Girls’ rules – bathroom
The girls’ rules even seeped into the bathroom.
The 3rd-grade girls spent a lot of their time in the bathroom doing their hair because only they had freedom of hair-doing. They could tie in two tails, pigtails, ponytail with a colorful rubber band, ribbons, scrunchy, and headband as long as it was within the school’s dress code that prohibited dyed or permed hair.
The rules were that if there were 3rd-grade girls in the bathroom, 1st and 2nd-grade girls had to wait until the 3rd-grade girls said, “you may go,” even if no one was using the toilet. Until we gained permission, we stood by the door quietly. There was always at least one 3rd-grade girl in front of the bathroom mirror, and they controlled our right to pee.
Vanity was also forbidden for 1st and 2nd-grade girls, so we were unable to touch our hair or look into the mirror for too long while at school.
I had sensitive skin since I was little, prone to eczema and acne. If sunburnt, my skin got itchy and caused a breakout. To alleviate the symptoms, I had to use sunscreen before the softball practice. I was unable to put on sunscreen in public because it was considered grooming, and as I was at the bottom of the hierarchy, I did not deserve it.
So I tucked a tube of sunscreen between my gym pants and my stomach and smuggled it into the toilet. I applied a thin layer of sunscreen on my face so it was invisible on my skin, and tucked it back, and left the bathroom.
One afternoon, after I applied sunscreen on my face, I hurried out the cubicle with the sunscreen still in my hand. Admitting two of the 2nd-grade girls standing by the door, I quickly slipped my sunscreen under my shirt as I bowed to them, and scurried out the bathroom.
A few days later, a 1st-grade girl who had an intimidating older sister in the 3rd-grade approached me and asked me, “do you hide your hairbrush under your clothes and comb your hair in the toilet?” I told the truth when I answered no. She didn’t interrogate me further, and I kept my sunscreen routine. The damage from my mistake was just another blow in my points for gaining partiality from older girls.