Restrooms in Music Venues Are There for Only Two Reasons

This is no place to conceive a child.
This is no place to conceive a child.
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

Here’s the condensed version of this story: There are basically only two things you should be doing in a music venue's restroom. They are the two chief reasons anyone goes to the restroom, from potty-training on through life. These two reasons are so paramount that they are literally referred to as “Number One” and “Number Two.” So, please, when you visit the public restroom during a show, limit your usage of the facilities to these endeavors and a subsequent hand-washing (please).

That’s all most of you need to read; but, if this gentle reminder of good concert etiquette made all the saliva in your mouth dry up with the bitter taste of guilt, please read on.

There’s nothing complicated about any of this, but the simplest reason to get in and out of the damned toilet at a show is that we might be missing music while waiting on your inconsiderate self. And while you’re doing who knows what behind locked doors, we’re in line testing the limits of mental will against the most elemental of human physiological functions. There’s nothing you’re doing in there that you couldn’t be doing elsewhere; not so for us.

Reading, for instance. A few years back, a Buzzfeed blog noted as many as 92 percent of us admit to using the smartphone while sitting on the crapper. Most of what’s being read is tweets and not Tolstoy, but still, it takes time to scroll through one’s feed, dream up a witty 140-character retort and wipe. And that’s time we just don’t have, people.

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Because you’re at a show, with loud music,  you may choose to convert the bathroom stall into your personal telephone booth. Please don’t. We understand it’s difficult to hear in the main room, but your current relationship crisis is not going to be solved by a phone conversation in a water closet. If you are this person, just know that our bladders are full, we all hate you and there is a text function on even the most antiquated of cellular phones.

One night, my wife and I were at a punk show at Black Barbie (RIP) and, having had a few Lone Stars, she was in need of the D.I.Y. establishment’s meager yet functional facilities. She returned, aghast at events that were occurring in the stall next to her, namely two persons having a bit of the old in-out, in-out. No prudes are we, coming of age in the golden era of hedonism, which ran roughly from Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex.” We understand that the quaint folk-punk stylings of Houston’s own Radio Flyer may have stoked a loin-burning in these two that had to be extinguished immediately. Still, have you ever seen a D.I.Y. venue restroom? It’s no place for bringing an al dente noodle to the spaghetti house.

Having sex in a music-venue restroom could lead to all sorts of complications, including explaining to your child someday how he or she was conceived in a music-venue restroom. I asked my wife if she was offended in any way and she said no, but she did feel like an intruder, listening to the rapturous moans of desire while trying to do her business. If your fidgeting the midget in Bridget makes us run-of-the-mill restroom users feel like interlopers, you’re in the wrong place, not us. Take it to your car’s backseat, you sexy things.

Of course, it’s altogether possible that our friends decided to shrimp the Barbie right there in Black Barbie because of drugs. The drogas make us all do things that are questioned later in the bright and unforgiving lights of sobriety. And drugs are often done in club restrooms because…well, there’s no good reason to do drugs in the restroom anymore. Today’s favored drugs are easily popped right on the dance floor, or smoked communally in the wide-open air of tolerance. Once upon a time, when cocaine was fashionable (again, circa 1980s), people snorted in festive hordes from bathroom sink countertops or off those rectangular metal-framed houses for the toilet paper.

These days, coke users don’t move in packs. They’re basically singular entities with daddy issues or erectile dysfunction. Who wants to celebrate that with a restroom party? And, it goes without saying, the worst of these drugged restroom-dwellers are heroin users, who will brownout behind the locked stall and keep you from "browning out." (In their defense, you probably shouldn’t have eaten a Quesalupa right before the show.)

The worst of all offenders might be the barfer. The only reason this person has chosen the restroom is to hide his or her vomitous shame from overdrinking. There’s no reason to be behind the locked door of the restroom when a nearby shrub or recycling receptacle is available. Clearly, if you’re unable to hold down your drinks, you’ve overdone it, making yourself a risk to others and yourself. But, as it pertains to restroom matters alone, your miserable retching is a killjoy. And your puke stinks.

And that moment in between heaves where you’re literally trying to pray the entire rosary in your head to beat back the next wave of spew? The time feels twice as long to us who just need to relieve ourselves while you’re sending $100 worth of drinks back down to hell’s bartender. Take it from me, the George “Rest Room” Martin of music-venue toilet etiquette, in this game of porcelain thrones, you are the biggest loser.


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