Photo: coja1108 (iStock)

A restroom is in theory a private space. Some people won’t even let significant others in there while it’s occupied. But paradoxically, some restaurant restrooms have also become popular settings for that most public of performances: the Instagram selfie.

If it’s never occurred to you to photograph yourself in a restaurants’s bathroom mirror, allow me to walk you through the thought process:

  1. You’re walking through the restaurant to the restroom. You have to pee, but you’re also looking forward to a moment to compose yourself away from the din of the dining room.
  2. You open the restroom door, and are thrilled to find it’s a single-stall room.
  3. You pee.
  4. You leave the stall/urinal, wash your hands, and take a quick glance up into the mirror.
  5. Oh damn. You look goooooood. What is this lighting? Are these Edison bulbs? Your skin is glowing right now. You can’t spot a single pore.
  6. Smile in mirror. Remove parsley from teeth. Apply lip gloss. Smile again. Wow, you’ve never looked better. If only you could bottle this light!
  7. Notice the cute tile mosaic behind you, as well as the attractively feng shui snake plant in the corner.
  8. Look at the framing of your beautiful face in the mirror, that colorful mosaic, that perfectly potted plant. Holy shit, the rule of thirds! The realization dawns on you: This is the perfect selfie.
  9. Stand back from the mirror, photograph self in mirror, re-crop photo to include more of the plant, apply filter, post to Instagram.

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I’m not crazy (on this topic anyway): Restaurant bathroom selfies are a phenomenon showing up across my Instagram feed on a regular basis. Savvy restaurants have realized that this is great marketing for their restaurant, as diners are realizing they can share a cute photo of themselves and brag about the hip restaurant they’re at simultaneously.

The practice is so pervasive that Restaurant Hospitality is now dispensing advice on how restaurants can Instagram-ify their commodes, from adding graphic wallpaper to stenciling hashtags on the mirror to hanging disco balls.

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If you love the bathroom lighting, and your outfit that night, and two pre-dinner cocktails have you feeling emboldened enough to post a selfie, you might still worry that it comes off a tad narcissistic. Don’t worry, friends, there’s actually a hashtag for that: #feltcutemightdeletelater

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