A few weekends and beverages ago, I attended a bachelorette party in a swanky neck of the woods. A formal ID scanning was required to enter – meaning the bouncer actually looked at my face to confirm license ownership. Covers were charged at each bar’s door, and between dinner and drinks, a good chunk of my paycheck was digested.
But not being one to normally venture, I tried to embrace the available opportunities – meaning I ordered the local beer and made friends with the bathroom attendant. Because apparently, when being classy, you aren’t allowed to squirt your own soap.
After making a beeline to the nearest open stall, I was pleasantly surprised to find a middle-aged woman in an apron. She squirted honey-lemon suds into my hands, then handed me a paper towel (the fancy, plush kind) once I’d finished rinsing. Should I have needed a refresher, she also had combs and hairspray, just waiting for my unruly hairs to be tamed. But seeing as I only had $20 and $1 dollars, I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. I grabbed a mint, thanked her, and tossed my paper towel in the scented trash bin.
“Thank you, girlfriend!” she hollered, bidding me farewell. It must have been her go-to saying, I found, hearing it each time currency was dropped into her bejeweled jar.
The experience though, got me thinking. Sure there were fancy bars to be had, but I was more interested in the ladies’ room. Maybe bathroom attendants are a normal occurrence, but, living in Kansas, they rarely pop up … at least legitimately.
Had I been willing to plop down my Andrew Jackson, I would have asked her a whole slew of questions.
-How much does she make on a nightly basis? (By the looks of it, she could support her family just through weekend work.)
-How long is her shift? Can she eat in there? Does she get bathroom breaks?
-How do you gain such a job? Under resume skill what is listed? Bathroom dweller?
-Is she in charge of buying the supplies? Does the restaurant give each attendant a locker for their soaps?
-What percentage of women are in tears by the end of the night?
I could have gone on for consecutive minutes.
But most of all, I wondered what type of bathroom attendant I would make. For sure I couldn’t pull off the whole “girlfriend” thing. (I’m far too white.) But the other tasks, they’d be cake. I’d even swing for the foaming soap, which is easier to rinse than the gel versions. And flowery scents would be out of the question; they are overpowering and clash with louder perfumes. I’d also stock up on a few items that were nowhere to be found: earring backs, Band Aids, safety pins, and stain pens. You never know what type of emergency is going to emerge at a place solely meant for drinking.
I would also have some type of music playing; if you’re going to be trapped in a bathroom for hours, it’s best to not have to listen to strangers pee.
On the list of jobs I never thought I’d do, bathroom attendant could be placed right between “farmer” and “mathist” in ascending order of unlikeliness. But after seeing the task performed, it opened my eyes to a whole new corner of the work field. Maybe if this writing thing fails to pan out I will buy some stock in Bath & Body Works; I could go through a lot of soaps.