Why do women use paper toilet seat covers in a clean restroom?
November 2, 2004 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Many times in my various workplaces, I've noticed people "nesting" in the ladies restroom. By this I mean, using one of those papery toilet seat covers before sitting down. Most of these incidents involve a restroom that is spotless, and sometimes it was only used by a few people. I'm of the mind that using these things is if anything, less sanitary, as it increases the chance of (*ahem*) fluids getting on the seat. I can't find any info either way - your thoughts?

And a follow-up question - why the fear of germs in a spotless restroom? Do people feel this will actually protect them? Your thighs are the only part touching the seat? Etc?
posted by agregoli to Human Relations (12 answers total)
I'm amazed that anyone believes that a thin piece of tissue paper is going to save them from ANY kind of contamination. Once these people realize that we are all covered in microscopic fecal matter ALL THE TIME, they'll be better off.
posted by emptybowl at 11:36 AM on November 2, 2004

A germophobe I work with (he actually spays disinfectant on his keyboard if someone else typed on it) opens the restroom door with a paper towel on the way out, and then drops the paper towel on the floor, presumably in the name of sanitation. Personally, I'm going to start avoiding the restroom altogether by whizzing in the drinking fountain.
posted by ba at 11:43 AM on November 2, 2004

Response by poster: I guess I should have also asked: Ladies - if the seat is clean, do you still "hover" above, or do you sit?

I've hovered, but only because the seat was wet. If it's dry, then I sit.
posted by agregoli at 12:04 PM on November 2, 2004

As an advocate of recycling, I came to realize during my college years that these tissue toilet seat covers made excellent rolling papers if you were in a sudden bind.

Anyway, although I never have used one in my life, I'm all for the pre-cut seat covers: I've noticed that if the toilet-seat covers aren't available, some women create these make-shift placebos out of like 8 pieces of toilet paper, which is really rather time-consuming, especially if you're waiting to use the womens' room during intermission.

Most women (i know) hover. Some clean the seat first with toilet paper...and then hover. The older ladies line the bowl because methinks their leg muscles aren't strong enough to support them anymore. But of course, it depends where you are. When I travel abroad, I never ever sit. Closer to home, I'm apt to sit. But I always wipe down the bowl before I plop my little arse down...and check the water for aligators, piranhas, and hands. (childhood fears never fade)...
posted by naxosaxur at 12:18 PM on November 2, 2004

Response by poster: Do you wipe the bowl down if it's not wet? Cause that doesn't make much sense to me. Either way, you're just shoving germs around, probably.

Urine is sterile, too.
posted by agregoli at 12:20 PM on November 2, 2004

After checking for moisture (and wiping if necessary), I plop my bare ass down on the bare seat. I'm (almost) 38 and have never had an STD or a yeast infection (assuming that's what people are afraid of catching). YMMV.
posted by deborah at 12:31 PM on November 2, 2004

I always wipe the seat (if it's a public restroom). Then I sit. I figure the chances of me catching something are really low. I wipe the seat down all the time, because sometimes you can't tell if it's wet or not. If I do make the call to not wipe it down, there's always some wet spot that I didn't see and then I'm all grossed out.

What I don't get is how the toilet seats get so incredibly wet. I understand the hovering thing, but for that amount of urine to get on the seat, seems to me that you'd have to be standing on the seat and having it drip down your legs and onto the seat. Or is it that some women get off on purposely trying to get the entire seat covered in pee?
posted by MsVader at 12:32 PM on November 2, 2004

Response by poster: I think hovering is the worst thing that can happen. If every single person just sat their butt down on the seat, there would NEVER be urine on the seat. The more wet the seat is, the more it encourages the next person to hover, and they probably get more urine on the seat. It only takes a few people to make it truely disgusting.

Sit down, ladies. It's impossible to catch anything from a toilet seat unless you are humping it. Your genitals don't touch anything but open air.
posted by agregoli at 12:35 PM on November 2, 2004

I've read that the only thing you can catch from a toilet seat is pubic lice IF a pubic hair has been left on the seat. Even that sounds like a stretch.

Here's the Straight Dope opinion
posted by dodgygeezer at 12:49 PM on November 2, 2004

Didn't we talk about this recently? I'm a "nothing comes between me and my toilet seat" sitter too, after wiping all the pee off the damned seat, of course. On the other hand, I'll eat candy I find on the sidewalk, so I'm probably an extrme example in this instance.
posted by jessamyn at 1:39 PM on November 2, 2004

Allegedly, my grandmother caught crabs (I know!) from a Greyhound station restroom. I think it's more likely that my grandfather was fucking around.

And jessamyn - you don't know where that candy has been!
posted by deborah at 5:32 PM on November 2, 2004

Response by poster: Your poor grandmother. I'm sure many people were snowed by stories like this.
posted by agregoli at 8:48 AM on November 3, 2004

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