Sunday, September 19, 2004


The Toilet Seat: Up Or Down?

Alternate title: Ask, and ye shall receive.

Allie Cat recently mentioned that she despaired of ever getting her guy roommates to put the seat down. Since Deacon Dr. L Dazzle gave Allie Cat some advice on an earlier question, she thought she’d toss the question my way. The tender vittles:

Being the only girl living in this house really stinks sometimes. Back in May when we first moved to Modesto I thought "I will never teach these three boys to leave the toilet seat down."

I just wanted to reiterate that fact...and tell you I was right. It can't be done. Please LF, tell me what is going on!

Well of course I will. See what a benevolent dictator I would be? This is a difficult question without any easy answers.

A quick one: “You wanted equal rights, you got ‘em, baby! Lift your own damn seat!” You hear enough about what a jerk you are because you happen to be a guy, and a little lashing out might bubble up to the surface.

A bit longer: Guy wonders why the woman can’t put the seat down. She wonders why he can’t put it down. She wouldn’t complain unless she found the seat up, at least part of the time. And yet, presumably she was able to put it back down and successfully conduct business. Is it really such a burden? Is the agony so great that this must be an issue of contention?

She might argue that it’s just common courtesy, but let’s take a closer look at this so-called courtesy. Guy steps up, does his thing. What next? He could put the seat down. But where is the guarantee that she will go next? He may be next, and what would he get? Lift, go, drop. He makes extra work for himself not only with the act of courtesy, but also later as a result of his courtesy. Why should all of the burden be on him? I mean, does she leave the seat up as a courtesy to him? Nope. And when he comes in, he has to move the seat before he can go. What women are complaining about in guys is exactly what they do themselves. We both leave the seat where it is when we finish.

And even though women are complaining, they’re actually getting the better part of the deal. Sorry for the use of man-logic here. Every time a man follows a woman, he has to lift the seat. Her activities are 100% seat down. I don’t have to go into the details to for you to understand that guy’s activities are not 100% seat up, do I? Granted, most times when a woman follows a man, the seat is up. But there are some times when a woman follows a man and the seat is down. The seat cannot help but be her way more often than it is his way. Is it not enough for the balance to be in her favor? Must it be 100% her way?

What is the compelling argument, that cannot apply equally to the guys? Courtesy? You be courteous and put the seat up every time. Because he loves you? Well don’t you love him enough to put the seat up? You’ve already got a better deal than us, and we don’t complain. In short, why should we put the seat down? Until a woman can answer that question, Allie Cat has almost no hope.

Unless she can make the guys sit-downers. As you may have guessed, sit-downers always take a seat, no matter which order of business is on the agenda. At home, that is. Public restrooms are always stand up for guys, unless in a dire emergency. Unfortunately, not every guy has the potential to be a sit-downer. They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And so it is with this.

The only real benefit of the sit-down is the elimination of the splash factor. How can I put this tastefully. Ok. How bout this? When shooting a rifle, you sight down the barrel, pull the trigger, and a bullet moves along a straight and inflexible barrel and flies generally straight, especially over short distances. These conditions don’t really apply to stand up business. The aim is not accurate, and it isn’t easy. Without going into details, my understanding is that women who have “assisted in the office” generally express surprise that it isn’t as easy as they thought. And so it is almost inevitable that the seat itself may take a few random drops here and there. Sit-downers never have to worry about a “clean-up on aisle zero.”

So that saves some effort. Guys can work with that. Plus, if the seat is always down, the sit-downer never has to move it. That’s another step saved. Put it over the top with some reading material. Put some Mad magazines in there. Funny is good. Plus it has plenty of short bits. Perfect for a short sit down. Beyond that, all you can do is hope. They may go for it; they may not.

Whatever you do, let this be your guide, “Remind, but don’t nag.” Nagging just makes us dig in our heels. You might also make a deal. Tell him you won’t mention the subject for two weeks, if he does his best to remember to leave the seat down. And then don’t bring it up for at least two weeks. If you find the seat down, even once, show your appreciation for his efforts, and tell him that you would like to extend the deal for another two weeks of no nagging. He may improve over time. People prefer doing things they want to do over doing things they have to do. If you aren’t nagging, it becomes his decision. He has nothing to rebel against. He knows he won’t be blamed, even if he isn’t perfect, and he has a positive association with the behavior you desire of him. Good luck!
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