Very early on in any relationship, people run head on into the most controversial battle zone of the sexes. The toilet seat!  Since the dawn of civilization, the design of the outhouse and the chamber pot remained relatively unchanged. I mean, how can you improve on perfection. And the idea of flip up seats was not part of that design. Outhouses, due to the lack of electric lights, were mostly just used during the day. The chamber pot was used at night so that you did not have to brave the outside weather just to relieve yourself. There was never any controversy with a chamber pot lid. Everyone was happy to put the lid on those little suckers! Outhouses ruled the landscapes of North America for about four hundred years.  The modern outhouse that you see on construction sites is called the port-a-pottie. Please do not confuse these with the traditional outhouse. Port-a-Potties have all of the issues that modern toilets have with respect to the seat up / seat down issue. I digress.

The core design of an outhouse was essentially the same everywhere. The building was about the size of a modern powder room. Inside was an enclosed bench about thirty six inches high, with a hole perfectly sized to fit your butt. Often well sanded to eliminate splinters. Children usually used to have to use a stool to reach, so one was usually left inside for that purpose.

Placed conveniently beside the seat on the bench was an old copy of a Sears Roebuck catalog (apparently Canadians used the Timothy Eaton's Mail order catalog). It not only supplied reading material, but when you were finished it was the toilet paper of choice for most of North America .

The merchant class of society was not to be denied their social upscale aspirations, so they came up with a couple of enhancements for the common privy. Both of these manifested themselves as the two-holer. For younger families, the second hole was usually cut child sized, and there was a couple of steps in front of it. As the children left home, this now unused small hole was usually enlarged for women to use. Sometimes the step height was adjusted as well. Men were usually relegated to the left hole, and women to the right as you entered the door. Nobody knows where this standard came from, it was just the way it was.

Now the real genius of the out house was the height of the bench top. These were about 36 inches off the floor, and most privies had a two step stool that was used as a foot rest for sitting adults, and as the only viable way for children to do either type of business. That high bench top meant that guys who were standing up could always hit the hole with no splatter. This anti-splatter design would make most modern women stand up and cheer if it were available in a modern bathroom!

The forerunner of the modern flush toilet was first invented in the late seventeenth century by Sir John Harrington, and debuted in the royal palace for Queen Elizabeth 1. (this is likely why we have the expression 'going to the john') This initial appliance held sway virtually unchanged for almost 100 years. In the mid eighteen hundreds, a man named Thomas Crapper invented and patented some significant improvements to the basic design of the water closet. This enshrined him to this day with the expression 'going to the crapper'. (The mythical person 'Sir John Crapper' never actually existed. Likely it was an inadvertent merging of these two names.)

The modern flush toilet has been at the center of most of our improved health for the last century or so. But even with its obvious benefits, it is also at the center of the sexual toilet turmoil that rages under the surface of many relationships. About the only real flaw in the design of the toilet is the standard height. Most thrones of this nature are only 30” tall. .Since standers tended to splatter a lot with the low height, early potty designers increased the diameter of the bowl to make the target bigger. The side effect of increasing the bowl size meant that the bowl was uncomfortable for sitters to sit on. On top of that, people frequently fell in, especially at night if they fell asleep in mid-function. This of course let to the invention of the flip up toilet seat. The concept of the flip up seat was to have a hole small enough that you did not fall in during sitting operations, but could be flipped up out of the way to give a larger target for standing operations. People were amazed at the simplicity and effectiveness of this simpler device, and it is a standard fixture on all modern toilets.

Unfortunately this series of adjustments to the basic flawed design had the nasty side effect of introducing a major point of controversy in male-female relationships. This issue is unlikely to ever be solved, but has been a source of strain on most relationships for well over a century now. As you can plainly see, a poor choice of height in the initial design of the toilet has lead to a series of adjustments that are only fixing the symptom of the problem and not addressing the true cause.

From the mans point of view, lifting a toilet seat and then holding your privates to urinate is not a very sanitary sequence of events. (Most women are thinking “Yeah, Right!”, But lets assume that you are actually with some guy who is a bit better than a neanderthal). However, men have been conditioned, especially when using a public washroom, to just live with the fact that the seat may not be in the correct position for what they want to do and to just deal with it.  Men will seldom touch a toilet seat twice, so when done they leave the seat in the same position that they used it in. Men do number one way more often than number two. About 4 to 1 or more. This means that at lease 80% of the time, the seat is in the best position for the next man to use.  Men are more accepting of the fact that the seat may be in the wrong position when they go into a bathroom Generally, they just make the adjustment and get on with the task at hand. One important differentiation between the sexes, is that when a man gets up in the middle of the night to pee, he has to turn on the bathroom light so he can see what he is doing. Otherwise you are apt to find yellow puddles all over the place.

If a woman follows a woman into the bathroom, the seat is always in the correct position because women only ever use a seat down. If a woman follows a man into a bathroom, way more often than not, the seat is in the wrong position. If a woman wakes up in the middle of the night with an urge to urinate, they will often use the bathroom with the light off so they do not have to become fully awake. Because of this they are a lot more prone to falling into toilets with raised seats turing the wee-wee hours of the night. This difference in behavior means that men almost never have a splash and scream incident (it would be a splash and yell incident if it actually happened anyway)

Up to this point, we have covered the root cause of the problem, and why it is that men and women feel so strongly about their opposing positions.

About now you are probably thinking that there could be a lucrative payout if someone could come up with a way to eliminate the problem and thus solve the issue. It should be worth a lot of money. Well people have tried everything from self cleaning toilet seats that cannot be flipped up, to toilet seats that automatically lower with each flush. All of these systems were never adopted because of the expense and the installation complexity. But a major contributing factor to the failure was that these were only dealing with the symptom of the problem, and not actually fixing the fundamental source of the problem. Most households with more than one washroom generally solve the problem by designating one for men and one for women.

But likely the best advice for any relationship is to respect each other's space. When your are at her digs, just put the seat down when you are finished. If you are a woman at his place, then just take it on the chin. Whether the seat is up or down, just put it in the down position and be done with it. When you finish, walk out and leave the seat down. Guys never complain about what position they find the toilet seat in, they just do their business and leave. If a man starts complaining about toilet seat position, you can rest assured that the woman has already been going on at him about what position he left the seat in last time.

Now stop complaining! Both of you!
Relationships should not deal with such petty crap! Relationships should be about love!

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