Toilet logic

{ Wednesday, March 4, 2009 }

About two years ago, my housemate (who is also my husband) staged a domestic revolution. He no longer lowered the toilet seat.

He clarified for me that hinting, straightforward statements of preference, and sullen looks (the last after butt-first plunges into an open bowl) were not only of no use but were logically unfounded. This is how the conversation went over a few weeks.

Me: Please put the seat down.
Him: Think about it. Why?
Me: If I go in at night, I fall in.
Him: Learn to look first.

Me: Then let's both put the cover down, for hygiene.
Him: See Mythbusters.
Me: It's gross.
Him: It's ceramic. I have to touch it, why shouldn't you?
Me: Well, from courtesy, then, or just to make me happy.
Him: Why do you deserve more courtesy than me?

That last question stopped me cold. Why, indeed? Why should I not have to touch a toilet seat, but he has to? Why would I assume it was more icky or troublesome for me to lower a seat than it was for him to lift it? Why should he have to look first but I shouldn't be expected to? On what basis did I deserve being spared this tiny bit of annoyance -- one that I insisted be a part of his everyday existence?

The only answer, and it was a cold spot of rot to find in myself, was this: Because I'm a girl.

I was horrified, and the matter was closed from that moment. We put the seats down when guests are coming. Otherwise, my fingers are no daintier than his, my ablutions no more preciously pampered, and whoever needs the toilet puts the lid where they want it. I don't like touching the toilet seat -- long conditioning there -- but you know, I don't assume anymore that he shouldn't mind it. And I learned to look first.


Mary said...

No, I'm thinking that the whole "not falling in" thing is a good enough reason. In our house, the lid comes down as well because we have 2 cats who are stupid... and sometimes the bathroom door isn't closed completely when said room is not in use, so this is another line of defense.
The lid down thing also means that BOTH of us have to touch the thing, so no man/woman favoritism going on there.

Jess said...

I'm with Mary- not falling in is a valid reason. You need to train him to pee sitting down.

eloriane said...

Also, men pee FACING the toilet. They HAVE to see it before they start peeing, by definition, in order to aim. However, when I (as a woman) sit down to pee, I am facing AWAY from the toilet, and I generally don't see the toilet itself until I'm done and I turn around to flush. So the odds of a woman failing to notice are much higher than the odds of a man doing so, due to biological differences.

You could compromise by always leaving the lid down in addition to the seat. It's still a really awkward experience to sit down and suddenly find there's nothing under you, but at least you're not falling into the dirty toilet water. Plus, you don't have to worry about noticing whether it's safe to sit or not-- if you ALWAYS have to lift the lid to pee, it'll become a habit, and you won't even accidentally sit on the lid any more. The "work" is even, too-- he can lift the lid and the seat at the same time, making it basically the same action as you lifting just the lid.

rowmyboat said...

A lowered lid prevents things from falling in. It also means that each person who uses the toilet has to both raise and lower something to do so. It also looks tidier -- like closing kitchen cabinets.

a.pai said...

Ha! Wet cat prevention, now that's a good reason. Our cat took a dive into a full bathtub once - fortunately not scalding. She's never been toilet-curious, though.

The "but you face the toilet" argument? "Since when do you back into the bathroom completely?" my husband said. "You walk in facing everything just as I do. You've just been taught that you can count on ignoring it." And he's right. It is no harder for me to check-then-adjust than it is for him.

Cover down is an equitable solution if either of us cared really. I don't, except, like I say, when we have guests, and even then, I don't expect anyone to be nonplussed by the sight of a toilet seat. Frankly, my "seat down, please?" days were based on the premise that my convenience mattered more than his, at base, for no other reason than that I was a woman. It's not a good reason... where there is a pedestal, the shackles follow.

a.pai said...

Oh! And thank you all for stopping by and commenting! This blog isn't what you'd call widely read, so it was nice to see all the comments on post #100. I bet there's a blog totally about toilets that's better read than this one. Ha!

Dena Hankins said...

I'm lucky - living on a boat means my man sits...

shyisi said...

He uses it down also doesn’t he? Or does he feel more comfortable inside the toilet while doing #2.
So just the mathematical fact that the seat is used more frequently down than up should be more than enough evidence to encourage him to lower the seat after raising it.
Seems like a power play also. What next, will he drag you by the hair into the bedroom the next time he wants sex? So you tell him the next time he comes sniffing around for a piece of ass, that your ass has become numb from being stuck in the toilet and doesn’t feel like playing! Maybe that will get his seat down!

a.pai said...

Hm, yes, because using the threat of withholding sex to get my way, that's not a power play AT ALL.

shyisi said...

Takes power to fight power- use what you have.
It is a simple courtesy and certainly NOT asking too much since BOTH of you make use of the toilet in the down position and he is the only one who uses it up. Sounds like you were guilted into giving up too easily (whatever happened to women’s lib!?) Take a stand not just because you are a girl but because it is common sense.
Tit for Tat baby! No pun intended.

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