One of the very few truisms I learned from my mother Phyllis was never to sit on a public toilet seat lest I become pregnant. And here I am 68 years old and I’ve never sat down on a public toilet seat nor have I ever fallen pregnant. This may be the only advice from that woman for which I’m grateful.
But this safer peeing comes with a price. The purity of my “down there” is predicated on the dirtying of my thumb and forefinger. If I am to avoid spritzing the seat and polluting the experience of subsequent users – which I do avoid at all costs – I must raise up the seat and squat over the bowl – which I do. I accomplish the lifting of the germy oval by holding a piece of toilet paper between my hand and the plastic seat. When I finish squatting, I perform the reverse action.
If the American toilet seat designers had listened to Phyllis like the Italians obviously did, they would have simply produced seats with a lip-like handle (see the photo above) meant to aid us in elevating and lowering the oval. It protrudes from the seat so that nobody’s ass touches it and it is not splashed with poo-poo water from underneath. It is meant for fingers. I found these in many of the public facilities during a recent trip to Italy and it was such an easy solution that I was surprised it hasn’t been replicated in the States.
The top photo is what the Italian version looks like, but there are a variety of inventions based on the same concept, such as the ring in the photo to the left. Apparently you can even get a pack of disposable plastic hooks to use when you’re out and about, but that seems like a lot of work. When I have to pee, I don’t have the temporal luxury of rooting around my backpack, opening a package of finger hooks, and then completing the action. At this age, when I gotta go, I gotta go.
You are probably desperate to know which other truisms Phyllis bestowed upon me. One was the rather innovative idea that if you splash cold water on your face on a hot day, it might cool you down. The other was that if you get your bangs off your forehead and keep yourself clean and neat, it won’t matter so much that your nose is terribly big.
Yes, my inherited mansion may have failed to arrive, but you can see where my street smarts came from. (My dad.)