[Note: as per my friend's request, dates and locations have been changed. All other facts remain true.]
Two Saturdays ago while at a birthday party at a club in Soho, a friend grabbed my arm and asked me to follow her. She was excited. The air was charged with energy. I saw that other guests were also headed in the same direction. Something big was about to happen.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but we’re going over there!” she responded.
Within a few seconds, ten lesbians had piled into the women’s restroom. It was a small room with a sink and a toilet. There were no stalls. Our faces were glowing with enthusiasm. We were expecting something majestic, glorious, stupefyingly awesome.
Was someone going to show us her tits?
This, sadly, did not happen.
Did someone have drugs?
Not even Advil.
Were we going to have an orgy?
Everyone stood around clutching their purses and fiddling with their hair, so gettin’ busy in the bathroom like the Digital Underground wasn’t on the agenda.
Was Lady Gaga scheduled to leap out of the toilet?
No, the glittered one was too busy that day to entertain us.
Expectation soon backslid into hope, which is like demoting a hurricane warning to a hurricane watch. Instead of a sure thing, there might be a chance that nothing would happen at all, but we continued thinking positive thoughts, like storm chasers who had raced across three states for the possibility of witnessing the perfect storm.
After a few more moments of looking at one another, hoping for someone to blurt out something magical like, “Ha ha! Just kidding! Lady Gaga IS jumping out of the toilet – topless – AND she’s bringing a unicorn!”, hope began to wane and quickly turned into confusion. If there were no tits, no surprise pop star appearances, no unicorns, no revelations about the meaning of life, why were we all pressed up against each other in the bathroom? What chain of events led the ten of us to congregate, hearts aflutter with excitement IN A TINY ROOM WITH A FUCKING TOILET IN THE CORNER?
And thus, confusion morphed into disappointment and frustration. It happened so fast. One moment we were milling around sipping cocktails and the next moment we were rushing into the restroom, like a bedraggled band of tipsy lemmings. There was no clear ringleader. No discernable catalyst. There was no one we could blame for leading us to a dead end, for crushing our expectations of experiencing something profoundly excellent. We were all equally to blame, and therefore equally lame.
When a child creates imaginary friends and behaves as if they are real, we smile and brush it off as an amusing childhood quirk. When a child says to another child, “Hey, let’s go look under the sink. Maybe we will find a monster,” it is cute. When grown adults with advanced degrees scurry off and pile into a bathroom without even knowing what phantom reward they are all expecting to receive, it is an epic fail.
None of us said a word. We simply turned around and filed out of the restroom one by one back into the club and dispersed, mingling with other guests as if nothing had happened. And it was true. Nothing had happened.
A security guard looked at us quizzically as we exited the restroom. I sincerely hope that he believed we were doing something naughty in there, like doing coke off of each other’s asses or organizing a lesbian mafia hit in Brooklyn to expand our turf, because the truth – that we had a purposeless flash mob in the ladies room where we stared at each other blankly for two minutes – was far too shameful.