The Vertical Toilet Seat

I'm doomed.

I'm doomed.

Okay.

I’m going to get thrown out of the Women’s Union for this, but . . .

[taking a deep breath]

There is no truth to the idea that if a man leaves the toilet seat up, a woman sitting (unaware) on said toilet will plummet into the water and require (a) disinfection or (b) 911 emergency removal through intervention of the Volunteer Fire Department.

It’s not true. Women will not fall into the toilet. They will not get stuck.

Oh, I can see y’all flailing your arms around and motor-mouthing about the time Herbert left the seat up and you stumbled into the bathroom in the middle of the night and encountered the shock of toilet water on your derriere and had to be treated for frostbite as it was the dead of winter during an ice storm on a windswept bluff in Duluth.

It never happened.

Now. Contrary to popular (mis)belief, feminism is not about the subjugation and derogation of men. Feminism is the idea that women and men should be treated equally in the attainment of life’s goals and everyday experiences. Now I don’t let men get away with bashing women drivers or labeling us all irrational. I’m not going to let the womenfolk perpetuate this urban legend about the vertical toilet seat. I am a feminist; one who will not, no matter how long the seat is left up, fall into the toilet.

I’ve done a lot of research on this as well as some personal experimentation.

The average toilet seat with tape measure verification.

The average toilet with tape measure verification.

Now then. The average woman’s pelvis is somewhere between 14 and 16 inches in width (dependent on if you’re measuring the top of the pelvis or the bottom) – that’s just the bone. If you add in varying amounts of muscle, fat (including the despised cellulite), and skin, the average woman is 17-19 inches in width and that’s not even allowing for the curvature of the buttocks or water retention.

The average toilet opening is 11 inches.

Do the math.

[Note (in the interest of full disclosure): While I bristle at the average label, those measurements apply to me. I used a cheap tape measure after a glass of wine, but I stand by my methodology. Since I’m generally described as slim-hipped, I think we can go with these especially since I don’t fall into the toilet bowl – slim hips and all.]

Now, I wondered if it was possible for someone with an especially droopy form of fat on their hind-end to make contact with the water. The average toilet allows between 6 and 8 inches between the rim of the bowl and the surface of the water. It’s generally true that fat spreads before it dangles.

In the normal of act of sitting on the toilet, the buttocks would relax, spread and any dangly fat would depend over the outer rim of the toilet. [I tested it, but will not be supplying photographic proof.] I suppose one could push and wedge the fat into the toilet bowl, Even so, it would have to droop more than half a foot to settle into toilet water. [And really, isn’t that a bit far to go to perpetuate this urban legend?]

So. I submit. This nonsense about imperiling one’s life should Mr. Man leave the toilet seat up needs to stop. It’s not true and generations of men have been nagged to death about it (to no avail).

None of this, however, refutes the idea that men have terrible aim. I mean, really, guys – how hard can it be? You manage to get golf balls into tiny cups from some distance, you can slam dunk a basketball, and you can carry the oil pan without spilling it all over the garage floor, but you can’t hit an 11 inch oval of water from a distance of 18”?

Now, men? I’ve done you a great favor by exposing this myth. While we may not fall in, we do not want sit in your piss. Put the seat down please. (I’m not nagging, I’m asking nicely.)

8 Comments

Filed under June 2009

8 responses to “The Vertical Toilet Seat

  1. Sirenoftitan

    And the china bowl gets cold !

  2. HMOKeefe

    It’s more likely that a man would fall into a toilet before a woman because of hip breadth. Maybe you can confirm this with your son?

  3. Once upon a time I saw a new item I found very exciting. It then disappeared never to be seen or heard from again.

    It was a paper funnel in a long sleeve like Dixie Cups. It has some cute name. It was to be made available in public rest rooms so women could hold it against their vulvas and pee standing up and never even have to come in contact with the toilet seat.

    Apparently, this GREAT idea was much to freaky for our society. It disappeared before it got going.

    I’m presuming that women peeing standing up (which of course with a little effort and proper positioning anyone can do anyway) was too threatening to the moral order and would have crumbled our lives to a confusion of dust.

    If anyone ever finds this item, please let me know!

  4. Re: Aim:

    I would like to mention at this point that it’s not entirely our fault. See ref: “shattered stream,” “bifurcating stream,” and, I believe, that one post-sex bathroom scene in “Me, Myself, and Irene.”

    In other words, it don’t always go where we point it.

    Oddly enough, that “shattered stream” thing is supposed to be one of the symptoms of clinical depression. Not sure why.

    Redfacedly signing off now.

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