Thursday, 23 March 2017

The World on a Toilet Door

WARNING: This post contains two naughty words. Even naughtier than ‘darn’ and ‘knickers’. So don't read it if you're: 
a) feeling delicate
b) disgusted by naughty words
c) the Queen
d) my mother

I have a confession to make.
Yes, another one!
I love toilet door graffiti.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t approve of graffiti and vandalism as a rule. It’s just Ladies’ Loo Literature that I love. 

Because, there, on the back of the dunny door, there is passion, infatuation, loss, adventure, violence, encouragement, advice, art and wit. You never know what you're about to experience. It could be one or all of the following:
  • A thesis on the evils of men
  • A profession of undying love for Gavin Smith because 'his reel kool!!'
  • A pretty poem about roses
  • A reminder of how precious you are to God
  • A warning for Charlene Thompson to keep her hands off Gavin Smith 'becos his mine!!!'
  • A picture of a turtle
  • The diusturbing revelation that 'PB is watching you!'
  • An unflattering picture of Charlene Thompson
  • An invitation to unite with your comrades in a march against the capitalist pigs/underwire bras/live exports/the new bus shelter two blocks away that doesn’t keep out the wind or the rain even though council has spent twelve thousand dollars on its construction.

I can pinpoint the exact moment at which my love affair with toilet door graffiti began...

I was six, my brother eight. We were on holidays, staying at a beach-side camping ground. My brother returned to our tent after visiting the amenities (or the ‘mendies’ as we called them), eyes boggling, bursting at the seams with joy and self-importance because of what he had just discovered. As soon as he was sure that Mum and Dad were out of earshot, he recited the dunny door ditty he had just read - a thing of true beauty and extreme daring, the likes of which we had never seen or heard before. It was a poem that I have since read on toilet doors all over Australia, a solid performer for half a century, maybe more:  
Here I sit, broken-hearted,
Paid ten cents and only farted.
Later on, took a chance.
Tried to fart and pooped my pants.
Not high literature, I know, but my brother and I rolled around on our sleeping bags, laughing our wicked little heads off. And - BAM - just like that, I was hooked on toilet door graffiti.

The naughty stuff, of course, was thrilling to an innocent child brought up in a safe, well-mannered household. The pooper ditties no longer hold the thrill they once held, but as the years have passed, I have still managed to find much on the dunny door to fascinate and amuse me. I’ll happily take the good with the bad, the rude and lewd with the chipper and chirpy. Because a dunny door is a window to the world - or at least a world of which I will never otherwise be a part.

I even have my favourite place for Loo Lit. It’s a particular door in the ladies’ loo at a railway station through which I often pass in my travels for work and leisure. Unlike some toilet doors, the literature on this one seems relatively innocent. There are the occasional heart-breaking stories of abuse and rejection, but, on the whole, the contents of this door are rather cheering. I love to  read and ponder. What has inspired the writing of these words, the drawing of these pictures? So let me share a few of my faves…

Eye wonder if Donna feels compelled to record her movements wherever she goes?

Aw man. This one brings a tear to my eye.  It would seem that Oscar does love her, but something is stopping him from fully loving her. She's had a taste of the delights of Oscar's love but will never know what it is for him to abandon his heart totally to hers. 
And why does this girl feel the need to share her devastation on the loo door???

 I love this but it has created so many questions. 
Why did she leave Bendigo? 
Was it a departure of choice or did circumstances drive her away? 
Where did she go? 
What has happened in the last twenty years? 
Did she promise to return to Bendigo for her own sake or for someone else's? 
Was it to seek closure or to open a dusty old chapter?
 There's a big, fat novel lurking within those few simple words.

And, my  favourite...
Go Banana and Mustang!
I hope they had a hoot of a time. 
I reckon they did. 
How could you not have fun with a hot pink Sharpie in your hand, Melbz as your destination and names like Banana and Mustang?
Take me with you Banana and Mustang!!!

PS I cannot claim to have contributed to the broad and fascinating body of work that makes up International Ladies’ Loo Literature. My preferred vehicles for self-expression are the novel, the blog and the personal letter/email.

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