The Real Reason Why Men Will Never, Ever Put the Seat Downby Whitney Collins on May 31, 2012
It’s widely known among prehistorians that after the first Neanderthal man carved the first toilet, no sooner had he installed his granite masterpiece than his cavelady put her hands on her hips and demanded he make a lid for it. Angered that she’d found a flaw in his design, the Neanderthal reluctantly carved a lid, but vowed to never use it.
Little has changed in the past 75,000 years. Now that I live with three males — two of which use the toilet (but never the lid) and one of which may stay in diapers until he’s engaged — I’ve come to realize that my husband and two sons will never PUT IT DOWN.
For a long time, I fumed over this age-old point of contention. For starters, an open toilet is gross! What do you want this house to look like? The back of some Burger King? (Actually…don’t answer that.)
Secondly, I don’t like sitting down — and falling into — an open toilet in the middle of the night. (Don’t get me wrong. It runs a close second to tripping over your boots and your special chisel-shaped toenail that somehow trespasses to my side of the bed, but I’m still not completely won over.)
Thirdly, and most importantly: I simply don’t want to touch something nasty to do something necessary.
For you fellows, here’s the equivalent: I take your remote control and enclose it inside a wet diaper. What?! Oh, pardon me. Surely, you don’t mind touching URINE THAT ISN’T YOUR OWN to get to something you’re eager to use. Riiiight?
(Actually this metaphor falls pretty short. I think we all know most guys would rip the diaper off the remote with their teeth if it meant not missing another second of the NBA playoffs.)
But anyway, here’s what I’ve learned from living with testosterone. It’s not that guys are less sanitary than girls — I already knew that — but this: Contrary to the caveman theory, guys don’t keep the lid up out of spite. They don’t refuse to close it because they’re lazy. And they don’t leave the throne wide open because they’re blind, unintelligent, or selfish.
They do so, because, generally speaking, men are about EASE, and women, the lid-insisters, are about AESTHETICS. If men had their way, there would be no toilet seats, no cabinet doors, no throw pillows, no napkin rings, no decorative galvanized watering cans with ivy spilling forth.
And, to state the obvious, that toilet paper roll would just sit on the back of the toilet. Or on the cave floor. Whichever is EASIEST.
I realize I’m stereotyping. There are probably guys who wipe the toilet down before flushing and closing. But they probably work for the Ritz. And there are probably gals who lie around on the floor of their apartment with the cabinet doors and toilet seats open while they eat pizza and watch Dazed and Confused for the 12th time. But they’re probably me in college.
The point is, the typical guy has a lesson to teach the typical gal: Calm down. Chill out. Take a deep breath. It doesn’t matter if the bed is unmade. It’s okay that we don’t have a series of baskets for our series of spices. Quit freaking out about which hand towel to hang in the bathroom before that guest you don’t even like comes to visit. Just have a glass of wine, enjoy the ride, take the path of least resistance.
Which is a nice reminder for an aesthete like myself. Even if it comes in the form of an ice-cold toilet seat at midnight. So, when it comes to The Toilet Wars, I’ve surrendered.
But seriously. That toenail? Can we get a lid for that?
Whitney Collins is the creator and editor of two humor sites: errant parent and The Yellow Ham. Her humor appears on The Big Jewel, McSweeney’s, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Fathermucker’s blog; you can visit her website at whitneycollins.com. She lives with her husband and two sons in Kentucky, where she’s been known to do mediocre local stand-up.