Before John Hughes began showcasing 80s teenage angst, most stories during that decade focused on the antics of – mainly male – teens of the 1950s-1970s (Porky’s, anyone?). There was most certainly a scene where a boy would write the name of a girl on a bathroom wall, which would later be found by another boy who would call that girl. The number would always be prefaced with “for a good time call.”
I always thought that strange. I mean, why would you call a total stranger? Why would she pick up? And why did she always go out with him?
I figured all of this was movie making hilarity, until I was in college and started hanging out on the Sunset strip in Hollywood. At the height of my rock and roll fantasy life my friends and I were at various clubs from Hollywood to the valley six nights a week. Inevitably the bathroom would have to be visited.
And there was writing on the bathroom wall.
Many were drunken missives of how horrible [enter name of guy in band here] was, and how some girl was a total whore…I’m guessing because she slept with the aforementioned guy in band. There were names with numbers – of guys…and girls.
Did I mention this was the girls’ bathroom?
I had the same internal dialogue as I did when watching this played out in a movie, often wondering what would happen if one of those numbers were called. I would assume the guys who had small dicks and couldn’t fuck didn’t get called often (yeah,there was a lot of that).
Eventually I used my brief time in the bathrooms (seriously, ladies, why do you take so long to squat, wipe and flush?) to admire the writings. Some were actual poetry, some song lyrics. There were kudos to great bands, as well as what I assumed were sources for certain recreational “medicines”. I even began recognizing names of some of the people. I was also happy I never found myself the subject of a tirade.
Then again, I never used the guys’ bathroom…or received any calls.
My current life is much less rock and roll and my public bathroom visits tend to have larger stalls, better lighting, and Dyson hand dryers. And I have the Internet.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr…these are the bathroom walls of the 21st century.
This time my life is on it.
I could always say I wasn’t interesting enough in my youth to warrant taking up space on a stall wall. My sex life was less than prolific and I wasn’t in a band. Now, the most mundane activities are publicly visible (though the updates about my 5-year old are hilarious, right? RIGHT?). Sure, I’m in control of it – to a point – but it is hard to function without having some part of you always out there for the world to see.
After awhile it becomes a habit. It’s cathartic to post a quick rant on Facebook about how crappy your day has been or to tell your Twitter followers how awesome the movie you just saw was. It’s so much easier to send a text or a Facebook message than to call on someone’s birthday.
Seriously, who uses the actual phone function anymore?
The thing about the stalls in the clubs is that there was a really small audience. It was also dark. Plus, if you weren’t part of that crowd, the names and missives were nothing but graffiti to the untrained eye.
Now the audience is global. And it’s personal.
I don’t consider anything I put online particularly incriminating. Some may think I over share, but most of the time I’m just being me. And unlike a bathroom stall I’m controlling what I put out there. Sure, someone could still go on a Twitter rant about me but, honestly, my life hasn’t gotten that much more interesting since my college days.
Just more complicated.
I’m a writer and that is my medium to process…to cope. Not everything ends up online, but a lot of me is out there for the world to see. With the daily task of single parenting and living in LA, it’s hard to go see friends regularly, and easier to keep up to date via status updates and Internet memes. I don’t have time to read the paper, so I read Twitter – and share my comments. I even get to “meet” new people and have interesting conversations.
Facebook is like my neighborhood park. Twitter is my local pub.
It’s rather strange to look back and realize that my very public nightlife granted me a lot more anonymity than my current daily life. I never had to worry about a potential employer seeing me in my thigh-high boots, short skirt and leather jacket. Their first impression of me was the business suit and the well-written resume.
Now they won’t even take your call without a LinkedIn profile…and it better have a picture.
My fellow UCLA classmates never knew about my chance run-ins with the guys from Faster Pussycat, or seeing Skid Row in a surprise show at the Whisky (man, that was awesome!). Today, I would probably Instagram the hell out of that…after live-Tweeting it.
Though I’m pretty sure if I went to the Rainbow right now, Lemmy would still be there.
I’m in a period of transition, both personally and professionally. I’ve officially become a professional blogger, (check me out at Care2.com!), which is part of the transition to becoming a full-time writer. I love my new job, but unexpected life changes can be difficult personally. This one is.
I need to talk about it. Not sure how much I share will be directly related to what’s going on…but I will be paying more attention to this site. This just happens to also coincide with my desire to take part in the #31WriteNow Blog Challenge, where I blog every day in August. It’s good to have goals, right?
Maybe it will be interesting enough for the bathroom wall.