The Toilet Seat Problem – Solved!

I was driving the kids to school one morning, and stuck in the usual weekday morning traffic, when I noticed a billboard featuring a toilet. Yes, a toilet. The headline read "John, for God's sake, can you please learn to put the toilet seat down!" Indeed, the seat was up in the offending photo. Apparently, a woman felt so strongly about this issue that she purchased billboard space for one week to communicate her distress to her husband, who was presumably stuck in the same traffic jam as me.
The use of the word "learn" is telling here, implying an objectively correct answer that men are simply incapable of getting. We're obviously too stupid to realize that the seat belongs down. But in reality, of course, the toilet seat issue involves conflicting preferences rather than objective truths. There is no correct answer.
Now let's consider the underlying issue here. Women need the seat down, whether they are going number 1 or number 2. Men prefer to have the seat up for number 1, but down for number 2. Let's assume that the average person does four number 1s for every number 2. That means in a normal marriage, 60% of all toilet usage occasions involve having the seat down, hardly a basis for the 100% down policy so vehemently advocated by women everywhere.
I was reminded of this vehemence during a professional "retreat" where 7 male and 2 female colleagues shared a townhouse for the weekend. One of the women came down the stairs and angrily objected to the seat having been left up by the previous user. I innocently enquired as to why the seat should be left down given the ratio of men to women. Big mistake! She didn't speak to me for weeks.
But let's do the math. [7/9 people x "up" 80% of the time] = 62% "up" usage occasions. [2/9 people x "down" 100% of the time] + [7/9 people x "down" 20% of the time] = 38% "down" usage occasions. For that weekend, I was perfectly in my right to suggest that the "norm" for the townhouse should be "up" for that fateful weekend.
Having almost certainly stirred the ire of any female readers, let me now move toward reconciliation by noting one more rather unpleasant research finding. When you flush a toilet, tiny particles of faeces and droplets of urine fly everywhere. They are small, so we don't notice them, but they are, nevertheless, disgusting. Is there a way to prevent this unhygienic phenomenon you ask? Why yes there is! You can, get this, put both seats down before you flush.
This should be the norm for every household. And think of the other benefits. Do you really need to see what's inside a toilet bowl? Even a relatively clean one that has been flushed by the previous user isn't exactly pleasant to look at, which is why a thorough examination of the inside of a toilet bowl is such an effective technique for inducing vomiting when one has an upset stomach. Put both seats down! Problem solved. Let's move on.


  1. I see a GREAT opportunity here for someone to invent a Bi-sexual toilet seat system. What a relief!
    Up, down...both sexes are happy! Yea! After all we have actually sent men to the 'moon'

    The tissue is, sorry, 'issue' is who wipes who's arse? or could that be done via well?

  2. To be fair and considerate, if men can remember to put the toilet seat down, women should remember to put the toilet seat up.

  3. sits uneasily on the throneDecember 5, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    The toilet seat "issue" is symbolic of kind of piddling [p.i.] things that women get upset about. As usual, only such highly privileged people are undone by such trivial matters.

  4. I agree with the double down approach, especially in public places. I do make my husband put the seat down, but I have two excellent reasons:

    1) Personally: I'm pregnant, and I pee about five times as often as he does, which really throws the %up usage.

    2) This one's more general, and I know others would disagree which is why I'm posting anonymously :) When women go to the toilet, we don't necessarily have to touch anything. Toilet paper acts as a barrier between our hands and ourselves and any grossness, and the vast majority of the time our hands don't get dirtied in the slightest. At home, we often don't feel the need to wash our hands. However, if we have to touch the toilet seat, it becomes a different story. When men go to the toilet it's a much more hands on experience, and they should wash their hands each and every time. Touching the toilet seat doesn't change this.

    So there, I said it: I'm annoyed about the toilet seat issue because, as a woman, I think it's gross to touch the toilet seat and inefficient because most of the time I don't need to wash my hands anyway.

    1. I must say.. GROSS.
      You most certainly have little idea how much you really* are getting on your hands.
      So glad I am unlikely to know you

  5. "Toilet paper acts as a barrier between our hands and ourselves and any grossness."

    I sure hope you wash after going number 2, and if so, it's not clear to me why the same principle doesn't apply to going number 1. Pee and poo are both pretty gross.

    Also, you ladies would be surprised at how often we men don't touch anything when we go number 1. Just pull your fly open and let it fall out I say. Sure, our accuracy is compromised a bit, but it allows us to drink a beer and read the sports page at the same time - and yes, men can indeed multi-task given the right motivation.

  6. In Asia the toilet seat (where there is one) is always up as the women don't trust the men to aim properly, and since no one wants to sit on pee so it's in the women's best interest.

    I guess squat toilets solves the problem entirely :D

  7. Yep, and it's great for the calf and hamstring muscles too!

  8. The answer is to fit a 'soft-close'toilet seat. For SHP's (southern hemisphere people) who may not be aware of the latest toilet technology this is a system where tipping the seat / cover foward,gently closes both seat panels. Most males love the system and struggle to discover how it works so invariably close the loo down

  9. I think Females need to stop bitching about every little thing I do. I go in the bathroom to piss and I lift the toilet seat and don't come out throwing my arms everywhere. But a female has to put the seat down???? That should be unheard of

  10. All us men need urinals at home!!!! That would rock