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Economic Analysis of Toilet Seat Position 473

Ant writes "The Science Creative Quarterly has published an economic analysis of The Social Norm of Leaving the Toilet Down, employing game theory. This analysis is more thorough than preceding ones cited (from 2002 and 2005), as it factors in the cost of yelling. Both men and women can take some comfort in the conclusion though neither may in the end be satisfied.
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Economic Analysis of Toilet Seat Position

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  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:21AM (#19370255) Homepage Journal
    Where does closing the lid come in to play here?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:29AM (#19370301)
      Yeah no shit, the seat isn't tthe reason that I put the toilet seat down, but I close it because of all of the things that I have accidently dropped in the toilet because I left it up. I think that is more important than if it is up or down when you get to it.
    • Yeah and the "cowboy neal" option is missing too, you insensitive clod...

      Oh, wait ! This isn't a poll.
    • Follow-on study,
      Buried, page 798.
      Essential earmarks.
    • by bl8n8r ( 649187 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:01AM (#19370497)
      > Where does closing the lid come in to play here?

      There is an innate need within women to group a collection of shortcomings for later use. It's similar to stacking cannonballs in a nice neet pile for use should a skirmish arise. The toilet seat issue (as well as the toilet paper over/under issue) is simply an assured way of having enough cannon balls for the pile. Ergo:

      - If the seat is up when you piss, you must remember to put it down.
      - If the seat is down when you piss, you must remember to put it up.

      Furthermore, if toilet paper is to be replaced on the roll holder, you must examine the toilet paper to see which way the pretty design is printed. This design must be visible and dictates which way the roll should hang. (Note: the same rule is applied to paper towel). I do not understand the reason for artwork on something I wipe my ass with, but surmise it is solely there for the reason of stockpiling cannonballs.

      I find it less trouble to simply piss in the sink.

    • by _vSyncBomb ( 50710 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:18AM (#19370609) Journal
      This is a moot point in my household; both the seat and lid stay closed. Even when my girlfriend is out of town. That's because if you don't shut the toilet before you flush, a massive cloud of tiny invisible particles of fecal matter and other nastoids comes shooting out of the toilet in all directions, coating you, the bathroom, and anything else in its path (like say, your toothbrush, if you don't leave it in the medicine cabinet or somewhere sheltered).

      This was documented in a mildly famous study by Charles Gerba [arizona.edu]. It has been amusingly dubbed the F3: the Fecal Fountain Factor [brynmawr.edu].

      Now, tiny droplets of shit and piss water won't kill you--if you are healthy, you could likely french kiss your toilet seat and not get sick, but that doesn't mean you wanna. I find the mere knowlege that, if I don't shut the toilet first, I will be bathed an a microscopic shit shower to be sufficiently unappealing that I always do so. And, this way is equitable to all parties involved--no matter if you are a stander, or a sitter, you still have to lift the lid to use the toilet.

      Luckily, the ages-old controversy is being brought back by the Japanese. New toilets there have infrared sensors that detect your approach and lift the lid and/or seat for you. Sounds ridiculous, but once you get used to it (that is, use it once), you come around to liking it. And happily, this technology reignites the debate with your female counterpart: you can argue about whether Mr. Smarty Toilet should be programmed to lift the lid, or both lid and seat. That is, until they come up with the next generation of toilets than can differentiate between individual people...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by travdaddy ( 527149 )
        The reason I do the same thing (close both the seat and lid) is so the cat won't drink out of the toilet. She has bad enough breath as it is!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If you're really that sensitive, consider that whenever someone near you farts, you're inhaling gas that was given off by decomposing excrement, from up their back passage. Nice, I don't think. :-6
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
        Your toilet is actually cleaner than your mouth. Think about that next time you kiss someone.
    • No kidding. My toothbrush has a death wish, so I have to keep the lid down when I'm not using the toilet.
    • by Jim Hall ( 2985 )

      My wife and I have always agreed to the "neutral" position on the toilet: when you're done using it, put down both the seat and the lid. We never argue about the toilet seat. :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:22AM (#19370265)
    I don't use the toilet. God made bushes and trees for a reason, you know.
    (I'm lots of fun at the office, too... those silk plants sure look real)
  • A better approach would be a technological one; let machinery decide whether the toilet seat should be lowered or not.

    One might imagine some sort of sensor that detects the prospective toilet user's gender. However, this is not satisfactory, seeing as how males do sometimes require the seat to be down as well.

    I propose a system whereby the toiletseat is lowered when the door leading to the toilet is closed, and opened when the door is closed.

    After all, many men leave the toilet door open, though women are v
    • The problem with that idea is that it is not universal that the door is open when the toilet seat should be up and the door is closed when the toilet seat should be down. Many bathrooms have the toilet on the side wall, so a male would be fully visible from the side when looking through the open door, so it would be rather rude to guests walking past the bathroom to have the door open. On the other end, you have women who, when home alone, will never close the bathroom door, despite always needing the sea
  • Solve your problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:29AM (#19370309)
    by installing an asian-style toilet, the type you have to squat down on top of. No lid needed!

    Among its various additional benefits, squatting really helps pushing out number-two's.
    • Or... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msauve ( 701917 )
      both a toilet and a urinal. Then there is no need to move the seat, ever. 100% efficient.
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:31AM (#19370319) Homepage Journal
    If you constantly have fights over the position of the seat, just get a traditional asian toilet, ie a hole in the ground you have to squat over.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      just get a traditional asian toilet, ie a hole in the ground you have to squat over.

      I fear that I have to point out that a hole in the ground is the traditional toilet for all cultures.
  • by Enonu ( 129798 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:55AM (#19370459)
    To all women out there,

    Men are lazy, and when they need to take a leak, they might decide to try out their aim with the seat down rather than take the effort to raise it. Sometimes they miss, leaving urine for you to sit on. Leave the toilet seat up. It's in your best hygienic interest to do so.
  • ... http://www.totousa.com/washlets_landing2.asp [totousa.com] With a remote that will please the geek in every guy.
    but be warned http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2001320029-2007 210556,00.html [thesun.co.uk] (don't piss on the seat)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:55AM (#19370467)
    Here's how you solve the toilet seat dilemma:

    Remove the toilet seat.

    No toilet seat, no arguments, no problem.
  • by 808140 ( 808140 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:58AM (#19370483)
    I don't mean whether you leave it up or down, I mean the argument. I've run into women who are adamant about having the toilet seat down, and I just can't wrap my head around it. Obviously, if it's her apartment or otherwise constitutes her space (as opposed to a shared space between the two of you) then she gets to make policy on all things, no matter how inane -- when you're in someone else's home, regardless of how intimately connected to them you may be, it's just rude to do things in contravention of their preferences.

    However, if you are living together and sharing a space, then insisting that the toilet seat be down (or up, for that matter, although I've never encountered that) is simply a selfish insistence that your needs are more important than your partner's. Consider: when a man wants to pee, if the toilet seat is down, he must first put it up, or the seat will end up with drops of urine on it, which no one (including the man) wants. When a woman wants to pee, if the toilet seat is up, she must put it down, because she cannot sit on the rim.

    Because each wants something different, the fair way to handle it is to simply put it down (or up) as required. Men put it down, women put it up. The distribution of labor is fair, everyone has to put it up or down sometimes and not at other times.

    The insistence that it always be down, however, essentially amounts to the woman shirking her share of the toilet-seat-state-changing responsibility. She is saying that she doesn't feel that she should ever need to put the toilet seat down or up, and that you, the man, are responsible for putting it both up and down.

    Men are frequently inconvenienced by a woman leaving the toilet seat down -- if you show up in the middle of the night, and it's dark, and you really have to go, it's a bit of a pain to always have to feel to see if the seat is up or down before you let it all out. Isn't this exactly the argument most often used by women? Why is it a valid argument coming from them, and not from us? The simple answer is that she wants it her way, and is unable to compromise, and for some reason feels as though society has vindicated her opinion on the matter.

    To me, a woman who insists on having the toilet seat down, who cannot take the trouble to put it down if it is up, exactly as I must take the trouble to put it up if it is down, is clearly an example of a selfish, controlling personality who will cause you problems in the long run. And actually, there's a broader theme here: if you're the sort of person, regardless of your gender, who expects other people to conform completely to your habits and norms without considering that in a relationship, everyone needs to change their habits somewhat in order to make things work, then you're probably a shitty significant other. The kind I tend to dump after three weeks, if even.

    The fact that some women are even under the impression that insisting that the toilet seat always be down to convenience them is in any way right-thinking at all completely boggles my mind. I don't watch football, but to leverage another cliché as an analogy: it would be like insisting that any time she watches TV that she put it back on ESPN when she's done.

    This has turned into a rant, but here's a piece of advice for men who respect themselves: if she starts throwing a shit fit about the toilet seat, dump her. I'm serious. It's the tip of the iceberg, and you'll end up unhappy in the long run.
    • You probably noticed this, but I meant to write "Because each wants something different, the fair way to handle it is to simply put it down (or up) as required. Men put it up, women put it down. The distribution of labor is fair, everyone has to put it up or down sometimes and not at other times."

      Somehow I reversed the emphasized. Sorry, should have previewed.
    • When we're just starting a relationship, we're usually looking for validation of our decision. We see reasons why this is a good thing and that this will work -- we don't see what others sometimes do, that this is a crazy, self-destructive decision which will alienate our friends, and cost us a year of happiness as we extricate ourselves. To have a rule of thumb is a VERY GOOD THING. To adhere to it -- trust it -- and let it force us to make the right decision is a VERY GOOD THING.

      When we look for a job,
    • Because each wants something different, the fair way to handle it is to simply put it down (or up) as required. Men put it up, women put it down. The distribution of labor is fair, everyone has to put it up or down sometimes and not at other times.

      Amen. Amazingly, when I explained this to my wife, she agreed and the issue completely disappeared. Showing not only that she's not a selfish twit, but that she can be convinced by logical reasoning.
    • I share your pet peeve and using that very same logic I was able to get my wife to see things our way and I had won. It was a victory not just for myself but for man kind.

      Then we had kids and they are very groggy when they get up in the middle of the night and would sometimes sit in the bowl and get themselves completely drenched with toilet water. So we're back at leaving it down :(

      But she hasn't heard the last from me. As soon as they're old enough to be given personal responsibility for keeping their ass
    • ... then you're probably a shitty significant other
      This in a toilet related thread?
    • I've run into women who are adamant about having the toilet seat down, and I just can't wrap my head around it.
      It's simple. those women tend to be control freaks of some type. Best solution is to run away. A more fun solution is to put the seat down AND the lid every single time.

      It screws with their head hard, as they are pleased you obeyed and put the seat down, but it pisses them off that you put down the lid.

      If you get confronted about it simply say, "you like the lid up? how disgusting."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Amen bother.

      Of course after getting out of a shitty relationship and back into my own place I thought I was free to leave the toilet seat in any old position I like. It was pure joy while it lasted. Then a month later I was back to leaving it down.

      I work in aircraft maintenance and it turns out we fall under a peculiar law of physics.

      Any object dropped can and will fall into the most unlikely and most inconvenient place.

      So in other words practically anything I dropped regardless of how many bi

    • Consider this: if either mate pulls a hissy fit over the orientation of a hinged piece of plastic, I say shoot them both! One for being a petty jerk/bitch, the other for having such poor taste as to risk spreading weak genes through reproduction.

      Eugenics starts in the bathroom!
    • I think that's too much thinking, though I think the conclusion is a good one. One thing though, women need the seat down all the time, and men, maybe a third the time, that's more of a need for it to be down than up.

      I prefer to have the seat and cover down. I'm not sure why people of either sex wants to see even clean toilet water even when they are in the bathroom for other reasons. If you never use the cover, then you may as well remove it, there's no reason for it to be there if it's not even used.
    • Men are frequently inconvenienced by a woman leaving the toilet seat down -- if you show up in the middle of the night, and it's dark, and you really have to go, it's a bit of a pain to always have to feel to see if the seat is up or down before you let it all out.

      Wouldn't you want to feel around anyways so you make sure you're actually aiming for the toilet? I wouldn't just go into a dark room and sit down, I'd wind up falling in the bathtub or something. Which is another reason for my personal insisten

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
      The reason I've often heard is that it's a safety thing. Women are afraid of falling into the toilet if they have to go in the dark and the seat is up.

      After I stop laughing at that mental image and assure her that I'd really like to see that, I point out that she'd be VERY unhappy if I didn't look when I peed, so why shouldn't she be expected to do the same?
    • Once you add into the equation a half asleep daughter (~3yo) taking herself to the toilet in the middle of the night, you'll leave the toilet seat down regardless. Girls get very used to the toilet seat being down and can be surprisingly fearful of forgetting to check one day and 'falling in'.

      If the toilet seat is the only battle you fight in your relationship, then I don't really think you have a problem. Get over it. I think people are allowed one or two pet peeves.

      If it is, as you say, just the tip of th
  • It seems like this is going to get really ugly really fast...

    And all this for a very trivial problem.

    Interesting fact is that the water in the toilet bowl often is very low on bacteria just because it is exchanged rather often so if your pet tries to drink that water it's not that much of a problem.

    One other thing to consider is that in some parts of the world you are running the risk of being invaded by unwanted pets through the toilet, so you better should have the lid down and kept in place by some

  • Women have less need to leave the toilet seat down as they on average keep the toilet cleaner and so less noxious fumes are there to escape.
  • if (lid->position==UP)
    • That algorithm should be used for men too. Sitting down while peeing gets out more urine, is better on the prostate, doesn't get the toilet seat and everything else in the vicinity messy, and also allows you to crap while doing it. There is no good reason to pee standing up unless the only toilets available are stand-up-only urinals or you have to do things very very quickly for whatever reason.
    • assert(lid->position==DOWN);

      It works fine when they're alone, which is why they have no need to develop a nice mechanism for error handling. Time passes by...
      Being the man in the house, you better make sure the condition is always satisfied, because you don't want to know how a woman throws an error or worse... how a female blue screen looks like!
  • Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChameleonDave ( 1041178 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:33AM (#19371083) Homepage

    The problem with the whole toilet thing is that sit-down toilets are not designed for men at all.

    They are far too low for the height of an average man, which means we are pissing really far, and spray is almost inevitable now and again. Toilets are designed for the lowest common denominator: women and children. Both are shorter than men, and tend to sit.

    The solution is simple: urinals should be installed as standard in homes. That way, men can piss in an appropriately masculine way without getting it everywhere, and only sit on the toilet to defecate. Women and children are welcome to keep sitting. The man of the house can keep his own urinal clean (much easier than cleaning a sit-down toilet), the toilet seat can be permanently down, and the bitch can shut up and stop her whining!

  • The cat plays in the toilet which is disgusting, causing you to close both the seat and lid! Both men and women must both open and close, no more yelling, or at least equal opportunity yelling :)
  • by Lt.Hawkins ( 17467 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:44AM (#19371169) Homepage
    Both men and women will have to lift *something* to do anything. Men will lift the cover and seat for #1, and women will just lift the cover for both.

    Problem solved. Also keeps pets out of the toilet.
  • Seriously, problem solved. Why wouldn't you want your own bathroom? It's worth the extra $.
  • Install a standing urinal for him.
  • First solution is to install a urinal in the bathroom.

    Second solution is for a man to live with a man, not a woman.

  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @11:15AM (#19371403) Homepage Journal
    So if you are a man and you piss standing up, you automatically must aim poorly and hit the seat with a stream of urine? Or does it splatter from the bowl up on to the seat?

    Personally I aim for the back of the bowl, just above the waterline.... this is where the angle of deflection will disperse the urine stream effectively in a way similar to a urinal... which is also designed to not spray urine back on to the urinator... which of course is where the concept comes from.

    Now if for some reason I do get a couple drops of pee on the seat... I grab some toilet paper and wipe it off. Urine is a combination of uric acid and ammonia mixed with whatever waste chemicals your body decided it didn't need and could expel via your bladder. These chemicals could probably be put into a gel capsule and sold as vitamins if you separated them from the uric acid and ammonia. What I'm saying is that urine is pretty damn safe and really doesn't do anything bad to you at all (unlike fecal matter which can contain Hepatitus, Flu and lot of other nasties).

    So here's my questions... if you always get urine on the seat, do you also always get urine on the rim? Who cleans that once a month? Wouldn't it be easier to just clean up after yourself when you make the mess, rather than letting it sit for weeks?

  • fun topic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @12:10PM (#19371811) Homepage Journal
    Somewhere here I have a good article of "men issues", and this is near the top.

    toilet seat. we need it up, you need it down. You're a big girl now, learn to work the seat.

    The common man's argument is that we sometimes need it up and sometimes need it down, so we have learned how to use the seat. (you rarely hear of a guy "falling in", and if he did, he certainly wouldn't try to find someone to blame for it, let alone even admit to having fallen in in the first place) Women OTOH who have lived in families or with roommates in an exclusively women household have lost this important life skill of operating the seat, since it is always down. (when visiting friends houses with exclusively women, it's a fun social experiment to slip into the bathroom and lift the lid and run out, and wait for someone to fall in, the screams and resulting argument are always fun to watch!)

    A good example to draw is drive to a small town and park your car out front of your friend's house (in a spot where parking is permitted) and go in for a chat. BOOM someone just ran into your car. You run out to find someone rear-ended your parked car, and is upset at you for having left your car there, there isn't usually a car parked there and therefore it's all your fault. Same thing.

    Just because you are not acustomed to something being different than you expect, does not negate your responsibility to identify reasonable (and sometimes even frequently occurring) change and adjust your behavior accordingly. Take responsibility for your actions, don't blame me.
  • by FlyByPC ( 841016 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @02:04PM (#19372579) Homepage
    The lid must be left down, otherwise my dog will drink out of the bowl.

    If the lid is down, the seat must also be down.

    Therefore, efficient or no, the seat goes down each time.

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