16 October 2008

Important Question: Paper, Liner, Hover, or Madness?

I'm gonna keep this simple. You may take me for the head of the new Human Un-Hygenic Activities Committee, but I promise not to judge you any more than legally required by the Common Sense and Decency Act of 1937.

I simply must hear from everyone on this important issue, particularly the ladies, who are potentially the worst offenders due to understandable volume, if no other reason...

Do you sit, or have you ever sat, directly on a public toilet seat?


unmitigated me said...

Always. Give it a little wipe down, and cop a squat. Hoverers make me crazy. They pee on the seat.

Chris M. said...

I refuse to sit on a public toilet seat.

If no liner is available, I use toilet paper.

Weather Moose

Natalie said...

i sit. always. but i wipe it down really well before i make that kind of commitment. heck i wipe down my own toilet seat before i sit on it. my boys aren't always good about lifting the seat. i know from experience.

Meg said...

It depends on much I've had to drink. But in truth, touching the handle of the door to the toilet is more dangerous.

Sally HP said...

I am a tried and true sitter. My mom, pre-zoloft and probably still, used to freak out when we just plopped down. Seriously, the woman has quads of steel. If the seat is that sick, I'd just use another stall, or hold it. A quick swipe of toilet paper, or a paper cover (which would absorb whatever you're covering anyway) won't help anything so I say sit away, ladies!

Anonymous said...

Now I'm distracted by your message above my comment - has that always been there? Anyway, I'd be happy to send you some hate mail if you'd really like some, but it would be very tongue-in-cheek, and it might not be the same.

Anyway, I wipe the seat, then hover (it's a great leg work out if nothing else), wipe the seat, flush with my foot, open the door, wash hands twice with soap, dry hands, then open the door with the paper towel.

I'm teaching my children about the wonders of OCD.

Russ said...

I always line the seat with tp or one of those nifty seat covers.

Anonymous said...

I have, but I was drunk at the time...does that count? KIDDING, I WILL sit after I've wiped the seat (which I realize does little more than make me feel better) but if at all possible, I use a seat protector.

Kevin McKeever said...

Yes but I'm known to live life on the edge.

Ali said...

I hover but I always clean up after myself. And like Andrea, I also flush with my foot and open the door with a paper towel if there is any, if there isn't, I use my shirt.

Am I the only one that keeps a tupperware canister in the vehicle for pee pee emergencies? It's a lifesaver when you have 2 boys!

Jenni said...

I wipe it down and I sit, although I prefer a liner. I used to hover, but I've been pregnant for two years making that literally impossible anymore.

Anonymous said...

I want some background on this. Are you planning some national toilet seat cleanup for women? Because honestly some women are just disgusting in how they leave the seat. I didn't used to do it but I know make a cover of paper if there is no cover provided. And I look carefully first. And it's so hard to watch little ones holding on to that seat for balance knowing what they are probably touching.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

Y'all think a paper film or a swipe of tissue will protect you from the dangers that lurk in the toilet? PAPER will protect you from E. coli or herpes?

Ha. Worse than the germs on the toilet, think of the unclean hands that unlocked the stalls, after taking care of business, before getting washed. Hmmm?

I sit right down on the same seat as countless strangers before me and I don't give it a second thought.

Unless I feel a splash, that really bothers me.

If your really paranoid, get a small spray of Lysol, saturate the area, leave on for 30 seconds, wipe dry, sit with confidence.

Unless there's a splash.

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

I hoover.

I sit.

I once peed on myself in a port-a-potty. I was VERY young and VERY drunk.

I peed next to TWO of the largest cockroaches on the PLANET - in a podunck town while visiting Mississippi. They were so big that if I were brave enough to step on them, they would have reached up and grabbed my ankle. EWWWWEEEEE. If they would have moved whilst I peed, I would have left the bathroom screaming - most definitely with pants down.

They didn't move.

Jenny Grace said...

Yes. Provided there's nothing visibly offensive on the seat, and the bathroom itself is in decent shape. I figure it's pretty statistically unlikely that I contract hepatitis from a toilet seat. Unless I had an open wound on my ass cheek. Which would probably be tender. And keep me squatting.

Summer said...

here's the thing. i took microbiology in college and learned that every effing surface is COVERED with all kinds of crap. if you try to avoid it all you'll end up in a disinfected padded cell. so i sit. and the covers are a useless waste of paper, most of the time, in my opinion...

CaraBee said...

I do a little wipey wipey of the seat and then I plop myself down. I think I've heard that toilet seats are actually one of the cleanest things around because they get cleaned all the time. I'm not going to eat off of it *shudder*, but what am I going to catch from putting my bootay on there?

Rikki said...

I sit.

Since I work out of the home, I can really time my "business" so that I don't have to use public restrooms that often.

Renee said...

I sit.

I hope that settles things for you.

Renee said...

Also, I just realized I told a total stranger something even my husband doesn't know.

And the only way to even that out is to call him at work and reveal my toilet habits.

He thanks you, I'm sure.

Aracely said...

Listen Dan, I've got 3 little boys running around here! OCD is a luxury I can't afford to have.

I'm getting the heebie jeebies just reading all of these comments. Strangely, the wipers are grossing me out the most, That means they're facing it, looking at it. Touching it! YUK!

To answer your question, (ear muffs Al Gore) I pull a zillion seat covers, half an inch thick then I sit, pee really fast, pull a zillion paper towels before I wash my hands, some to dry with some to open the door with. It's not green, but I like to think it's clean!

Irrational Dad said...

I sit. Luckily, the need to do so is a very rare one at a public place. But, if the need presents itself, I sit.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I sit. Can't say that I'm much of a fan of squatting.

Seriously Brenda said...

Always a sitter. Too messy any other way. ;-) I do however keep a lifetime supply of sanitizing wipes in my purse or backpack...

Kori said...

I sit; life is too freaking short to even give a rip. The things that are transmitted through urine are SO small as to be completely off my radar-and unless I am going to lick all of my fingers after running them over my hoo-ha after sitting on the toilet seat, I think a good handwashing is all that is required. you know what else? I don't wipe off the bars on the grocery carts, I have never once bought a bottle/can/wipe containing anti-bacterial anything, and I would used to pick up the pacifier after it fell on the floor and just lick it off and give it back to the baby. We also very rarely get sick with anything more serious than the common cold ir a stomach bug.

LiteralDan said...

Middle Aged Woman, Natalie, Sally HP, Always Home and Uncool, Mrs. B. Roth, Miss Grace, CaraBee, Rikki, Renee, Joe, MamaNeena, Seriously Mama, and Kori: Unintimidated by your overwhelming numbers, I'm actually shuddering repeatedly just thinking of your answers and what I should say in response.

You are braver and freer souls than I.

Middle Aged Woman, I wouldn't know, but it stands to reason-- you've got some people to stir you up in the comments below.

Natalie, any chance you can bring some of those stand-up toilets back with you from Turkey to spread around this country like Jenny Toiletseed?

Mrs. B. Roth, the toilet water is undoubtedly the cleanest thing in the entire bathroom, so I can't imagine you worrying so much about the splashes vs. what you've sat right down on or in.

CaraBee, I believe the scientific name is Ickipoopilus Cootynastilus.

And Renee, you feel uninhibited and unthreatened because I may or may not exist out here in the ether.

However, I assure you that I very much do exist, and I will never forget this revelation (or stop judging you for it) as long as I live.

P.S. Prepare for your husband to gasp in horror at this fact, never look at you the same way again, and possibly even start lining his home toilet. His HOME, Renee! How could you??

Prefers Her Fantasy Life: I agree that it's very risky, germwise, and I don't enjoy it. But I can wash my hands right then much more easily than my backside... or my brain.

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact!: Wow, I think you just provided at least a year's worth of nightmares for most of my readers, and you could potentially shut down the entire Port-O-Potty industry for good just by spreading that story around.

Summer: I heartily agree with you in spirit, but I make a distinct exception for public bathrooms. I will gladly continue to waste pounds of paper to spare myself that horror. I believe I've saved this planet enough waste to afford this luxury without guilt.

By the way, if you took microbiology, you might like Karen's blog.

Chris, Russ, and Threeboys1mommy: High five!!

Although, Threeboys1mommy (can I call you 3b1m?), I'd like to see you cut back a bit on the waste. Errr, I of course don't actually mean "see" youm, since I promise I'm not into that... and you know what I mean by "waste"...

hmmm, this didn't come out right at all.

Christy and Jenni: Low five.

Mary: I'm planning on rigidly enforcing the longstanding tradition of separate bathrooms for men and women. Women won't have to waste time wiping that much more urine off of the toilet seat, floor, walls, and mirrors, and men won't have to die horrible deaths from E. Coli and Hantavirus.

ali: You'll have to discuss this with Middle Aged Woman-- while I'm sure she would appreciate your efforts to clean up, you probably have an uphill battle in avoiding a passionate lecture.

We don't have a Tupperware container in the car, because the permanent metal images would probably bar me from ever eating out of one again, but we do have one of those kidney-shaped trays from the hospital.

I believe they're meant for whatever undesirable substances your body can produce before you are able to get somewhere more appropriate, but regardless, they're ready for anything my kids can dish out. Eww... "dish".

Andrea's Sweet Life: Nope, I just added that message, since I've been consumed with guilt at my backlog (in many areas of life) lately.

I'm with you except for the double hand-washing. It's hard to explain to my son why I'd use my foot to flush the toilet, no matter how awkwardly it has to be done, when he would readily use his teeth to do it.

By my count, we're looking at a tally of 8 against and 16 for (insanity).

However, in this particular poll, the pollster has instituted a vote-matching rule wherein the votes against are doubled, bring the actual tally to a draw of 16 vs. 16. Too close to call at this point!

Sass Pizzazz said...

I sit, too. I guess because I'm a)adventurous and b)too lazy to go through all the rigamarole that some of the other commenters do. Seat covers seem wasteful and probably useless, and it's honestly never occurred to me to wipe it down with toilet paper - if there's nothing visible to wipe up, why waste the paper? And if there *is* something to wipe up, who wants to touch it? Two more quick thoughts: 1)those germs are really only coming into contact with buttcheek and thigh, which are not exactly prime locations for germies to enter your body, I don't think; and 2)as a woman, I pee about 90 times a day, and I'm far too busy (ha!) to waste all my time cleaning public toilets.

You know, I just realized that probably the reason for the long line outside of women's bathrooms is all the women in there that have to take 10 min to build a toilet paper nest before they do their business.

James said...

I do sit when necessary, sans paper prophylactic. Mythbusters and Penn and Teller's Bullshit! both did experiments related to this issue, and sure enough, the toilet seat and your bum are generally cleaner than most surfaces you touch. And if SFX guys and magicians pretending to be science-y say so on TV, that's all the convincing I need!

Jodi said...

I'm a sitter. Can't stand squatters, they piss all over the seat!

Issa said...

Yeah, I do. I wipe it generally first. But I've just never been very scared of germs.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this is what I am delurking for, but I am a sitter, and proud of it. I am with the camp that gets pissed (haha get it?) when the squatters leave there own pee behind. Don't you get that you are just perpetuating the problem?

Esther said...

I'm a sitter. Every time. I have kids in school. I think they bring worse germs home than any toilet seat will have!

unmitigated me said...

Did you imagine when you posted this the passionate responses you'd get? I don't wipe down the seat to avoid germs, I do it because I hate the feeling of getting a wet ass. BTW, urine from a person without a UTI is sterile.

Jason, as himself said...

I hate public restrooms, but I usually sit (if necessary, if it's an emergency) and when I've tried to use the seat covers, I usually end up messing that whole thing up and well, I just can't describe it...it's far too embarrassing and disgusting.

LiteralDan said...

Madness, madness, madness!!! I think you guys are unclear on the concept of Cooties, for which there is no known scientific test (take THAT, James).

Sass Pizzazz: Clearly, this formal and legally binding survey indicates almost no one is building that impenetrable nest, sadly.

Mary C.: Welcome! Glad you to meet you, as it were. I'll be sure to ship you out some kind of Pissed Pissers jersey or something.

Middle Aged Woman: So, if I'm understanding you right, I should be sure to urinate all over every toilet seat I find, as a public disinfecting service.

If anyone objects, I'll tell them you sent me. You wanna ship me a box of your business cards?

Jason: I'm assuming you mean that you can't describe it here, but you'll just allow suspense to build for a huge, glorious post describing it all in detail?

miko564 said...

Dan, as a new blogger, I was concerned I would cross the line of good taste somewhere along the way. You have put my mind at ease, the line is MUCH further back than I knew...LOL.

For the record, wipe off the visible stuff, then sit. UNLESS it's the Monkey. For her, I use Purell, wipe it on the seat, wait, wipe off remainder, and don't let the poor thing touch anything!

So I'm not a Germaphobe, but I am turning my child into one...another proud day of parenting for me.

PAPATV said...

There's nothing worse than papering or hovering to AVOID and then dropping "the goods" only to have the water bounce back and hit you, especially when the water is um, yellow.

Allison said...

I can't even lie. I do and I have.

Am I going to die?

LiteralDan said...

miko564: Oh, you should read through my archives-- I never let good taste get in the way of a mediocre anecdote!

I shudder when I think of the freedom toddlers feel to touch anything and everything, anywhere (except dinner, of course).

PAPATV: I think I can definitely second that. The very thought of this is causing me some physical discomfort.

Allison: Yes, I promise you are. And won't you be sorry then?

mrsmouthy said...

Yes. Right around the time I started getting peed, pooped, and vomited on by my baby I gave up the goat and lowered myself the final two inches to the (public) toilet seat.

Michael from dadcation.com said...

no, never. and i never plant to, either. that's worse than ending sentences or phrases with prepositions.

Anonymous said...

I'm a sitter, as long as there are a couple of liners and the seat is dry. I have a girlfriend that is a committed hoverer and I have gone into a stall after her to find the entire seat was wet (admittedly, we had had a few cocktails prior to the seat wetting). In really gross situations I will hover, but it's not my method of choice.

The Microblogologist said...

1. Thank you for the linky love.
2. I have also taken microbiology, in high school and college, I also played the part of a random microbiologist working in the background of a news segment on microbiology filmed in my lab (I really need to see if there is a copy of it I can have since I missed it).
3. Reading the comments of this post gave me great amusement and horror as it indicated what I already know, most people are totally clueless about microbes.
4. Kori is my new BFF.
5. This topic will eventually make my blog in more detail since it is a hot topic so my response here is just going to be an overview (a long winded one of course).

I, the microblogologist, earner of a bachelors degree in molecular biology and 4th year PhD candidate in microbiology, sit on public toilet seats with nothing between my skin and the seat. If there are water droplets on the seat I will dry the seat with toilet paper because I do not like the feel of the wetness on my butt, the toilets in my building flush violently and so it is very common to have water on the seats.

Summer is correct, there are bacteria and other microorganisms on pretty much every surface, I can't think of any off the top of my head that a normal person comes into contact with that doesn't have bacteria on it. People live their lives unaware of these bugs until someone decides to swab it for some silly "experiment" and oh the shock and horrors finds that "germs" grew. If the idiot media gets wind of it they often sensationalize it and succeed in nothing more than perpetuating the myths and freaking out the general public.

Seriously, people have been sitting on toilets for many years with no problem, then when they find out there are bacteria on them suddenly they are convinced they will catch something, find me one case of someone's butt rotting off from sitting on a toilet seat.

I am definitely a believer in the hygiene hypothesis, which basically states that people are living too clean and this is resulting in an increase in the incidence of allergies and autoimmune disorders. Antimicrobial soaps and such are not allowed in my apartment, from what I have read they tend to cause more harm than good in both selecting for antimicrobial resistance and in polluting the environment. Most bacteria are completely harmless, there are many that are health benefiting (such as the ones I work with), without bacteria we would not be able to live. There are more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Always wash your hands after going and you should be fine.

How sad/bad is it that my comment is longer than the post?

I will end with one of my favorite sayings: support bacteria, they're the only culture some people have!


Mrs4444 said...

Writing comment first, then reading. I always sit right on the seat, which is why it REALLY pisses me off when I sit on a hoverer's PISS! If you're going to hover, wipe the damned seat off, you idiot. Otherwise, YOU are the problem. Thanks for the podium, Dan.

Unknown said...

I sit after I first make sure the seat doesn't have any nasties visible on it, if it does it's off to another stall for me and if there isn't another stall I have one hell of a strong bladder. I am no way in hell wiping someone else's nasty off the seat.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a sitter. Quite frankly I don't car too much if the back of my thighs are exposed to some cooties. It's the parts of the public facilities I have to touch with my hands that give me pause...what are you going to do if you have to go you have to go.

Deanna said...

Wow. I've been a seat coverer for 3 years and I think I just got convinced to skip the extra step between the toilet and my butt.

I wash my hands twice and use a paper towel to open the door on my way out.

The Microblogologist said...

Hahaha! I potentially helped convert someone to the "dark" side, Deanna is my new new BFF! FYI I declare almost everyone my BFF, lol.

LiteralDan said...

I've been thinking about this way too much since I posted this and got all your feedback.

I don't think I'll stop lining the seat, but I'll feel a lot better about the whole experience anyway. Whatever will be will be, right?

The Microblogologist said...

I'll accept that, baby steps ;). I'm thinking about adding a "Ask the Microblogologist" feature to my blog (haven't decided when or how yet). I like the idea of being able to perhaps help people overcome some of their irrational fears about microorganisms in their environment but at the same time be able to take necessary precautions against those that can cause harm. To much of what people know about bacteria and such is sensationalized crap reported by idiots who don't really know what they are talking about.

Either way, this was a fun post for me to nerd it up on!