Women Literally Stopped Me In Bathrooms To Compliment These Outfits, They're That Good

by Nicole Chiarella

If I've noticed anything during my limited time on Earth, it's how kind women are to each other in public restrooms. More specifically, how complimentary they can be about my outfits, which are usually just various forms of costumes because life is a performance, baby. The outfits that get you noticed in public restrooms are not spectacular or unique to me, but the women behind the niceties certainly are.

On any given night out, there comes a special time when I loudly announce that I have to pee. A moment of silence follows, as the female-identifying humans around me do a scan. "Me, too," they announce. We begin our heroes journey. We walk through a crowded dance floor and make our way to the bathroom. In Los Angeles, there's a guarantee that someone will spill beer on your hair, and that the kitschy bathroom will have a line out of the door with a lot of uncomfortable-looking girls waving their phones around and shouting at their friends. And they will be so gosh-darned nice to you, it'll blow your mind.

Strangers you'd never talk to will tell you they love your lipstick. They'll ask you where you're from, where you're going next. They'll tell you they're on a date, and it sucks, and they don't know how they'll get out of it.

If you're like me, you take this very seriously, adopt your new friend, and then become very unreasonable later when your S.O. explains that you can't just invite people to move in with you because they seem like, really nice. Whatever.

Honestly, you don't even have to have had a few drinks to experience the magic of a women's public restroom. This phenomenon can happen in a Subway sandwich bathroom when you suddenly miss being in high school, and all your friends have moved far away, and a lady tells you it's OK to be sad.

There are countless times I've felt proud to be a woman, but especially when one woman asks for a tampon and a sea of hands dive into their respective bags to give her one. There is sisterhood in these small stalls, crammed together tightly, trying not to trip over saggy paper-towels.

And if you're lucky, and the stars align, you get complimented on your outfit. I don't know about you guys, but a heartfelt compliment from another woman feels like the pinnacle of success. So without further adieu, here are the get-ups that have become my stall success stories.

Pink Velvet Romper Layered Over Oxford Shirt, Or If Eyes Are Windows Into The Soul, This Girl Is From The Legion Of The Undead

Nicole Chiarella

White Sleeveless, $26, ASOS

The Outfit: This pink velvet jumper is two sizes too big, but it cost $5, so I cut and tied off the halter because I'm so creative, OMG. Even so, it still crawls directly up my butt all day long. I paired it with a white sleeveless collared shirt (that I am shocked my garbage-self has not yet stained with salsa) and some funky sling-back mules. In total, this outfit set me back a cool $12.

The Compliment: I was standing in line and trying to find my friends, when a girl grabbed me by the arms and told me I "look soft." She got really close to my face when she told me, and I said, "thanks, I love being soft," because I'm still learning how to talk to people.

Striped Bodysuit And Tulip Skirt With Tall Boots, Ft. Red Lipstick... Or, Wow, Jack Skellington's Girlfriend Is Built Like A 12-Year-Old Boy

Nicole Chiarella

The Outfit: The lipstick is not pictured because I actually lost it that very night. It's probably in someone else's purse right now, the wearer too afraid to use it. (PSA: You can have it. Turns out, I can't wear red lipstick without smearing it on everything I have and I can't handle that kind of responsibility right now.)

Anyways, the bodysuit is from American Apparel and the arms are so tight they may as well be compression bandages. The skirt is from somewhere, but I got in trouble for wearing it at work so it stayed buried under a pile of shame for a while and I forgot the source. The boots are from Ross and my husband hates them, so I wear them when I'm feeling rude and rowdy.

The Compliment: This one is ill-begotten but I don't care; it's mine and I'm keeping it. One girl told me, "WOW, I love your skirt!" to which I replied the requisite, "Thanks, it has pockets."

But then I realized I lied. Those little flaps are a beautiful farce told to the masses for the sake of the silhouette. Frankly, I would prefer actual pockets to illusory detailing.

Velvet Leggings And Striped Bodysuit That I Threw A Sweater Over To Look A Little Less Flashdance Or, This Girl Sure Loves Flashdance And Is Bad At Hiding It

Nicole Chiarella

Velvet Leggings, $10, H&M

The Outfit: The velvet leggings were a hand-me-down from my best friend who is a Real Business Lady and can't wear velvet leggings anymore. But I can. Anyway, I wore those bad boys over a red bodysuit that will one day inevitably bust open and flash everyone, so to counteract it I wore a big grey sweater and tied my hair into a knot. You may be thinking: This girl owns a lot of velvet and bodysuits. Is she ever comfortable? The answer is: For about 20 minutes, and until I have to pee. Then, everything is terrible and the rest of the night is me trying to convince everyone to go home.

The Compliment: I was dancing in the bathroom, holding several purses, while my friends took advantage of the facilities. A lady told me I looked like "fun". It was really loud in there, so I'm pretty sure I yelled "WHAT" directly into her ear drums seven times.

Green Overalls And Kaitlyn Gaffney's White Sweater Ft. Velvet Slippies Or, Finally, Real Flippin' Pockets

Nicole Chiarella

Pink Velvet Loafers, $16, Missguided

The Outfit: These overalls are from Pac Sun and the cargo pockets are fully functional. I repeat, fully functional. This is not a drill.

The sweater is from a friend and I'm never giving it back. Sorry, Kaitlyn. It's not personal. The shoes are — yet again, pink velvet slippers. I love pink velvet because it's cupcake-y and threateningly feminine which is as on-brand as it gets with me.

The Compliment: Some girl accidentally stepped on my foot and her knee-jerk response was to tell me she loved me. It was incredible. I hope one day that they do a film re-enactment in slo-mo, and I'll be played by some up-and-coming starlet who finds true love with a drunk girl in the bathroom.

Honestly, these days, even putting on my human skin feels like a Herculean effort. To have people I didn't even know reach out, and say with such conviction these tender and flatting things struck me dumb. Like, are you going to try and steal my soul now? What's the catch?

But there was none. In fact, the purity of these compliments struck me as some of the most honest interactions I've had in a while. It feels so easy to get stuck in the same loops of thought that scream our insecurities from imaginary bull horns, but these moments disrupted the cycle. I felt seen — not because I was in pink velvet or overalls — but as a human being trying her best to walk alongside society and not get wrecked by the staggering effort of being alive.

Sometimes I wonder if these sweet and generous women would have found something nice to say even if they didn't like what I was wearing. I'd like to think that they would. That we're all just waiting for a chance to put something beautiful out into the world, unknowingly seeking those who need it most. If I have to believe in something in this world, let it be that. That we can choose to be good, wherever and whenever we are.

It's not so bad, under the fluorescent lights. We have tissues and flattened protein bars in our party purses. We are not afraid to be loud. So be the nice woman in a public restroom that you want to see in the world.