Overheard in Kilo Lounge’s Toilet: “Are You Taking Her Home With You?”
We’re minutes to midnight and people—mostly expats, tourists and office workers in their 30s—are still pouring in, all desperately looking to unwind after an arduous week of work.
On the dance floor, groups of two to three people, some dressed to the nines and others in bermuda shorts and loafers congregate, their bodies swaying in tune to the trance music blasting from the speakers.
My eye however, is drawn to the dark narrow passageway leading off the dance floor to Kilo’s signature unisex toilets.
Throughout the night, men and women break away from the bar and dance floor to head down in that direction. Some because they’ve had a little too much to drink, others, to gossip. Some to talk business, and some to talk to girls.
Whatever the case, the club toilet is where they go to to let their guard down; where, with the help of alcohol, they say and do things they wouldn’t otherwise.
First I hear the sound of glass breaking, and then I see it.
On the floor of a cubicle, shards of glass lie in a pool of amber coloured liquid. A man in a white v-neck and jeans then stumbles out of the toilet.
“Oh shit,” he laughs. “Mike, yo Mike check this out.”
‘Mike’ emerges from the cubicle next door, takes one look at the mess his friend has made on the floor, and breaks into a howl of laughter.
“Dude, you’re insane.”
“I know. Oh well. It’s just a glass.”
Not sparing the mess a second glance, they stumble out of the toilet laughing. They didn’t even bother to wash their hands.
Red-faced and slightly sweaty, two girls—one in red, the other in black—stumble into the bathroom.
“Were you high just now?” the girl in black asks. “Drink more, we’re not drunk yet,” she then coaxes as her friend shakes her head.
But instead of returning for another round of drinks, they pull out their phones and start scrolling through Instagram. Suddenly, the girl in black squeals.
“Oh my god! This is her! This is the one I was telling you about! She’s the one who made out with a Swiss guy during her first time clubbing,” she says, rolling her eyes.
“Our friends were like, oh we’re so proud of you! And I’m like, that’s not something you should be proud of, right?”
“Yeah, exactly,” replies the girl in red, “But not bad ah, Swiss guy.”
They go back to their phones.
Jack, an American in his late thirties, sits down beside me.
“You waiting for anyone?” he asks.
“Oh no,” I reply, “I’m just observing everything that’s going on here tonight. What about you?”
“I’m actually waiting for my girlfriend. She went in there,” he gestures to the furthest cubicle, “I think she had too much to drink and now she won’t let me in. It’s her third time back in the toilet tonight.”
With a sigh, he stares at the cubicle door, as if willing for it to open. It stays shut.
“Yeah I couldn’t drink tonight, I need to take care of her,” he sighs.
“It’s alright, I’m not drinking tonight either,” I say, but I can see he’s not really listening; his eyes flitting back and forth between his phone and the cubicle his girlfriend is in.
We continue to wait in silence.
A bearded man with a thick Russian accent leans against the sink, surrounded by his two friends—a curly haired lady and a bald man.
It’s not been his night. From what I hear, he met a nice Russian girl here but it didn’t work out.
“She was nice yeah, I asked her out and she agreed to meet me for coffee,” he says to his friends who nod sympathetically. When she then found out he was living long term in Singapore, things went south.
“She was so turned off by it. She was disgusted, I’m like yeah why not I love it here?”
“It’s okay, she’s too pretty anyway. She kept getting hit on by other guys as well so whatever,” says the curly haired lady in a half-hearted attempt to comfort him.
4 European men, deep in conversation, are huddled around the bench leading to Kilo’s toilets.
“What we’re offering is a living experience, a way of living for millennials who can’t afford a good place,” says the tallest man in the group.
“Are you sure?” interjects another man, his brow furrowed. “Right now I pay $600 rent a month for a bunk bed,” he says. “What can $1600 get me?”
“I’m sure,” replies the man confidently, “We rebalance power by putting someone in between the landlord and the renter so you’re not exploited. You’ll stay with young, professional expats. 26, 28 year olds, PMETS.”
“And the best thing is, you won’t end up having to stay with some local family.”
There’s silence, followed by a few low chuckles from the group.
“We want to make co-living a choice and not a last resort,” says the tall guy again.
I look up from my phone to see two men stumbling into the toilet, arms slung around each other.
They’re not drunk, but are instead having what seems to be an deep and intense discussion. That is until I lean in and I hear one of them say, “Come on, you need to decide if you want to take her home man! It’s now or never.”
“I know!” his friend replies, running his fingers through his hair.
He looks away from his friend and back down towards the corridor where dark silhouettes of bodies upon bodies can be seen moving to the music.
“But … it’s still early though,” he then says, turning back to his friend with a smile.
Laughing, the two of them jerk their heads back in the direction of the dance floor and go back on the prowl.