Can a viral video about toilet seats make women’s bathrooms less disgusting?

Ladies, it's time to stop hovering and sit the heck down.

Internet Culture

Published Jun 23, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 2:16 am CDT

BY JOANNA SCHROEDER

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We need to talk about toilets. It’s not going to be easy, and it might not be pretty, but it’s time we got real about what is happening in the bathroom.

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Ladies, what’s up with all the pee on the seats? I like to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet while I recline on the throne, but lately it seems like every ladies’ room I visit has someone else’s droplets all over it. This, in turn, requires that I pee while hovering in a position just above a squat, feeling like my quads are about to burst. In yoga, this is called the “Chair Pose” (or “utkanasana” to those of you who have something to prove). I don’t like this pose when I’m wearing yoga pants in a studio, and I really don’t like it when I’ve got my Levis around my knees in a bathroom stall.

I’ve known a few women who are “hoverers,” but it seems lately hovering is an epidemic—with the inevitable outcome being pee splatter on the seats of most public toilets. Why is this hovering happening? Has there been an outbreak of communicable diseases that are transferred buttock-to-buttock that I haven’t heard about? Or is this just an evil and self-perpetuating trend?

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I love it when the Internet acts as a force for good in the world, encouraging people to listen to logical reasoning. This week, a YouTube video on toilet seat science called “Should you Hover or Cover the Toilet Seat?” is making its way around social media courtesy of sites like Jezebel and Salon, and it’s my solemn prayer to the porcelain gods that people will take this viral opportunity to educate themselves about the ridiculousness of toilet seat hovering: It doesn’t make your butt safer.

First and foremost, as the video addresses, you’ll find more disgusting germs on pretty much every surface of your kitchen than you will on a toilet seat. For instance, your cutting board and kitchen sponge are essentially petri dishes full of germs, even scary fecal matter ones. Lots of people know this, and yet I don’t see anybody hovering their sponges over the dishes while cleaning up.

I’m not saying a little TLC in the bathroom is a bad thing, I’m a big fan of the magical paper toilet seat cover and I have been known to double up on them or add some toilet paper in a particularly dirty restroom.

But the clincher is this: I wouldn’t have to do any of this if the rest of you would just sit the hell down. If you sat down, there wouldn’t be any pee on the seat to start with, so the lady after you could relax and enjoy her bathroom break instead of being forced to hover, most likely adding to the pee mess in the ladies room. That’s the one element the “Hover or Cover” video seems to ignore—that if you choose to hover, you often sprinkle when you tinkle.

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Sitting down probably isn’t going to hurt you, and if you don’t believe me, watch the video. Unless you have an open sore on your butt cheeks or upper thighs, nothing is going to happen to you. Your skin is a miracle of evolution: it keeps germs out—not only because of its own magical powers, but also because of all the beneficial bacteria our bodies keep around that help fight the bad stuff.

I know I’m being a little cranky about this, and it’s not a huge deal for me in the grand scheme of life. But there are people who actually do suffer when you make a mess on the seat. First and foremost, anybody who is dealing with disability, muscle or fatigue issues, or elderly folks who may not have the physical ability to hover like you do with your youthful sprightliness. Why is it fair to make them clean your pee off the toilet seat?

Have you also stopped to consider the feelings of the person cleaning the bathroom every single day? Do you think he or she wants to be cleaning your urine off the seat and floor when you miss the bowl? No, the cleaning staff does not want to clean up your urine! That’s why there’s a toilet there that has water that flushes down. It’s a genius invention, really. Yes, ladies, the toilet flushes.

Not long ago, while at a my doctor’s office in a fancy medical building, I saw this sign posted on the back of the stall door (yes, I took this photo while peeing), and I thought to myself, Ladies, is this really where we are as a society? Do we really need a sign from the cleaning staff telling us to do the thing I’ve already taught my six year-old so to do (nearly) consistently? Flush the dang toilet. I don’t need to see your mess, and neither does anybody else. Be kind to my behind.

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Ladies, it’s time we started peeing it forward. Share this video so that the next time you and your friends are tempted to hover, you’ll fight the urge and plant your booty right down. And if you absolutely must hover, do the rest of us a favor and lift the seat first—and then flush the dang toilet. The cleaning staff and the person in line after you will thank you for it.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: Jun 23, 2014, 11:00 am CDT