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December 02, 1999 - Image 46

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-12-02

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68 - The Michig Daily - Weekend, etc. 1gazine - Thursday, Decem* 2, 1999






The chigan Daily - Weekenoetc. Magazine --




Swarming among what seems like
chaos but is really just the end-of-
semester effects, students can get
bogged down in the approach of due
dates, making the finish line seem
as if it's an extra mile away.
Students should 'go that extra
mile' like so many teachers have
encouraged and praised their best
So in the course of abating the
downpour of last-minute papers
(and snow), mending next year's
scheduling glitches and sorting
through what now appear to be
archaic class notes to prepare for
finals, a few trailblazing students
might go that extra mile and study a
person's tale never read before; take
a breath and read between the lines.
For female students, each day the
Mason Hall women's restroom
relieves physical needs and satisfies
mental concerns. After all, the bath-
room stalls serve hundreds of
women daily. Eventually, just about
everyone shows up.
Though walking to the bathroom
can seem an indiscreet trip - once
within the walls of the stall, there is
no choice but to read the dialogue
on the stall written by so many
women - soon the bathroom visitor
no longer eschews her anonymity,
for on the stalls rests engrossing
dialogue and personal memoirs to
be read.
"I read romantic novels, is there
anything wrong with that?" I can

imagine a freshman asking this
question; I picture a sheltered inno-
cence in the
author of this
Maybe she
wants to make
sure that she
isn't the only
person finding
reading plea-
sure in sexual-
ly explicit
books. I am
tempted to tell Nicole
her to read
Judy Blume's Pearl
"Forever", and
then she'll State of
realize how the Arts
many girls
enjoy books
containing sultry descriptions.
Spending just a few minutes in a
women's bathroom stall, or rather, a
women's "sanctuary" is therapeutic
Impulsively challenging peoples'
perceptions of their realities, vul-
nerable thoughts are cast onto the
stall. The words seems to breathe a
delicate release of sincerity in hopes
of receiving a prophesy from an
unknown listener. Sometimes they
"Keep breathing. If women use
their intelligence, they'll prove their
intuition." This piece of advice
serves to inspire a fellow student of
mine. And it beats the 1950's, TV-

dinner-era style of advice offered by
the notorious byline of Abigail Van
Buren, syndicatedly known as "Dear
In the bathroom, people aren't
forced to gorge themselves on the
over-consumption of fake altruism
that is debasing today's society.
After suffering through every
infomercial claiming to ignite one's
positive psychic channels and each
new self-help product which is real-
ly a money-making scheme, the
most faithful words of advice are
received when people take that extra
effort to notice what's right ahead of
The letters on the bathroom stalls
enable a better option for personal
expression than publicly submitting
insecurities for all members of soci-
ety to analyze.
Writing bathroom messages has
developed into a culture for women
who have burnt their tongues on all
the blase "coffee talk" in this world.
These females write on the stalls
to make the private public, but their
exposed messages can still remain
in a private domain.
Releasing uncensored secrets for
only other women to see, these writ-
ers safely seek help, for they are
shielded from admitting an identity,
from threatening peer competition
and from the demand for political
The women's bathroom is more
than a public service of conve-
nience. It's like the unassuming
-1 geode, protecting its inner gem -
pure and raw.
"What if you know you're not a
lesbian, but you have a crush on a
woman?" The individual who
claims a section of the stall wants
other women's attention and sugges-
This place, constantly echoing
the sound of flushing water, is a
haven for cleansing the self. The
bathroom stalls breed female per-
spectives - unbiased and unre-

"How can you be so in love with
someone and one day it just fades
away?" She receives her response
from a fellow nameless voice, "I
say, if it was truly love, it would
never fade away. If it does, rethink
what you thought you had."
This collection of abandoned
female voices that wildly covers the
naked space on the stalls is a mas-
querade of diverse activities -
questions, answers, advice, philoso-
phies. arguments, conversations.

discusses bathroom talk, but no one
pretends it's invisible.
Even for women who are disaffil-
iated from the writing on the stalls,
these intimate messages eventually
become part of their bathroom ritu-
als. Open-ended inquiries such as,
"Anyone interested in God?" invite
reaction from anyone. And next to
this question is a poem written by
T.S. Eliot. These stalls never cease
to provoke, reassure, or at least,
Public bathrooms usually become

-' F
Photo Illustration by JESSICA JOHNSON/DAILY
LSA senior Sarah Eaton writes one of poet Ezra Pound's poems on a stall.

I think that, along with baseball,
apple pie and stepmoms, the
teenage garage band is an American
Pretty much everyone has a friend
who played in a band at some point
in their high
school life
They're the
one that always
begins nostal-
gic stories with
"Yeah, one
time, when I
was jamming
with my
band..." Kind
of like that
flute gr n
" gA m e rl ea n Chris Kula
Pie," only real- U
Most of those Ann Arbor
aspiring rockers
trade in their guitar picks or drum-
sticks for textbooks and beer bongs
and follow the grander pursuits of a
college education. Others, much to the
chagrin of their parents, never leave
the basement stage and end up playing
with the same group of guys until
they're 40, always waiting for "the
audience who really gets what we're
doing, you know, man?"
And some poor schmucks end up
writing a humor column in a news-
paper. "Hi, my name is Chris Kula,
and I played in a garage band."
Yeah, I admit it: I spent the latter
part of my high school days playing
drums in a laughable five-piece
ensemble called The Jive Prophets.
Good name, horrible band. We
would rock out in nothing but the
finest parking lots, church family
centers and living rooms of
Kentwood, Mich - you know, the
really prestigious gigs.
Now I consider myself a pretty
funky drummer these days and I still
play around whenever I get the
chance, but I can very easily
remember the dark days of plaster-
ing my suburban hometown with
flyers for a coffeehouse show that
ended up drawing upwards of seven
people (and that figure included
about two of our loving mothers).
So I thought that I'd share some of

the insights I collected during my
tenure as a garage superstar with
anyone who's ever claimed to be in
"an up and coming local band."
Listen up, legends-in-training, these
are the musts:
Find a name that evokes a
unique image.
If your specialty is blinding-speed
thrash metal, a name like Rabid
Death would suit you just fine. And
if all the thrashers in your band
happen to be Jewish, you could
always go with Rabbi Death. Or if
vacuous, candy-coated pop is your
thing, you might want to think about
something like, oh, I don't know,
Goo Goo Dolls.
Of the band names I've come
across in the recent past, my person-
al favorite is that of a group from
Kalamazoo called Beowulf
Scantron Test - every 11th grader
in the nation can relate. A close sec-
ond goes to the guys from Sexual
Chocolate (Pop quiz: What Eddie
Murphy movie does that name refer-
In publicizing your band,
always refer to your sound as "inno-
vative," exciting" and "completely
original," and let people know that
you are "quickly making a name for
yourself in the world of (insert
genre here)."
Just don't be surprised when
you're talking to the bearded rhythm
guitarist from another local band
and he tells you his band's style is
"totally innovative het really excit-
ing with songs that are completely
original" and that his band is
"quickly making a name for itself in
the world of jam bands."
It's probably just a quirky coinci-
dence, kind of like how every other
band also seems to have their "first
full-length album currently in the
works" or are "currently in the plan-
ning stages of their first national
U In the world of rock 'n' roll,
you must look the part.
For modern alterna-rock outfits,
this means: Short, spiky hair; thick,
black-framed glasses (preferably
with yellow-tinted lenses); clunky
black boots; and tight, shiny, but-
ton-down shirts. There's a rumor

going around that Warner Bros. is
giving out record deals on the basis
of clever facial hair, so get creative
with the Mach 3.
Hippie rockers, you must wear:
Birkenstocks, year-round without fail,
even in the cold rain and snow; stained
khaki shorts in the summer, stained
khaki pants in the winter; a ratty
Grateful Dead tour t-shirt circa 1989;
and a hemp necklace thick enough to
strangle a fully grown llama.
Ska kids? It's simple: Pants so
large they block out the rays of the
sun, causing it to be too dark to see
your mock Star Wars t-shirt that
reads "Use the Skank, Luke
Interestingly enough, the black-
hooded sweatshirt is virtually the only

article of clothing that can traverse
basically any musical setting, from
indie rock to trance. Except, that is, for
Celtic musicians, who are forever clad
in green suits and derby hats and spend
their days skipping around with sham-
rocks in their hands, singing and
whistling gaily about how squeaky
clean they are because of their favorite
brand of soap.
Find yourself a female bass player.
This suggestion is for the male-
dominated funk-rock bands who are
looking to add something special to
their style. A girl who can hold her
own in the guy's world of the funk
and lay down some serious grooves
is, in my mind, quite possibly the
most appealing rock 'n' roll image I
can dream of - there's just some-

1217 PROSPECT ANN ARBOR 665-1771
p:wit his ad.
- http'Jlwww.tshirtstudio.com

"Smash the KKK, strive for social
justice." Testimonies of women's
secrets spill into the room; it's a
separate community that bears blunt
truths and honest guidance. No one


sort of a last resort for those people
who can't make it to their own facil-
ities in time.
There is that disgusting chance
that you could end up going into a
stall while your teacher is partici-
pating in the same human act on the
other side of the wall - a very
uncomfortable situation.
But once sitting on the toilet, you
might read a question that you
would never ask but always wanted
to know. "Is it normal if I haven't
had an orgasm?"
The public bathroom suddenly
feels more like home. In these stalls,
women can silently make deep con-
fessions to strangers in hopes of
gaining another female's insight.
You could become a regular just
like this woman who follows the
sagas on her stall. She writes,
"When did this stall stop being
(All- quotations taken from the
ground floor bathroom stalls in the
Mason Hall women's bathroom.)
-Nicole Pearl is a eekend, etc.
editor. Contact her at pearln@



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