Last night, comedian Tamale Rocks was scheduled to perform at a bar called Cigars & Stripes, located in Berwyn, a western suburb of Chicago. When Rocks went to the bathroom, she found a two-way, full-length mirror pointed directly at the toilet. So she did what anyone would do: Rocks took a video and posted it to YouTube.
As it turns out, there’s a closet located behind the mirror where the bar keeps janitorial supplies. If you’re sitting quietly in the closet when some unsuspecting woman comes in to use the toilet, you get a free show. Jezebel writer Karyn Polewaczyk was understandably appalled by this, so she phoned up the bar to ask them about it. Anyone would expect some sheepish apology, or some version of a mumbled “We’ll look into it,” but what Polewaczyk got was unbelievable.
Owner Ronnie Lotz is clearly so old-school, he has no concept of Gawker Media or other similarly huge Internet media empires. But when he talks to Polewaczyk about the mirror, it’s mind-blowing. She asked why the mirror is in the ladies’ room, and Lotz responded,
“Young lady, I have in my beer garden—I have a 10 and a half-foot hole. Did you know that it’s haunted. Did you know that a man fell dead. Do you know that we do seven days of Halloween. Do you know that mirror’s been there for the longest time. That woman opened the door. I mean she opened the door, there’s nothing in there. Open the door and pee and do what you want. Quite frankly I’m enjoying people calling, because I’m selling chicken wings.
Look, this woman is looking for a viral video. There’s a big movement in reality TV to be outraged about feminism. I’ve been in professional wrestling. So yes: come see my mirror; eat my wings—I don’t know what to tell you, honey.“
Later on, when Polewaczyk asked if he planned to keep the mirror in place, Lotz was outright hostile:
The owner’s cluelessness and hostility is jaw-dropping, and the entire interview has to be read to be believed.
Yelp users who saw the video and read the Jezebel piece have been doing what they do, whether they’ve been to the bar or not. One review that’s not currently recommended by the Yelp algorithms (presumably because the user has neither friends nor other reviews on Yelp) succinctly explains why women might be alarmed by this creep-ass mirror:
Fun fact: Berwyn is a town immediately associated with long-running Chicagoland horror movie host Son of Svengoolie (kind of the way Aurora is associated with Wayne’s World). This seems appropriate, considering the whole mirror debacle is straight out of a horror flick.