It’s more or less secular and I’m not religious, and it's all about playing dress-up and drinking and partying. And no one expects you to spend it with your family ;) The bathroom bonding between women in a bar is something mysterious and wonderful. Kudos to Catwoman for saving the day! When I’ve been havin’ a few, every moment waiting in that line is agony.

    BTW, Madison, WI has the best Halloween in the world. I may be a bit biased here, but I can tell you I’ve spent my last two Halloweens in NYC and West Hollywood and still think nothing compares. The SF street scene does remind me a bit of the Madtown though. Maybe I’ll have to go check that our some year. But this year is Las Vegas all the way. Vegoose baby! Y’all should come, it’s gonna be a hella good time :P

  17. lol, I knew that would be what happened at the end of the story!! because it wouldn't be worth telling otherwise. although I have to say that the cowgirl climbing up the door frame completely beats out the surprise there-was-no-one-in-there ending :-)

  18. See? I KNEW you could break your writer's block and come up with something damned funny. Keep up the good work.

  19. i hear ya on the small bladder thing; i too suffer from the same disease. but what i wanted to say was i'm proud to be one of those girls that hardly takes any time in the bathroom... i just hate to.

    i realized that when i was out with a guy one night and had to excuse myself to pee... when i came back, he wasn't sitting in our booth, but i noticed he was at the jukebox. so i went up to him to let him know i was back, and the look of shock on his face at seeing me so soon was definately impressive... he says "oh, i'm not even done looking through here and you're back already? you're fast."

    thank you, thank you!

  20. I once laughed so hard I actually peed. I was only a little drunk.

  21. Please clarify what you mean by "gay men's bathrooms do not work the way other men's bathrooms do". I've been to many gay men's bathrooms and other men's bathrooms and haven't noticed any significant difference. Now the ladies room at gay bars is a different story. They're always co-ed.

  22. Anonymous said...
    Please clarify what you mean by "gay men's bathrooms do not work the way other men's bathrooms do". I've been to many gay men's bathrooms and other men's bathrooms and haven't noticed any significant difference.

    i meant that typically men's bathrooms have NO LINE. men's rooms are never crammed -- the guys just seem to get in and out and there is no dawdling.

    whereas i HAVE seen men's rooms lines form at gay bars and clubs.

    this is a sweeping generalization, true, based solely on my own observation.

  23. please. i'm from madison. home of the halloween riots. san fran's got nothing.


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