Monday, December 13, 2010

Let’s Talk Tushie

Okay, so I noticed something while we were in North Carolina and it's been kicking around in my head ever since. Not one single public restroom I went into offered toilet seat liners. I know, huh. Of all the things I could possibly obsess over, I choose toilet seat liners.

Anyhow, it got me thinking. At what point in my life did toilet seat liners become a necessity? Was there a moment when my tushie became too royal to sit on the throne without that ever-so-thin piece of tissue paper separating it from the seat?

Now, I know some of you will say "just hover," but I must admit—I am incapable of the hover. Or the squat. Whenever I try to do either, I'm so concerned that I'll go all over the place that I tense up, making it just that more likely that I'll go all over the place.

I have, on rare occasion managed the assisted squat, but that only works when there's something behind me I can place my hand on for support. Call it performance anxiety. I think it's genetic. My sister can't do it either.

But I digress. Back to my tushie. So, my tushie hasn't always been so pampered. I don't recall using toilet seat liners in public restrooms when I lived in Oregon. I remember them being available in most restrooms, but I never understood why someone would need to use them except on rare occasion.

I mean, studies have shown that phone receivers, door handles, and shopping carts carry more germs than toilet seats, so other than the every so often I would need to go and the only toilet available had dribbles on the seat, I never used a liner.

I've used outhouses and never felt the need for a liner. An air freshener maybe, but not a liner.

So when did my tushie become such a namby pamby? I think the liner thing became habit for me while living in San Jose. After one too many times of sitting on a wet seat. You know that moment, just after the tushie settles, when you realize "aw, crap! the seat's wet!" But what are you going to do? Contact's already been made. It's not like you can reverse time and choose a different toilet.

So this seemed to happen to me a lot after moving to California, and at some point I must have decided that a preemptive toilet seat tissue was the best strategy. I don't know what the difference is between Oregonians and Californians that makes one groups' women more capable of pissing in the pot, so to speak, without making a mess. But there it is.

I do have a theory, though. Immigrants. I couldn't for the life of me understand why I would find footprints on the toilet seats in public restrooms here. And just so you know, any seat with a footprint received a preemptive toilet seat liner from me.

I finally solved the footprint mystery when I traveled to Chiapas, Mexico, several years ago and had to use a community outhouse.

The community outhouse was a large walled wooden outbuilding with a raised bench, and the bench had several holes cut into to with no seats. I could plainly see where people had missed the holes, so there was no way in hell I was planting this tushie on that bench. Then I noticed the local women would stand on the bench, hike up their skirts, and squat over the holes.

Okay, so we've already discussed my shortcomings when it comes to squatting. It's a life skill I've never put much effort towards mastering. Though I will say that moment on that trip really made me question whether I might need to resort my priorities. I did finally manage to use the latrine after begging a travel companion to help me keep my balance; she was laughing the whole time. Hey, it's not nice to make fun of people's disabilities.

Anyhow, that's when I figured out how/why the footprints were on the public toilets at home. I understand this is the traditional method for using public facilities in India, China, and other parts of Asia as well. So, given the high density of immigrants in the Bay Area from those areas, the footprints and the accompanying wet spots suddenly made so much more sense. Still disgusting, but no longer perplexing.

Anyhow, that's my theory. Mind you there's not a shred of scientific data to back that up. But there it is just the same. Maybe I should apply for a federal grant and study the situation.

I thought "those crazy Californian" when they mandated toilet seat covers here. Oh, yeah. You better believe it. It's a health code violation here if a public restroom does not provide those toilet seat liners. And now that I've really thought this thing through (there must have been something better I could have done with the time, but I didn't, and I can't get it back so I figured I'd share my ramblings with you! It's your lucky day!), I understand why.

I mean everyone bitches about California being a nanny state, including me, but seeing as how they can't very well regulate and enforce how we all takes a piss without some serious invasion of privacy issues, they decided to mandate the toilet seat tissue. I'd say that's the better call.

So, back to the beginning of this post. Since toilet seat tissues are mandated here, it was a bit of a shock not to see them at all while in North Carolina and my tushie reluctantly became reacquainted with the public domain. And you know what, it wasn't that bad. I didn't have a single bad tushie experience and got used to it after the first couple times. Soon I was wondering what in the world I had been fussing over. Then I came home.

I don't know about you, but my first stop when getting off a plane is the restroom. (Don't even get me started on the in-flight restrooms. Emergencies only!) So there I am at Oakland International Airport, facing the throne in the restroom, having an internal conversation with my tushie:

ME: Look. It can't be that bad. You've gone without a liner for an entire week.
TUSHIE: Not by my choice!
ME: Yes, but still, nothing bad happened.
TUSHIE: Says you! I was traumatized, TRAUMATIZED I tell you, every time we sat down!
ME: But you've made such good progress. You know the first week is always the hardest when kicking a habit. You've already made it through the toughest part.
TUSHIE: But look at it. The liner's right there. It's practically begging to be used.
ME: Think of all the trees we'll save if we swear off using liners from now on.
TUSHIE: Trees my ass! Even if we used 20 of those tissuey things every time we go it wouldn't kill an entire tree in our lifetime. Put the liner on now, dammit! We have to pee!
ME: You don't have an ass…you are the ass. Now shut it and sit down!
TUSHIE: I'd sooner piss down our leg than sit on that seat without a liner!
ME: I've got the brain! You're just the bum. Now sit on it!
ME: Awww, crap. It's wet.
TUSHIE: Told you!

Will I become one of those people who travel with toilet seat liners folded neatly in my purse? I seriously doubt it. Though I may look into a GoGirl. Think about it. What woman hasn't encountered the dreaded gas station or fast food restaurant bathroom and wished she could pee standing up? Because I don't care how many toilet seat covers you layer, you're still not going to want to go there.


  1. Dude you are not right. And now I am wanting toilet seat liners here in Little Mexico!

  2. Oh, my word! Either you have waaaaaaaaay too much time on your hands, or you're just plain hilarious! Or both. Yeah, we'll go with that. ;P