The hidden lounge that is the school bathroom

The bathroom, especially when the cafeteria is full, also doubles as a common fine-dining spot in the school.

Photo courtesy of Saharla Mohamoud

The bathroom, especially when the cafeteria is full, also doubles as a common fine-dining spot in the school.

A school is an academic place first and a social place second. Still, there is something quintessential to many about what’s cited as the sanctuary for all: the school bathroom. 

Such a sanctuary is so special to students that people don’t even want to be public with what exactly goes on within the stalls and tiles, no matter how obvious or trivial the matters are. Still, it has a ‘fight club’ level status.

That’s because the WS bathroom is an all-in-one event. It’s not just a bathroom, but a cafeteria, lounge, and a crying spot.

“One of the very few times I hung out in the bathroom was because I came to school early, and I walked into a girl crying really loud. I was shocked at first and hid in the first stall until I realized she was coming out of the stall she was in,” said student one . “As mentioned before, many people see the bathroom as a private area, a safe space if you will, so I decided to give her privacy and hid in the stall until she left. I hope she’s doing okay now.”

Student two also believes that the bathroom is also primarily a place to relieve some anxiety or fear when there is no other place they feel comfortable going.

“I feel like everyone uses it as a place to go when you need to be alone for a few seconds, or even to avoid a situation or just to calm down,” student two stated.

Despite that previous sentiment, however, students inevitably go to the bathroom to hang out with peers when there’s no other place for a short vacation from the monotonous nature of school.

“Sometimes I hung out in the bathrooms when I was feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and I couldn’t go anywhere else,” said student three . “But I’ve stopped doing it.”

People have made friends and had memorable interactions in the bathrooms through using the bathroom in such a manner, like student four states. These interactions create a sense of kinship amongst random students who wouldn’t have met otherwise.

“Back when my girlfriend broke up with me, I met some random kid in the bathroom, and we talked for almost a whole hour. He talked to me about the breakup, and I honestly felt like it really helped. Unfortunately, he doesn’t go to this school anymore.” said student four. 

Students have also gotten help and advice from others when visiting these lounges, like student five. They are so used to helping students in the bathroom that they have fun doing so now.

“I’ve helped girls with their eyeliner and hugged a girl while [she was] crying once,” said student five.

By contrast to the students who’ve had generally, student one would state that the bathroom is the bane of their existence. Echoing how the bathroom is the worst place at times, they vocalized their frustration with the overcrowding, explicitly calling out the usage of stalls.

“I don’t generally hang out in bathrooms; I only really go when I need to because it’s always overcrowded or messy in some way. I try to avoid it when I can,” said student one. “Please stop taking up stalls when you aren’t using the toilet. We all know what you’re doing, and we would appreciate it. You are the last priority.”

Even with the recent closing of popular bathrooms, such as the infamous sports lobby lounge, along with the clear love-hate relationship WS exhibits with the place, the spirit of the ‘shared school bathroom experience’ persists nevertheless, even when that experience is  something as random as rapping.

“When we go [to the bathroom], we listen to Eazy T freestyle in the stalls,”  student 4 stated. “He’s really good at it.”