All over the world, in every club bathroom, there’s a woman who’s about to become your new best friend. Here’s three cheers to the unique and unwavering power of female friendship.
Through the walls the muffled opening notes of Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love sounded and, tripping slightly on your heels, you whipped around, about to leave the bathroom; your lipstick reapplied and a trail of perfume, hairspray and excitement in your wake.
But you stopped when you saw me.
“Babe! No! Why are you crying?” you said. In all honesty, I can’t remember why I was crying. It will have been about something stupid. It always is, isn’t it? But if it was, you didn’t let on. In fact, you treated my problem as if it were the most serious thing you’d ever heard.
I adored you for that. I adored you for caring about me when I assumed that no one else did (why else was I alone and crying in a club bathroom?). I adored you for the pep talk, the intense and controlled way you spoke to me, as if I was the only person in the world. I adored you for the hug that I probably didn’t want but that I got anyway and then, as we heaved ourselves off the disgusting floor we’d found ourselves on, for the way you held my hand, as if I were a child on a busy underground platform, ready to lead me in the direction of Beyoncé.
In a world where women are pitted against one another, where the media describes disagreements between females as “vicious attacks”, where we’re in competition to be the “best dressed” (or god forbid, the “worst dressed”), where we’re told that other women are out to steal our men, where there’s not enough room for us all at the table so we get used to fighting for our seats, and where terms like “bitching” are used so frequently in female-specific ways, it’s small wonder that these random acts of kindness catch us by surprise.
That a compliment about our outfit gives us a boost big enough to carry us all the way home.
That a crack in a resting-bitch-face will make our tummies flip.
That when a strange girl grabs us by the arms in a club bathroom and tells us in no uncertain terms that we are way too good for any person that makes us feel like crap, we just want to cry with gratitude.
Against the hostile backdrop we’ve been led to believe existing as a female provides, these little moments shine bright; a burst of colour against a bleak landscape. And yet we’ve all experienced these pops of colour, these glittering examples of wonderful humanity.
Take London, a city famed for its speed walking and brash nature, where you’re about as likely to receive a smile on the underground as you are to be licked by a bear. A city that so many of us are taught to fear, but that is actually glowing from the light of thousands of little acts of kindness every day (that and the dangerously high pollution levels, of course).
The builders I spend my life ignoring in case they cat-call me, who arrived in time to practically pick me up off the pavement after I had a breakdown on the opposite side of London during my marathon training earlier this year.
The confused tourists picked up and put on the right tracks (often literally) by patient commuters. The woman with the good hair who was willing to miss the chance to perform a well-rehearsed dance routine with her friends to wipe away the tears of a stranger on the floor of some grotty bathroom.
All over the world, in every club bathroom, there’s a woman who’s about to become your new best friend. Most of them you’ll just have for the evening, but some of them, you might just keep forever.
I arrived in Dublin when I was 19, having followed my heart to live with the man I’d fallen in love with, when I found myself alone in a club bathroom questioning every decision that had lead me to a foreign city, so far away from all of my friends.
As if reading my mind, the girl behind me asked, “you’re not from here are you?”
“I’m from London”, I told her “I’ve just moved here and I’ve just realised that I don’t know anyone…”
“Ah love, sure you do”, she said, as she took my phone and entered her number, “you know me, and you’ll call me tomorrow and we’ll go out for a coffee.”
Which I did, and we did. Every week until I moved home again. And lots of other weeks after that, too.
Images: Getty, Unsplash