Should Standing Action Be Banned In Unisex Toilets?

Our night editor Elly Hart snapped this unusual image on top of a unisex toilet she visited after "eating Belgian waffles cooked by a Middle Eastern man at a Canadian cafe run by a Korean woman". Whatever the origins, the message is clear: men should sit down regardless of what they're planning to do in this bathroom. Is this a reasonable request?

The inability of men to remember to put the toilet seat down after urinating is a relatively tired meme when discussing gender differences, but I've never encountered this particular variant before. Part of me thinks "fair enough". Part of me thinks "anyone who can't control their spray isn't necessarily going to leave the toilet in a fit state anyway". What do you think? Does this sign go too far? Should the sign even be needed? Share your thoughts on bathroom etiquette in the comments.


    "Is this a reasonable request?"
    Oh God yes! There are some filthy grots around. I don't know how they behave at home but they can be pigs in other peoples toilets. Of course a trough helps.

      So because there's "filthy grots" around... men are required to stick their asses on communal seats when they otherwise don't need to?
      How the $*$#* is that logical?

      No-one said it better than the opening 15 seconds of Va*inal Carnage's song "G*ng B*ng Business Man". Women can be filthy grots too. Blaming men for 'bad aim' is a bit of a cop-out.

      The problem here is, when women use public toilets, they don't actually sit down they 'hover'.

      If a man was to sit down, he couldn't 'hover' he'd actually have to place his clean legs on that cesspool of a toilet seat, which most would find unacceptable. Surely lifting the seat is the answer.

      Personally I grab a decent wadge of toilet paper when I'm done and quickly wipe the area, leaving it cleaner than I found it. Then I disinfect.

        when women use public toilets, they don't actually sit down they 'hover'.

        Someone needs to show Matel how they do this so Matel can implement it into their next hoverboard!

        1. Your keyboard/mobile phone/light switch has more bacteria on it than even a public toilet seat.
        2. Urine is sterile so unless someone is actually sh*tting on the seat, you are unlikely to get any diseases
        3. I was unaware that women posses an ability to "hover", I thought they just squatted. Are you incapable of squatting?
        4. Why stand when you can sit?

        Last edited 16/01/13 12:34 pm

    I hate to split hairs but if you look closely, the notice seems to illustrate that stand-up weeing is not allowed if the toilet SEAT is down. A pedant might argue that stand-up seeing is ok if the seat is up. Which wouldn't be me, of course :)

    In 1 unisex toilet I've seen in QLD there was a sign telling people to lift the toilet seat up once they'd finished.

      "unisex" in QLD means "only fat white bald blokes permitted".

    larry david gives a compelling argument for sitting while peeing:

    so, a few things here:

    1: no guy should ever pee with the seat down, no matter how good your aim is, when "ending", you will hit the seat, and when shaking, you will hit the seat. also, the spray isn't always a neat, uniform flow.
    2: if you go in to a toilet with a urinal, use it! what do you have to hide or fear? why pee in a cubical? especially those guys that do it with the door open..
    3: sitting down to pee is a pretty odd request, the request should be just to treat it like you do at home. eg don't pee on everything!
    4: leaving the seat up isn't really a cleanliness issue, it is women being an issue. it is the above mentioned mess of peeing with the seat down that is the issue.

    Another sign prohibiting squatting on the seat wouldn't go astray. IMHO it's simple: if you want to stand use a urinal. Toilets are seat-shaped and positioned ideally for sitting, and standing up is a really sub-optimal way to use the facility.

    As someone who used to tidy public toilets for a living, female toilets were consistently filthier than male toilets.

    A unisex public toilet is going to attract the undesirables that all public toilets attract. Male accuracy will be the least of the problems.

      I've heard this as well from two different cleaners.

      I used to be a cleaner, female toilets were consistently filthier than the male toilets. I can only put the state of them down to females also not wanting to touch the seat with their bottoms any more than males, but lacking the equipment to at least pretend to aim just get it all over the place.
      Regardless of gender, put the seat up if you're going to stand, and clean up after yourself, and everything should be fine.

        I used to be a cleaner, female toilets were consistently filthier than the male toilets. I can only put the state of them down to females also not wanting to touch the seat with their bottoms any more than males, but lacking the equipment to at least pretend to aim just get it all over the place.

        I am guilty of this. If the toilet is already filthy before I use it, it's very tempting to not clean up any mess you add to the existing mess.

        Someone should invent a toilet that allows women to pee without having to sit down.

          and many other variants... I heard about them ages ago for use at music festivals and similar events.

          Someone should invent a toilet that allows women to pee without having to sit down.
          Well, I guess someone did. I used to know a lady (by the loosest of definitions) who would just hook the end of her 4-inch stiletto heel over the top of the men's urinals and let it go. Whatever works, I guess... :)

      My partner used to constantly complain about the female toilets at her university. Tampons left on top of the seat for someone to collect, foot prints on the seat from squatters, shit and piss all over the place. The high amount of international students obviously has a lot to do with it, but the issue didn't exist for the male toilets where most would stand and pee.

    So, how is this enforced?

    Frankly, pee on the seat is a mid-range horror in unisex toilets. There's at least two things more gross to find on the seat. But yes, lift seat when peeing.

      I was thinking the same question. It doesn't matter if a rule like this was created. There's no way to enforce it without violating people's privacy. It doesn't necessarily have to be enforced though, at least some people would comply.

    guilting men to sit down to wee is popular in germany, and you can buy devices that complain whenever the seat is lifted up:

    The word of the day is now 'Sitzpinkler' .

      Only works if you're trying to be discreet. Most of the time I try and make the most noise possible by bulls-eyeing the water :D My first temptation with that thing would be to see if there's a way to hack it to play a fanfare.

    I really don't buy the put down the seat for ladies as its more convenient for them. Because if a guy goes in next he is inconvenienced if the seat is down.

    I'm pro putting down both seats but most people just don't want to do anything.

      I combat this by putting BOTH lids down. Then they're just as inconvenienced as us... Suckers..!

        You should always put both seats down, do you realise how much spray comes off a flush?

    I dump both the seat and the cover when I'm done for two reasons: one, the missus then has to lift the cover anyway when she wants to use it, and two: so the bloody cats don't fall in.
    As for public toilets; I just avoid at all costs, but if someone came in and told me I had to sit to do my business I'd just start weeing on them instead. Pee'd on trousers and shoes would be far more inconvenient than a dribble on the seat.

    Last edited 15/01/13 12:56 pm

      I originally read your post as you "dumped on the seat and the cover"... eewww!!

    I would think it's actually more hygenic to allow men to pee standing up. That reduces the number of bums on the seats, which reduces the number of diseases that can be spread. As disgusting as it is to have a seat covered in piss, at least urine is sterile.

    There's also the issue of women who are scared of sitting on public toilets so they hover over them. The aim of women is worse than that of men.

    I think a better approach would be to have cleaning supplies available for those with bad aim. It happens to all of us occasionally. Promoting responsibility for your mistakes is better than oppressing the general public I think.

      Cleaning supplies such as toilet paper?

    This is very sexist.

    I have seen women leave urine on the seats too (ie. went into a toilet after a female, fresh urine in a large puddle on the seat). Discussing it with female friends, they say they often stand on the seat when urinating in public toilets - hence they urinate on the seats too. So thats worse - shoes and urine on the seat!

    Just a few filthy grots? As a male it shames me to admit that most men appear to be filthy grots. I took my young son into a busy toilet at a cinema a few days ago. I stood in view of the sinks while waiting for him and was astonished at the number of men that don't bother washing their hands. I counted, (my son takes awhile), and worked out that about 3/4's of the men didn't bother to wash. Whether they came from the stalls or the trough didn't make a difference. Keep that in mind next time you shake a guys hand.

      I agree that it's disgusting, but something makes you think that the female strike rate is significantly better for hand washing.

      Whatever it is that makes you think that, shouldn't.

    I kind of have to agree with this. I used to work in an office where we had separate toilets for men and women. The men's toilet had a urinal and cubicle. It used to really cheese me off when I'd go to use the cubicle only to find half dried puddles of urine on the tiles in front of the toilet, and on the seat. Fairdinkum!! If you can't get it in the bowl, sit down or clean it up when your done. Or, better still, use the urinal. It's simple courtesy.

    Both men and women can be disgusting when it comes to public toilets, though I've only had experience with women's toilets. I've seen some really horrible things in women's toilets, the worst of which had various bodily secretions (not just urine...) all over the seats and even the walls and sink. D: Needless to say I backed out of that hellhole pretty quickly (felt sorry for the cleaners. Only thing that could fix that would be a bomb). I don't understand why some people treat public toilets so badly. Would they do such disgusting things to their own toilet? Of course not. But then if they did that at home they'd have to clean it themselves.

    The first thing that popped into my head was from the Thin Blue Line.

    How do you enforce this, other than making the ceiling height significantly lower, or having a per-post hi-res picture posted to the company intranet after a staff member swipes in/out of the cubicle?

    In India they have a worse problem. There, people put their feet on a top board that functions as a toilet seat, then crouch down. In this position any pee goes straight forward sometimes directly onto the floor.

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