November 24, 2010

Do single men put the toilet seat down?

By Anthony Buono *
Picture Dwight Schrute saying, “Question. Do single men put the toilet seat down?” That’s a good question, Dwight.  

Are toilet seats really the kind of subject matter for polite conversation? I suppose not. But I have to say, the toilet seat question is actually a pretty big deal. Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but for many women, the ability of a man to put the toilet seat down is a courtesy they expect and a sign that he loves her and cares.  

Of course, since we are in the restroom, we should also address the replacing the toilet paper issue; namely, the annoying action of just plopping it on top of the holder instead of putting it on the roller.  

Guys, do you put the seat down? And do you put the roll on the roller or just plop it on top? I honestly don’t remember when I was single if I did these things. But that’s because I’m a guy, and we really don’t think about such things.

These are not just issues of the married. If you live at home with your family and have to deal with male siblings or your father, or if you have male visitor to your home, etc., you have crossed this issue.   

However, for the married, it can be the kind of issue that triggers larger issues that are outstanding and unresolved, thus being the catalyst for a good fight, typically involving yelling and accusations about what is wrong with the other, with a desire to hopefully (though unrealistically) change the other person.  

If it could be caught on camera and viewed by a large audience, it would result in much laughter. Perhaps a comedian or two have done skits on this. I’m not sure. But nothing would compare to seeing it unfold with the actual persons.

It starts with the absurdity the wife feels for the lack of consideration by the husband to leave the toilet seat up, or if the toilet paper remains on top of the roller. A kind of “last straw” look comes over her face, followed by a storming out of the restroom in pursuit of locating the good-for-nothing husband (Keep in mind she has totally abandoned the original purpose for which she has gone into the restroom in the first place, at least for the time being).

Upon locating said good-for-nothing, she asks a why question. “Why do you insist on leaving that [choice words] toilet seat up?” Notice the question includes a harsh assumption (i.e. insist), and said in a tone that is out of proportion with the question, as if to really state “This means war!”  

I have never quite understood why women consider this to be the best first tactic. Why ask why? Do women really think men do this on purpose? Picture a man going into his lavatory (I love that word) and saying to himself “Now, remember, don’t touch that seat, we really want to get her goat this time,” or “No, don’t put that roll of paper on the roller unless you want her to think you really care.”  

I have to believe women know ahead of time there is no answer to that “why?” question. Most why questions have no answer. Just walk up to him with a smile, sit him down, take his hand, and say, “Now darling, I love you very much, you know that, but I just want you to know that when you don’t put the seat down it bothers me.” Perhaps add, in only the gentle, loving way a wife can, “so please put the seat down or I will tear your hair out, my love. Thank you.”  

Will this solve the problem? Of course not. Men are dense, and they don’t think. Does that make us terrible or incapable of marriage? Not at all. We are simply slow to learn when it comes to such things.

But if men could learn to put the seat up and to help out by putting the toilet paper on the roller instead of plopping it on top, it would go a long way in many ways.  

1)  It will make her happy. And guys, we do want to make our girl happy, no?
2)  It will NOT go unnoticed. Women notice these things and they take note. You will get some major brownie points.
3)  You develop a very good habit. It not only accomplished the goal, but it also teaches you how to think about little things that don’t exactly matter to you either way. It will open the door to other thoughtful things around the house you could start doing that otherwise you would not.
4)  You have a nice card to play if and when you get in trouble about some other little thing. “At least I am putting the seat down, right?” Having a card like that will always defuse the explosion that is coming at you.

Unfortunately, old habits die hard, so us married men have to endure causing many hardships on our wives and the aftermath of our rude misdemeanors around the house. But there is hope for the single men who have time now to change their ways.

Single men and women who want to be married should be living their lives as single people developing habits that are conducive and productive for their future married life. You will avoid many unnecessary disturbances in the home. But more than that, you will have laid the foundation for becoming a person who will be thoughtful on more important and larger issues that can really make a marriage last and provide a maximum of happiness for the other.

This is a noble goal, to make another person as happy as they can be. A thoughtful, attentive spouse can make that happen in a big way. A thoughtless, self-absorbed spouse can make it just the opposite.

So if you want to make a girl happy, get into that habit of putting the seat down and putting the toilet paper on the roller. Then start finding out other things that really make women smile and feel special, and develop those habits. When you get married, you will be bringing to the table a lot of good little things that can make a difference.

A final word to the ladies. I know our frat house ways are disturbing, but do go easy on us. We are not personally out to get you. We love you very much and want your happiness.  It’s just that we are men. And please, please, if your problem is really with the toilet seat, then stick to only the toilet seat issue. We cannot process an entire lifetime of rude and selfish behaviors thrown at us all at once. You have a better shot at helping change our ways with a gentle and focused approach. Otherwise, we will shut down and distance ourselves.  

Love is in the little things that say you really noticed what is important to the one you love.

Anthony Buono is the founder of For thousands of Catholic singles, Anthony offers guidance, humor, understanding, and practical relationship advice.  Visit his blog at

* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.


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