One Scottish nightclub is under fire for installing two-way mirrors in its women's bathrooms, providing quite the show for male patrons in expensive, private booths.
The Shimmy Club in Glasgow, Scotland, aroused controversy last week when photographs from its ladies' room surfaced, showing women standing in front of mirrors that patrons in private booths could look through, according to The Scottish Sunday Express.
The club allegedly charges 800 pounds (about $1,200) to book a booth.
Some customers are furious.
"I was completely shocked to discover that the mirror in the ladies’ bathroom is a two-way mirror facing out onto the club," one clubber told the Express. “Nowhere is it made clear that this is the case, so when visiting the bathroom for the first time, there are women bending over the sink, pouting into the mirror to redo their lipstick, adjusting themselves whilst unknowingly being watched by people on the other side.”
The Shimmy Club responded to the criticism on Monday, stating on Facebook that the mirror is a design feature meant to be a fun "talking point for people visiting."
The statement went on to say that "its [sic] clear that those who are negatively commenting on line [sic] may not have been lucky enough to get past the door staff yet."
It added that, "the sight line is very limited and allows for glimpses into the wash up area only of the ladies loos." It claims to offer regular mirrors in another section of the restrooms.
The club also says that a sign clearly explains how the mirrors operate, but the patron who talked to the Express said the notification was minuscule and unnoticeable.
The Shimmy Club doesn't seem worried, though.
The Facebook status ends with one presumably sarcastic remark: "God help us when they find out that we have buried vibrators into sections of the dancefloor..............."
Despite the club's carefree attitude, the mirrors may wind up preventing some women from being able to use the bathrooms at all. Recent studies show that 21 million people actually suffer from paruresis, also known as shy bladder syndrome -- a condition that prevents people from urinating in public.
According to the International Paruresis Association, some people experience heightened anxiety at the thought of nearby people hearing or seeing them go to the bathroom.
Steven Soifer, CEO of the IPA and author of "Shy Bladder Syndrome: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Paruresis," is an expert in this field, and disturbed by The Shimmy Club's two-way mirrors.
"This is outrageous," Soifer told The Huffington Post. "Can you imagine a club getting away with this kind of stunt in the good old U.S. of A? Other than all the privacy and legal issues involved, the idea of doing something like this reminds one of pre-adolescent summer camp pranks. It wreaks with creepiness."
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