Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
From a young age, my mother instilled in me the politeness attached to putting the seat back down after using the toilet. This was a universal lesson that was to follow me beyond the two-males-to-one ratio inside my childhood home. As an adult, I traverse unisex bathrooms in bars and find the water inside the toilet bowl to be merely a suggestion for urine, as the entire bowl itself is some sort of blank canvas for avant-garde piss art. With this in mind, is it actually impolite to leave the toilet seat down in a unisex bathroom out in the shared world?
Curious About Covers
I adore questions that have me searching the Emily Post Institute for the term toilet lids. They are silent on the subject. Miss Manners has discussed it in terms of asking guests to put the seat down (you are not supposed to mention it). In fact, Miss Manners prefers to think that toilets don’t exist, so not much help there. Fortunately for you, we are happy to acknowledge their existence and tell you our thoughts.
Jaya: So my idea is that 3/4 things anyone does in the bathroom require the seat to be down. So on statistics alone you should leave the seat down, always.
Victoria: And REALLY, everyone should be putting both the seat and the lid down to prevent germs flying around. I don’t, but it’s something to work towards. Plus, dudes can take one for the team in being the ones to touch the thing.
Jaya: Totally. And I think this is still the case if the seat is down BUT someone had been in there and peed all over the seat. I mean, at some point everyone realizes they’re in a public bathroom, and things aren’t going to be the best.
Victoria: Wait, what’s still the case? They still have to lift the seat up?
Jaya: Yeah? Or, I don’t know, if you see pee all over the seat, no matter what sex you are, take one for the public bathroom team and wipe it off.
Victoria: Oooh yes, totally. Why doesn’t Lysol or whoever make little purse-sized sprays? Then you could spray and wipe before you sit. They could make a million dollars.
Jaya: THEY DO!
Victoria: They do!??!?!?!
Victoria: Anyway, in conclusion, the answer to a gross public restroom is to not make it even more gross.
Jaya: Exactly. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to.