Leaving the toilet seat up (or down) is fine
By Natalie Serafini, Opinions Editor
I’ve lived with two men for almost 20 years—my brother and my dad. As far as people go, they are neither the messiest nor the cleanest. Sometimes dishes stack up, sometimes the laundry doesn’t get done, but one thing I know can’t be blamed on me is when the toilet seat is occasionally left at full-mast, leaving me to very delicately, with utter disdain and a single finger, hoist it back down to its “rightful” place. Yet, as unpleasant as it is to put my hands anywhere near that bowl, I don’t think it’s strictly the man’s responsibility to lower seat after raising trou.
Granted, there are some reasonable arguments pointing out that women have to—as my friend so eloquently put it—”back it up,” and consequently have less time to check. But would a shortage in time work as an excuse in other discussions? “My car was going really fast, so I didn’t have time to check for pedestrians.” “There was a long line of customers at my till, so I didn’t have time to ring up every single item.” Neither of those excuses pass muster, and I don’t think a supposed lack of time works in the seating situation, either. Lowering the seat literally takes a second, and I’m sure that if you practice, you can improve on that time.
I know it’s entirely unpleasant and disgusting, but the unquestioning acceptance of this particular division of labour doesn’t make sense. Who thinks men want to touch the seat any more than women do? I’ve never seen an indication that there’s a natural resting place for the seat, so it’s not like lifting the seat is something that the perpetrator must make amends for.
It’s an incredibly nice courtesy to foresee that the next person to require use of the toilet might be of the opposite sex, and might appreciate not having to touch a seat that was just on very close terms with someone else’s ass. Such foresight, though, requires (a) knowing that the next person to use the toilet will be of the opposite sex, and (b) being nice enough to actually make the necessary adjustments. If I’m being perfectly honest, I wouldn’t adjust the seat for the eventuality that a man might need the toilet. After I’m done, I’m done—I don’t linger. Why would I expect a man to do what I’m not inclined to?
Touching anything that’s likely crawling with germs isn’t something that appeals to me, and I imagine it’s the same for most people. That’s why I don’t see a reason for one sex being shouldered with the burden of taking seat in hand. Sometimes my brother does the laundry, and sometimes I do. Sometimes my dad does the dishes, and sometimes I do. There’s no reason for any one of us to be blamed for the supposedly incorrect positioning of the seat.