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Finding comfort in a bathroom mirror

Mask on or off, you can still flex in bathroom selfies.

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Since the pandemic set in and shut us all inside for what felt like an endless period of time, my camera roll has been bare. No footage of late-night debauchery, no shaky unidentifiable faces, no bathroom selfies. It was a void in my life I didn’t know I was missing until I made my way back to the bar sooner than I had ever imagined.

A not-so-fun fact about my pandemic is that, like many millions of people in the country, I lost my job. I found myself in uncharted territory in so many ways. Ultimately, with the help of some amazing friends, I landed a job in the service industry for the first time. And what a time to start. 

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When I started working at a downtown Madison bar/restaurant in November 2020, Wisconsin was on the road to a deadly winter. The seven-day average of confirmed COVID-19 cases was in the thousands. Hospitals were overwhelmed and stay-at-home and mask orders were the norm. Nevertheless, some people, for one reason or another, still decided to go dine out. (I’m not here to criticize these folks, it’s just a fact.) As I worked through the winter, guests continued to flow through the restaurant every night. 

On nights when I found myself in a ball of anxiety over going to work in a pandemic, I did the only thing I knew how to boost my self-confidence and patch together a mask of bravery: I locked myself in the bathroom and I took some selfies.

The bar bathroom embraced me with open arms and turned into the safe haven I knew and loved from what felt like a past life. Even with multiple masks covering my face, I still felt like a beautiful badass.

The thing about bathroom selfies is there are no rules. 

No, it doesn’t matter what bar you’re at. It doesn’t matter if others are in the bathroom. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 drinks deep or stone-cold sober. The bar bathroom is a place where magic (selfies) happen. It’s a spot that offers safety, security, incredible vibes, and if you’re lucky, possibly a new best friend for the night.

I’m far from alone in my love for the bar bathroom selfie. One look at the Crystal Corner bathroom mirror Instagram will tell you as much. The instant ego boost that comes with taking a kickass mirror selfie is honestly unmatched. 

Now as restaurants and bars around the state and country continue to open up and shed mask policies, my camera roll, and social media feeds have started to fill with smiling faces in familiar bathrooms. To me, that is the ultimate sign that nature is healing.

A few folks on Twitter were kind enough to share some bathroom mirror selfies of their own. Here they are!

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