April 25, 2013 in Washington Voices

Keeping lid on toilet etiquette

By The Spokesman-Review
 

In case you missed it. On April 8, a 25-year-old transgender woman was banned from the Lewiston Rosauers after customers complained she used the women’s restroom.

According to an Associated Press story, Alberto Robledo of Lewiston identifies herself as female but has not had gender reassignment surgery. Robledo, who goes by Ally, says she was leaving the Rosauers when police officers gave her paperwork informing her that she had a “no trespassing” order against her for using the women’s restroom.

When this article was posted on The Spokesman-Review blog Huckleberries Online, it unleashed a furor of comments about who should and shouldn’t be allowed to use women’s restrooms.

For me the bottom line is simple: I don’t care who you are as long as you put the darn seat down when you’re done.

This topic felt especially fresh because I’d just returned from dinner at a North Side pub with unisex restrooms. I had to follow a guy who left the seat up. This did not make me happy.

In our house we have a strict seat down policy. As the mother and chief toilet-trainer of four sons, it fell to me to ensure my boys understand proper bathroom etiquette. Lift the seat up before you go, wipe up any messes or misses, put the seat down when you’re done and wash your hands before you leave the bathroom.

I also had to explain to my sons that just because you can stand up and pee off the front porch doesn’t mean you should. Ditto the deck, behind the shed or next to the fence. I’m pretty sure mothers of girls don’t have to clarify these rules.

Thankfully, my husband came properly trained. When I asked him who taught him to put the seat down he said he couldn’t remember. Furthermore he doesn’t do this as a courtesy to my delicate sensibilities. For Derek, it’s a matter of aesthetics. “Who wants to look at toilet water? They come with lids for a reason,” he said.

However, for some men this simple logic fails to persuade. When I opined on the topic on Facebook one fellow said, “Why should guys be the only one to touch a toilet seat?”

Another fellow opined that you should leave the seat how you found it, while another guy said women should leave the seat up for men.

To which I replied, “No toilet comes from the manufacturer with the seat up.” The natural position of a toilet is seat and lid down when not in use. Everybody knows this.

The lid down rule became more strictly enforced at our house after we got Thor. This cat loves water. Nothing makes him happier than a good splash in the toilet. What kind of pet owner lets their animals swim in or drink from the toilet bowl?

But I digress. A woman addressed the issue this way, “Teach the boys to pee sitting down and you never have to worry about the seat issue.”

Wow! I was bowled over with by this revelation. I wish I’d thought of it 20 years ago when I first embarked on toilet training my succession of boys. Another lady said, “My husband has sat to pee ever since he was told it would lessen the chances of prostate cancer.”

Who says you don’t learn anything valuable on Facebook?

The whole exchange got me fired up. Flush with the support of most of my social media network I have vowed to speak up should this issue arise again.

Be warned fellows. If you use a unisex restroom, please leave the toilet seat down out of courtesy to the ladies who may follow you. Otherwise I may follow you to your table and loudly point out your failure.

I’m no longer taking this sitting down.

Contact Cindy Hval at dchval@juno.com. Her previous columns are available online at spokesman.com/ columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.

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