Confessions of a Bathroom Lady
Have you ever stopped to think what bathroom attendants, waiters and cleaners think of you? We get up close and personal with one such worker at one of Cairo's clubs...
Being the young, privileged people (read: spoiled little shits) that we are, we tend to enjoy a good party. Every so often a new place becomes the 'it' place, and Cairo's party kids flock there like a stampede of coked up cattle and enjoy night of raucous debauchery where we get shitfaced, drugged up, and just have an all-around good time, which we may or may not regret the next morning in the harsh light of day. But we digress. As we consume more and more of that liquid poison, and a variety of other mind-addling substances, we need to use the little girls/little boys room rather often, which is why the lines at the bathroom of any club or bar in the city are an experience in and of themselves, with queues longer than that of New York's most exclusive clubs.
As we drink ourselves into oblivion, we are often blind to the people around us; the help, if you will – the woman who stands in the bathroom, the man who wipes the floor of said bathroom, the waiter who brings you the cheque, the person who wordlessly hands us our toilet paper or parks our car or brings us our coats. Often we're oblivious to their presence except when it's to our benefit. But they aren’t oblivious to ours. There's always someone there, unnoticed (and totally sober) and watching. The walls have ears…and the bathroom has eyes. So we sat down with one of these 'extras', a bathroom lady at a popular Cairo club, to ask her a few questions...
(This is all translated – as best as possible – from Arabic).
How long have you been working here?
How did you get this job?
Terrible circumstances… I was almost begging in the streets, and I really needed a job for my children of course.
How many kids do you have?
What do you think of the music?
It's not all bad, and it’s not all good…
What about today's music, for instance?
I didn’t really notice…
Can you tell the difference between a good DJ and a bad DJ?
I can usually figure it out when the girls come into the bathroom complaining about the music, or saying the crowd isn’t nice today, or the atmosphere…
What else do they say in the bathroom?
A lot of things… Bad swear words
What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen in the bathroom?
Drunkenness. When a girl gets drunk and she can't compose herself…this is something that bothers and upsets me. She comes in [at the start of the night] and she's decent and respectful and all of a sudden she's falling all over herself…
Have you ever tried alcohol?
No, of course not. I would never.
Are there a lot of girls doing drugs in the bathroom?
Do they go in in twos, is that how you know?
Yeah, and after they come out, I find the bag that they kept the drugs in… And I'll try and stop them, but they'll sometimes fight with me, or fight with each other. That's why there's men outside the bathroom, so that if someone bothers me I can call them to have the troublemakers taken out…
What do you think of these kids who come every weekend and party?
It's terrible, shit. And my opinion of the party itself is shit. But what can I do? It's how I make a living…
What are some of the worst things you've experienced?
Girls passing out. A girl will pass out on the floor and her boyfriend will come in and carry her and take her out…and where does he take her? Tsk tsk tsk… Things that are just vulgar and disgusting and horrible. But you know, I'm sure for these people it's part of their culture, their habits and traditions…and they'll never change.