Life lessons on a cubicle wall

If somebody said the word ‘graffiti’ you would automatically think of crude expletives, various people being called names and countless drawings of the male genitalia. Train stations, public toilets, bus stops and side streets are defiled by hateful comments and vulgar language. It causes disapproving ‘tuts’ from old ladies, and mothers to cover their children’s eyes for fear that they will learn the F word before their time.

It’s refreshing, therefore, to enter the ladies’ toilet cubicles in The Hub only to be greeted by positive messages and inspirational quotes. You might as well make the most of your trip to the bathroom by uplifting your spirits and boosting your self-confidence.

These particular cubicle doors and walls promote a positive message to the students of DCU to love themselves for who they are, because everybody is fabulous in their own way. Every toilet stall has a cartoon of a flower with the caption “You’re a pretty flower”. Another wall reads: “your appearance does not define your worth” – which is quite a lovely sentiment to mull over while sitting on the loo.

The Hub toilets are used for freedom of expression. From “I like girls and boys. That does not make me greedy or mean that I’m looking for attention” to “Why can’t I just f*** someone who isn’t a loser?” there’s definitely a door in there that you can relate with. It gives a heart-warming sense of unity amongst the female population of DCU.

The cubicles are also advocators of safe sex. We are told to “Think choices. Think contraception. Think protection.”, and informed that “Being on the pill doesn’t protect you from an STD!!” You know, just in case that particular nugget of information hasn’t been bet into your mind since SPHE classes in secondary school. It’s nice to know that these anonymous ‘sexperts’ are looking out for the welfare of their fellow students. The Hub graffiti reminds girls to never feel pressured into doing anything you don’t want to. Remember, it’s “Your body, your rules”.

Along with being a tool for boosting self-esteem, having your voice heard and getting a free sex education class, these cubicles let you know that you are not alone. Perhaps strategically placed beside the Niteline advertisements are the supportive words “Depression can happen to anyone. Help is available.” It might seem trivial because it is scrawled on a bathroom wall, but behind the graffiti here is probably a person who has suffered and is letting you know you are not alone.

If you have struggled with how to spell the word ‘diarrhoea’ this particular cubicle is your man. “Misspelling diarrhoea can happen to anyone.” So don’t let it get you down.

Although defacing college property is not advised, and you should probably refrain from doing so, it has to be said that this kind of graffiti is a lot more tolerable than your regular mindless vandalism. And it’s not just the girls’ bathroom that is covered in fun-filled, handwritten cubicle banter.

The boys’ toilets situated in The Hub have also been affected by this light-hearted graffiti craze. However their walls and doors are not half as cute and self-affirming as their ladies’ loo counterparts. One cubicle is home to an ongoing game entitled “Describe your poo with a movie title”. For those of you that are wondering, “Superbad”, “The Fast and the Furious” and “The Longest Yard” are all strong contenders. This piece of vandalism undoubtedly makes the mundane chore of going to the bathroom a lot more interesting for the male students.

Films appear to be a recurring theme in the gentlemen’s toilets, with the quote “For relaxing times, make it Santori time” from the movie ‘Lost in Translation’, written above one of the urinals. Thanks to this, chuckling to a Bill Murray quote while standing at a urinal must be one of life’s greatest bonding experiences.

Good-vibe graffiti is what sets DCU’s lavatories apart from the regular, boring, graffiti covered toilets of the world. There aren’t many toilet doors that can cause you to crack a smile, or many cubicle walls that you’ll actually be anticipating what will be scribbled on them next. Positive, humorous, clever and thought-provoking, this is possibly the best kind of anti-social behaviour (but again, it is still not advised that you should engage in defacing college property).

We’ll leave you with one last quote from the boys’ bathroom, written by a very observant occupant: “People are very philosophical with their pants around their ankles.”

Jade O’Leary

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