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Toilet Paper: Under vs. Over
May 21, 2007 4:06 PM   Subscribe

What are the reasons for hanging toilet paper with the paper in front versus in the back?

I tend to prefer toilet paper to be loaded on the holder with the paper falling to the back, close to the wall, while my boyfriend prefers to hang it with the paper coming off the top on the side of the roll that's closest to the user. I believe it's the over vs. under debate. When I consider it, I think that hotels generally use the "over" technique so that must mean it is more common, right? I think my preference for the "under" technique has to do with the easier one-handed tear that it allows. I also like the way it looks better this way.

Seeing as we're about to move in together, it's something I'm curious about but believe me, it's no deal breaker. I'm very willing to concede the issue but I just wonder why people prefer the "over" technique. It seems like it's easier to waste tp this way, too, because the roll tends to unwind quicker.

As an aside, he also prefers the non-spring loaded spindle (the ones that have an open side to them, rather than a spring-tensioned rod) because it's easier to change the roll but I think they're also harder to use since if you tear in the direction of the opening with any degree of force (I guess I'm a vigorous tearer) you'll knock it off the spindle.

We seem also prefer our paper towels the same (me: under, him: over).
posted by otherwordlyglow to Home & Garden (48 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
but I just wonder why people prefer the "over" technique.

I imagine because it looks kinda neater, and keeps the paper away from the wall. In reality, this issue is purely for debate by neurotics.
posted by Jimbob at 4:18 PM on May 21, 2007


I like over on tp, because with under you can't always see the end of the toilet paper and you have to spin the roll to find it, whereas with over it's always easy to find. When my fella and I first moved in together, I would flip the roll whenever he loaded it. Now my philosophy is that whoever loads the roll is rewarded by having his/her preferred toilet paper orientation until the roll runs out.

I agree with you on the spindle, however. I don't tear with force, but with the open-ended rolls it's easy to just bump the toilet paper and have it fall on the ground.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:18 PM on May 21, 2007


I like it over so I don't hit my knuckles against the wall. According to the CPS agents on the Simpsons, however, your way is the correct way.
posted by monkeymadness at 4:18 PM on May 21, 2007


I prefer the over-hang myself.

My best friend argues adamantly for the under-hanging method. His main reason is that it's easier and more fun to roll back up. Just slap it and it spins back into place.

My question, of course, is "how the hell much toilet paper are you unraveling?" if you have to roll it back up like a retractable vacuum cable.

My wife and I seem to agree on the over-hang method, although my ultimate choice is the "sitting on the counter until someone else puts it on the spindle" method.
posted by Alabaster at 4:19 PM on May 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cats prefer the over technique. Their masters become big fans of the under technique as a result.

I can't believe that this is the point of contention in your future bathroom. What's going to happen when you move in together and you fall in the toilet at 2 am after he's left the lids up?
posted by iamkimiam at 4:21 PM on May 21, 2007


I prefer over, because when tearing paper off I like to apply the point of pressure as close to the tear as possible (two-handed, that is). It also looks neater. As readers of The Motel of the Mysteries will know, the Sacred Point is an essential aspect of our society, so please think twice before you undermine everything that Western Culture stands for.
posted by Paragon at 4:22 PM on May 21, 2007


Whats up with all the toilet paper questions lately? I don't think the majority of people care/notice which way the toilet paper is. So my guess is, your boyfriend has no idea which way the toilet paper is loaded.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 4:22 PM on May 21, 2007


Over: 1) You don't touch the wall with your dirty fingers, where someone else touched. 2) If you have nice printed TP, it displays .
posted by valentinepig at 4:22 PM on May 21, 2007


I prefer it over the top because it's easier to find the end: just spin the roll and the loose end usually spools free and because I find it more aesthetically pleasing for the paper to waterfall off the top than hang limply from the bottom.

The exception is when we adopt a new kitten, I temporarily hang it the other way because it's harder for the little bastards darlings to claw off an entire roll when it's under.

FWIW, my dad, Col. TP Tyrant specified TP should unreel from the bottom due to spoilage concern issues.
posted by jamaro at 4:25 PM on May 21, 2007


I think my preference for the "under" technique has to do with the easier one-handed tear that it allows. I also like the way it looks better this way.

My preference for the 'over' technique has to do with the easy one-handed tear that it allows. It looks better that way too.

There is no right or wrong answer, hang it however you please. There is also no way to rationalised someone else into changing their preference, so you guys will have to compromise somehow (which sounds like it will be easy enough).
posted by shelleycat at 4:28 PM on May 21, 2007


Because if you do it over, you see the scorpion that's resting on top of the roll and have a chance to do something about it.

If you do it under, the scorpion can cling to the paper (particularly if it's the soft fluffy kind) and you might not realize it's there until it stings you on the hand if you are lucky, and elsewhere if you are not.
posted by Good Brain at 4:29 PM on May 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Over, for the above-mentioned reasons. Unless you are in Australia or elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, in which case the advice is naturally the opposite.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 4:29 PM on May 21, 2007


under = fingers touch wall = fingernail polish, dirt on wall
over = none of the above problems
posted by SeƱor Pantalones at 4:31 PM on May 21, 2007


There was a research study that I cannot immediately find that discovered the "over" method provides the user with more TP than the "under" method (scientists gotta go sometimes, too, you know). It had to do with the perception of how much you had pulled in each configuration.

Personally I go over. It was bred into me. It helps currently, because the TP holder in my apartment is recessed into the wall, and the big rolls tend to get stuck.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:32 PM on May 21, 2007


In reality, this issue is purely for debate by neurotics.
and
I can't believe that this is the point of contention in your future bathroom.
I thought I was clear: it's really not a point of contention. We have our preferences and it's not a problem. I'm just curious about why people like it "over" when to me it seems so much better under. It's not a neurotic obsession, just a simple curiosity.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:39 PM on May 21, 2007


And we both leave the lid down.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:39 PM on May 21, 2007


I'm almost sure there was a metatalk thread about this. Can anybody find it?
posted by who squared at 4:40 PM on May 21, 2007


This is another example of BATHROOM bigots talking out their butts. Get rid of the horizontal display and the stupid spring loaded inner axles and move on up to the VERTICAL style SINGLE ROD TYPE holder where you simply unroll the paper while holding ONTO the roll.

No right answer my ass.
posted by Freedomboy at 4:40 PM on May 21, 2007


I do it under, because that way I can lock the roll with my knee and pull with one hand, without holding the actual toilet paper I am tearing off, which would not be as neat.
posted by milestogo at 4:43 PM on May 21, 2007


I don't think the majority of people care/notice which way the toilet paper is. So my guess is, your boyfriend has no idea which way the toilet paper is loaded.
He does notice and has a preference. Plenty of people do. Neither of us is planning on leaving due to toilet paper issues, however.

In fact, I've already conceded that he can have it his way in the bathroom and then maybe I can have the paper towels my way. But again, this is not a deal breaker and he's just as interested in the reasons for our preferences as I am.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:45 PM on May 21, 2007


VERTICAL style SINGLE ROD TYPE holder where you simply unroll the paper while holding ONTO the roll.
yeah, I've never understood the appeal of those because you have to use both hands. The less I have to touch the tp, the better.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:47 PM on May 21, 2007


To get back on track (if that's possible!), we also hang our toilet paper 'under' because of the cats...

This is borne of necessity, after coming into the bathroom in the morning many times and finding a whole roll of toilet paper piled up on the floor!

Previous to this though, my wife and I went for the 'over' method, purely out of habit I guess...
posted by ranglin at 4:52 PM on May 21, 2007


I load the TP over, because that's what I was taught to do the summer I worked as at a hotel cleaning the rooms. Before that I'd never given it any thought.

I've been told that "Type A" personalities prefer to load their toilet paper over. I have no idea if this is true.
posted by lekvar at 4:58 PM on May 21, 2007


I have seen perfectly normal (otherwise) people get in knock-down, drag out fights over this.

I settled it by asking my wife. She says she prefers over. Since I change the rolls 99% of the time and it's no more difficult to do it one way than the other, I do it her way, as a little unseen love gift she seldom notices, if ever.

So to add to the reasons... harmony. Can't see much in the way of physics one either way... at least not enough to tilt the choice in one direction over the other.
posted by FauxScot at 5:17 PM on May 21, 2007


As a worse case scenario, if the over/under issue starts to get bad, you could also just buy extra TP holders and install them in the bathroom next to the current one. So then you can have one under, one over.

I've actually seen that in someone's master bathroom. I only know the husband well and he's an architect. So my guess is that he was the one who needed it, and it'd probably be more likely that an architect would think about it.

Seems like a simple solution. And then the two of you could race...
posted by Cog at 5:18 PM on May 21, 2007


if the over/under issue starts to get bad, you could also just buy extra TP holders and install them in the bathroom next to the current one.
it's funny that we've already joked about doing that! and yes, ti was just a joke.

the cat thing is a good issue though. my cat doesn't' seem to care about TP but I've had other cats that did.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 5:32 PM on May 21, 2007


Ok, now I'm curious - there's talk here of doing it one way or another so you don't have to touch the TP. Are you worried about getting it dirty before you soil it with your ass? I'm kinda confused.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:33 PM on May 21, 2007


The last time this came up, people talked about the paper being "Tongue Under" or "Tongue Over." Please, let's keep that.
posted by mediareport at 5:47 PM on May 21, 2007


Weirdly, I've lived in numerous cat households for years and never once did we have a kitty take an interest in the TP. That said, another vote for OVER. One aspect of going over, is that if you want to impress guests or yourself, you can fold the last square available on the roll so it rests in a neat design awaiting the next user.
posted by Atreides at 5:58 PM on May 21, 2007


What sort of moran would obsess over whether it goes over or under? Jeez!

* turns wrongly positioned tp roll into correct position (which is over the top because that is the way me mum did it).
posted by caddis at 6:46 PM on May 21, 2007


One aspect of going over, is that if you want to impress guests or yourself, you can fold the last square available on the roll so it rests in a neat design awaiting the next user.

Like one of those little origami cranes, maybe? If I were your guest, I'd feel a little weird taking that and shoving it around my ass.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:48 PM on May 21, 2007


My mum's cats have proved that it's easier to get to if it's over. That's why we keep it OVER (our cat doesn't care, my grandmother who I live with has arthritic fingers) and mum keeps it IN A DRAWER, locked.
posted by anaelith at 6:53 PM on May 21, 2007


The last time this came up...... Sorry. didn't find that in my search. I wonder if it's because it doesn't have tags?

Are you worried about getting it dirty before you soil it with your ass? I'm kinda confused.
Yeah, I'd never thought of it before but I guess there's something to the idea that if you're touching the wall on your way to getting the toilet paper, then you might be transferring whatever's on the wall to your ass. But if you got one of those free standing pedestals, would the tongue over crowd still object?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:22 PM on May 21, 2007


I like it over so I don't hit my knuckles against the wall.

Even more importantly, if you ever rush into the bathroom to clean some filth off of your hands, and the TP holder's the simple kind with the roll resting against the wall, pushing an Under to get more paper will leave a residue of filth on the wall, which is then transferred to the next layer of paper.

So Over, always.

What sort of moran would obsess over whether it goes over or under?

A great many morons. And it's like religion -- logic (like in my above explanation) doesn't change anybody's mind.

Like one of those little origami cranes, maybe?

No, just the point, as seen in any motel. In David Macaulay's Motel of the Mysteries he calls this the Sacred Point.
posted by Rash at 8:29 PM on May 21, 2007



In weird countries like the UK, where most toilets are in the same room as the shower, going "under" often meant the tp would touch the wall, which is saturated by shower-moisture and soak up the entire roll.

Luckily, I now live in a country that separates the two rooms :) Either way, I prefer Over, and Dad always has Under (in his house).

Under is a hint harder to do one-handed when you stand. Sitting it makes little difference.
posted by lundman at 8:31 PM on May 21, 2007


Also, I once heard that men prefer Over, and women, Under.

True?
posted by Rash at 8:47 PM on May 21, 2007


I am just thrilled to have someone else PUT the damm roll on the holder.
posted by JujuB at 9:05 PM on May 21, 2007


My toilet paper holder is simply a bent rod that hangs on the wall, much like this one:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=47368-1471-DN7708BN&lpage=none
(hope that's a good address)

The rational for not having the spring is simple: for some reason, i simply hate fiddling with the spring-loaded thing. (perhaps you could attribute this to me being male...)

Anyway, the advantage of the one-sided toilet paper holder as opposed to the spring-loaded one is that the brown cardboard remnant of the previous roll actually gets removed, throw away, and replaced with a new roll.

Changing rolls sucks when you can't do it one handed.

And as for that whole paper-in-the-back thing, you are talking about my fingers touching a wall that someone else has touched with their fingers that have just been less than a millimeter away (or however thick your toilet paper is) from their anus. :(
posted by itheearl at 9:26 PM on May 21, 2007


The short of that:
Cave on the type of paper-holder if you want your boyfriend to actually change the roll.
And hey, you could actually switch from paper in back to paper in front with one hand.
posted by itheearl at 9:30 PM on May 21, 2007


then you might be transferring whatever's on the wall to your ass

Your boyfriend might be transferring whatever is on his ass to the wall. And then to yours. Which: ew.

Our holder is in a very awkward position, and doesn't sit in the wall right, so we prefer to leave it on the counter holder-less. Over-Under Debate: solved.
posted by rhapsodie at 9:47 PM on May 21, 2007


Your boyfriend might be transferring whatever is on his ass to the wall. And then to yours. Which: ew.
I don't understand. As far as I know, no one, including my boyfriend, touches their ass and then the wall while on their way to the toilet paper. No, you go for the wall to get tp, then bring it to your ass, then dispose of it. I guess if you went back for more toilet paper after a first round of wiping that would be an issue but do people do that? Who's double-dipping on the toilet paper!!???
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:23 PM on May 21, 2007


Hmmm....there is an issue of roll to ass time. Seems that minimizing this time period should the point of the over/under debate. If either the over/under forces the person to take a longer time to get the paper off the roll and onto your ass, then it gives more time for any ass residue to drop onto the floor.
posted by Cog at 12:21 AM on May 22, 2007


my dog prefers the over as well.
posted by violetk at 12:37 AM on May 22, 2007


Well, otherwordlyglow, I rarely get satisfaction from just one wipe of my delicate bottom after having a poo. I will go back for another wipe, just to make sure! And when I do, I prefer the paper to be coming from the top of the roll, so I can look at the pretty pictures of puppies or starfish or whatever (if it's a bountiful week and I don't have to go for the cheap, undecorated stuff). I'm a toilet paper wastrel, sure, but my undies are a skid-free zone! Thanks for the opportunity to share!
posted by h00py at 6:33 AM on May 22, 2007


I rarely get satisfaction from just one wipe.
I solve that potential problem but unrolling a more substantial bit of toilet paper the first time. I don't think I've ever gone back for more.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:43 AM on May 22, 2007


my dog prefers the over as well.

I'm guessing he lost a ton on the Nets-Cavs.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2007


I'm an over man, myself, but some pets can wreak havoc with an over configuration. Particularly, cats have sometimes been known to bat the roll, and run mad with the contents. I'm sure it's more fun for them than for their owners. In the under configuration, if the critter bats the roll, it doesn't dispense.
posted by rush at 2:32 PM on May 23, 2007


I was raised in an over household, but do under at the apartment due to the often-mentioned terrar! kittan! of doom!.

She loves clawing the rolls apart.
posted by CipherSwarm at 9:59 PM on May 24, 2007


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