Bathroom graffiti, meet social media

The back-to-school rhythm of September has stayed with me in the years since I graduated myself, but it has fresh resonance this September as I’m back in an academic environment. Here at Emily Carr the pace has quickened, the cafeteria is jammed and the anxious faces of first-year students instantly transport me back to my own college days. But the most exciting part of fall is the prospect of a fresh round of bathroom graffiti. As I have occasionally noted on Twitter, one of my favourite things about working in an art university is the sight of awe-inspiring, delightful and sometimes baffling images and words in my nearest ladies’ room. Here’s a sample: As much as I’ve enjoyed the ECUAD bathroom art, I can’t help wondering if the whole phenomenon of bathroom graffiti needs an update for the digital age. Twenty years ago, when I was in college, bathroom graffiti served a functional as well as expressive role. The basement bathrooms of the main campus library were papered with dot-matrix printer paper, which college girls used for everything from bitching about boyfriends, girlfriends and teachers to discussing post-modern French philosophy. “Anyone know a good therapist in town?” I wrote one day. I checked back a few days later and found a handful of suggestions, including one name that had a couple of enthusiastic seconders. I made my appointment that very week, and spent the next two years in productive weekly sessions that got me past my boy anxieties and into my first long-term relationship. Students no longer need rely on bathroom walls for this kind of referral: I’m told...
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