The Great Toilet Seat Debate

 

Which gender is responsible for putting down the toilet seat?

I feel oddly compelled to preface this with I’m all for gender equality.  I’m of a newer generation of men who grew up seeing men and women side by side as equals.  In school, the girls did bettter than the boys and more of them were expected to go to college.  In my working life, the majority of my bosses have been strong empowered women.  In my own family my mother is the working head of the household, and two of the closest relationships in my life are to my mother and my sister.  My life has been shaped in such a way where I feel  equality between men and women as an already bygone conclusion.

Now, part of being equal in my mind means being equallly succeptable to criticism.  It takes the exact same amount of effort for a man to raise and then lower a toilet seat, as it would a woman  to lower and then raise a toilet seat.  It’s equal work for either gender, yet why is it the social norm for the toilet seat to be left in a position that seems purely advantageous to only one gender?  When really there are clear advantages to the contrary:

Advantage 1: Toilet in the upright position means less mess on the seat 
Women complain about the toilet seat being soiled by the pee of careless men.  On behalf of my gender, I apologize.  There have been moments of laziness, or clumsiness, or plain miss-fires and drunkenness that have led to sprinkles on the seat.  I myself have never sat on any errant pee splatter, both because I am aware of the wanton destructiveness of a rogue pee stream, and because I check before placing my bare bottom upon anything… but we’ll get back to that thought in a minute.

When you really think about it: complaining about pee in the area of  toilet is like complaining about holes in the wall where you hung up your dartboard.  I mean ideally all the darts would make it onto the dart board all the time… but sometimes accidents happen.  Y’know?  And I suppose, you could lower something to protect the wall each and every time you played darts to ensure there weren’t dart holes in the wall… but there would still be those people on occasion who are in a rush or just plain inconsiderate of others who would still make some holes.

Darts_in_a_dartboard

OR, you could simply make the target area permanently larger for everyone, because to err is human, so no one will really mind if a stray dart hits outside the proverbial dartboard.  And then people who really don’t want holes in places other than the dart board, can lower their special shielding to do their business.  The people who are bad at aiming or inconsiderate of others have less to worry about.  The people who don’t like sitting their bare asses on sprinkles of pee will have it happen less frequently.  Everybody wins.

Advantage 2: Forces everyone to visually inspect toilet before use
In additon to never having sat on pee, I’ve never once fallen into an open toilet.  Granted as a male, I only sit for bowel movements, or if I’m really drunk… or sometimes when I’m playing a really complicated game on my phone.   It perplexes me when people manage to fall into an open toilet.  This is not some machismo gender bias, rather the polar opposite– I’m wracked by a neurotic  near-crippling phobia of spiders:

spider-in-toilet-1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

spider-in-toilet-4

IMG_4522
Yep, that’ll stay with you for a while.  

Think about the worst and most vulnerable places on the human body.  Now think of which of those parts are blindly dangled into a toilet bowl if you don’t do a visual check of the toilet before plopping yourself down on it.  Now if you’ve ever fallen into an open toilet, clearly you aren’t checking for the existence of a physical toilet seat or  aforementioned rude-dude pee sprinkles, but more importantly you aren’t checking for spiders or any other monsters that might be lurking there!

stock-footage-snake-in-toilet
Oh yeah, this happens too sometimes.  

Critics of the upright position will argue that both men and women use the toilet seat in the down position, but only men use it in the upright position.  This is absolutely true from a purely functional standpoint.   But in terms of safety, leaving the toilet seat up gives both genders a full line of visual inspection into the bowl and sides of the toilet.  Then when the seat is lowered, it allows examination of the top as well as the sides of the seat.  The movement and the sound of the toilet seat coming to a lowered position has the added advantage of potentially scaring away any stray critters who may be lurking there.  It’s cleaner and safer for both genders.  No spider bitten genitals for anybody!

Advantage 3 punishment or lack thereof
How do you punish someone, for which their actions have no direct or personal consequence?  Men will never know the disgusting discomfort of sitting on pee sprinkles.  Men will never know the agonizing shame of falling bare-assed into an open toilet.  Yet men and men alone are solely responsible for preventing these horrible things from happening to the other gender?  As the gender most directly affected by the status of the seat, it is in women’s best interest to retain exclusive control over it?

Advantage 4: an honest attempt at fairness
I’m wincing at this point.   I can already hear the scorn and outrage from every potential female reading this.  But really, is it harder to do something standing or sitting?  Is an office job where you’re sitting on a chair more or less taxing then a job as a cashier, where you”re doing quite similar work, only standing?  Which is a more comfortable position, sitting or standing?  At a concert which tickets are more expensive, the seats or standing area?  In a crowded bar which spots are more sought after, the bar stools or standing room only?  On the bus,  which position is more desirable, sitting in a chair or standing and clinging to an overhead handle?

crowded

Regardless of gender or agenda, I think we can all agree sitting is more comfortable than standing.  So women and men are both doing the exact same act, yet one gender has a more comfortable position.  Why not… in the nature of fairness let women do that tiny little bit of work to lower and raise the toilet seat to add some equality to the situation?  Let those sitting in comfort do a little more to achieve it, and those straining their leg muscles do a little less to remain in discomfort.  The world will never be perfectly equal, but at least they could be a little more… fair?

Solution: Keep the lid closed

Since neither gender can truly come to a consensus as to how the toilet should be positioned,  there is one position that has all the benefits– fully closed.

-Less residual splash from dirty toilet water ending up in the air and on the seat.
– No splash from errant pee projectiles
-Prevents monsters from coming out of the toilet when not in use.
– Makes you visually check to see there aren’t monsters in the toilet.
– less risk of toothbrush and/or Iphone inadvertently falling in.

However this position inconveniences BOTH genders rather than just one or the other.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some plastic spiders I need to go hide in a toilet because my girlfriend didn’t agree with me on this article.

Disney: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of my all time favorite Disney movies, namely because it defies all of the major Disney Tropes.

Quazimodo as the first ugly protagonist 
Quazimodo is Disney’s first ever ugly protagonist.  He is misshapen and deformed.

Quazimodo’s sidekicks
Every Disney movie has a few sidekicks thrown into the mix for comedic relief, and so the main characters can emote and pontificate their deepest emotions to a non-judgmental supporter.  These sidekicks usually range the gambit from cute and fluffy sassy and sarcastic.  All manner of small creatures, ranging from squirrels and raccoons, to flounders, and little dragons and crickets. Quazimodo has no such sidekicks.  Instead he converses with three ugly gargoyles made entirely of stone.

When Frollo comes in he asks Quazimodo:
Frollo: “Dear boy, whomever are you talking to?
Quazimodo: “My friends
Frollo: “I see, and what are your friends made of?
Quazimodo: “Stone.
Frollo: “Can stone talk?”
Quazimodo: “No.

Unlike all the other hero’s sidekicks it’s debatable if they’re actually real characters or figments of Quasimodo’s poor and lonely imagination, which would suggest severe physiological damage to our main protagonist.  None of the other characters in the movie can see or interact with them, save for the goat.  This isn’t the first time a stone creature is introduced as a sidekick.  Mushu from Mulan originally begins as a stone sculpture, but is magically awaken.  In the world of Hunchback of Notre Dame, there is no magic.

Frollo the antagonist
Frollo is perhaps my second favorite Disney villain, second only to Gaston.  Frollo is not a spell spouting wizard or a magical octopus–  he’s just a cutthroat public official with soldiers at his command.

One of the first indications of his character is when he’s in the French Dungeons.  He has one of his lackeys torturing a prisoner, and Frollo orders:

“Stop.  Wait up between the lashes.  Otherwise the old sting will dull him to the new.”

There’s a particular cunning sadism to the way his mind works.  It’s later revealed that the man on the rack being lashed was Frollo’s previous captain of the guard.

But he is perhaps the only Disney villain who is fueled by his sexual compulsions.  He even has an entire song about it:

“…Choose me or, your pyre
Be mine or you will burn”

He’s basically saying, “let me do you, or else I’m going to use my authority to murder you”   He’s a corrupt public official with a hard-on for a criminal who’s going to use his power to get the girl.

The hero doesn’t get the girl

It’s obvious from the story that Quazimodo has romantic intentions for Esmerelda.  There are even two songs dedicated to extrapolating Quazimodo’s love:

Heaven’s Light:

Where Quazimodo talks about his first feelings of love for Esmerelda.

Next is A Guy Like You:

Where Quazimodo’s gargoyle posse sings an entire song touting Quazimodo’s traits as a potential suitor for Esmerelda.

It’s obvious what Quazimodo’s intentions are.  He wants the girl.  The audience is led to believe that Quasimodo will get the girl.  Yet, at the end of the movie, Esmerelda ends up with the non-deformed Phoebus.  As the first ugly Disney protagonist, Quazimodo gets friendzoned.

What does Quasimodo get for all of his trouble?
He gets to go outside, and for the first time in his life be treated like a normal human being.  But wait, is this really such a good idea?

Quasimodo is 20+ years old but he’s still being educated by Frollo on the basic alphabet.  He’s not even forming complete sentences, just going over the letters in chronological order.  He has little to no education to speak of.  He has no knowledge of the outside world beyond his voyeuristic view from up in the bell tower.   His social skills are limited to the talks with his imaginary friends the gargoyles (who he perceives to be real mind you), and whatever limited conversations he had with Frollo.

Quasimodo has brutish strength; he’s able to break himself free from metal chains, scale wall faces, escape from numerous men with ropes.  Add to that his defiance of authority (Frollo may have been a bad guy, but he was the paternal authority in Quasimodo’s life, and the legal authority in France. )

Moreover, who will Quasimodo fall into the care of?  Will he become the awkward third wheel for Esmeralda and Phoebus?   How long with that really last with him pining after Esmeralda, and Phoebus just having to put up with it?

Maybe Frollo was right to keep Quasimodo locked up from the rest of society.