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Category — Reader Mail

Dual-Flush Toilets in Canada?!

We here at the ICBE love dual-flush toilets. First brought to our attention by the land down under, the general concept is as follows. Your toilet has two buttons, one for a regular flush, and one for a light flush that uses less water. Think of it as one button for pee and another for poo if you will. It makes a lot of sense, since the standard flush is major overkill for a bit of pee, and saves a ton of water over time.

Sure you could always let the yellow mellow, but that doesn’t go over well with everyone. I’ve always wondered why dual-flush toilets weren’t mainstream in North America, but now I have a report that they are – at least in Canada. Esteemed reader Holly writes the following:

We here in Canada have quite a few of the two-button devices detailed in the Australian section.

Really? I’ve spent 21 years of my life in Canada, and have travelled there numerous times since relocating to the USA, and have never once seem a dual-flush toilet. Unfortunately my reply to Holly was ignored so I was unable to get any more specific information.

Any Canadian readers out there with stories of dual-flush toilets, proof or maybe pictures?

January 27, 2010   1 Comment

Clean Up Your Mess At Work

I received a rather disturbing email from Ash recently:

I’d like to request an update to

At my place of work we constantly have problems with people peeing on the toilet seat, which can make doing number #2 an unnecessarily unpleasant experience. Could you please add a section on putting the seat up if you have to pee standing up in the bowl ? I’m considering printing off the points on this page and putting them up, so if you could update the page it would be awesome!

It’s disturbing because wiping your pee off the seat (or just plain not peeing on the seat in the first place) seems like such a fundamental rule of bathroom etiquette and general good behavior that people wouldn’t need to be reminded of it. It just goes to show that there is no depth to which people will not sink when it comes to bad bathroom etiquette. I have updated the page, but let me say it here as well:

Being out of the house does not give you license to be a slob. Just because you are at work, or in a random public restroom, it is not okay to pee on the seat, or on the floor, or not flush, or any other gross thing you might consider doing.

January 18, 2010   1 Comment

Seat Up, Seat Down Revisited

VooDoo Child writes the following:

“There have been studies done which show that the most efficient thing to do is simply to leave the seat in whatever position it was when you finished up.” (from Bathroom Etiquette at Home)

The above statement is actually true proper etiquette for today’s time. It is not the man’s responsibility to make sure the seat is down for a woman… any more than it is the responsibility of a woman to put the seat back up when she finishes. It is 2009 and nobody gets a free pass just because of gender.

Hmmm. Regardless of the year (this email was received while it was still 2009), I hardly consider leaving the seat down a free pass for women. Women already have a hard enough time going to the bathroom what with the whole “can’t pee standing up without some effort or third party appliances” thing, and if leaving the seat down makes it easier for them, while I think that’s the right thing to do. Etiquette is all about being aware of others.

But you are correct – it’s not the man’s responsibility to put the seat down, it’s simply good etiquette to put the seat down. People always confuse etiquette, laws, rules and responsibility.

VooDoo Child continues:

SIDE NOTE: The same holds true for birth control. It is not the man’s responsibility – because he cannot get pregnant. (Of course, if he fails to protect himself, he could end up with 18 years of child support payments, not to mention an STD – but I digress). A woman should hold complete responsibility for birth control. Please consider the following: If it happened that a man’s testicles grew to the size of watermelons, plus he experienced several months of daily nausea, and then was saddled with a lifelong commitment to another human being (or had to make the difficult decision to kill it) – just because he didn’t consider birth control before having sex, I ASSURE you that 99.9 percent of men would take every precaution to keep that from happening, and would NEVER expect a woman to protect him from that.

Whoa. Sex and pregnancy have NOTHING to do with etiquette. Both women and men need to do whatever they can to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STDs. It’s ridiculous to compare toilet seat position and sex/pregnancy.

Still more from VooDoo Child:

Now, I’m certain you will not correct your page, because that etiquette rule was simply your opinion as a woman. However, if there were a non-gendered judging party who was completely impartial and unbiased…. I feel certain they would agree with me whole-heartedly.

As for your site in general though, I like it. Keep up the good work. 🙂

Curious – this is the first time I’ve been mistaken for being a woman. I assure you I am a man, and my thoughts on toilet seat etiquette are anything but selfish. Oh, and thanks!

January 7, 2010   No Comments

Ultimate Loo: Heather Lake, Sequoia National Park

There are loos, buy cialis and then there are ultimate loos. Gisborne sends us the following shot of a toilet near Heather Lake, malady in Sequoia National Park. This my readers, remedy is an ultimate loo!

Heather Lake Sequoia National Park Toilet

And in case you are wondering, the sign is warning users not to throw any trash in the toilet.

January 3, 2010   2 Comments

Awesome Danish Toilet Sign

Alert reader Neil sent us a lovely picture of this fantastic toilet sign spotted near Korsor in Denmark:

Awesome Danish Toilet Sign

While I suppose it’s possible that in fact there are two signs pointing to two different things, I reject this hypothesis. The only reasonable explanation is that the Danes, upon going to the toilet, routinely end up in the water up to their shoulders.


December 16, 2009   2 Comments

Apparently, Some Poop Smells Good

In the past, we’ve discussed the phenomenon whereby people seem to believe that their own farts smell good. This time, a reader has gone one step further, asserting that his actual poops smell not only good, but like specific food items!

Braden writes the following:

Some times, when I poop, it smells like a very inviting plate of over-easy eggs and hash browns.

Unfortunately, it seems like things aren’t always quite so lovely. The email continues…

Other times it smells like cow manure. I find this quite amusing.

From tasty breakfast items to cow dung. You win some and you lose some Braden!

November 29, 2009   No Comments

Adjacent Stall Usage

Alaric writes the following:

As like every morning I go into the bathroom to have my morning glory. This restroom is pretty big. It is at a government building and has 15 stalls (I counted them because of this). I was the only person in the room at the time so I selected a stall that was not in the middle and not at the end. I sat down and started my business when I hear the door open. Did not really care but this guy selects the stall right next to mine… Mind you that there are 14 EMPTY stalls. Then he proceeds to drop the biggest bomb known to man, this shit was so loud and forceful that his gas had echoes and it sounded like some was dumping out there sink in the toilet… Stunk to high hell.. This happened right next to me… Dude could have picked any damn toilet in the restroom but picks the one next to mine.

This has to be a breach of bathroom etiquette, like the one urinal rule. If there is 3 urinals and there is one guy on the end you take the one on the other end.

Good point. To a first approximation, stall usage mirrors urinal usage. You should never choose a stall adjacent to an occupied stall when another option is available. Now that said, there are a couple of notable exceptions:

  1. When all the other stalls are occupied, it is perfectly fine, under normal circumstances, to take an adjacent stall. With urinals, this is only acceptable under exceptional circumstances.
  2. When all the other stalls are disgustingly dirty, it’s also acceptable to take an adjacent stall.

While it’s possible 13 of the other 14 stalls were really dirty, it sounds like this individual was in gross violation of proper bathroom etiquette.

November 26, 2009   No Comments

Standing Pee: Seat Up or Down?

Adam writes the following:

My friend’s boss recently called him out because he caught him not lifting the seat to urinate while standing up. My friend (an attorney) retorted that the opening in the front was made precisely for this purpose and didn’t feel like he did anything wrong.

My position is that no matter how good you think your aim is, the seat belongs in the upright position if you are standing and urinating…especially in an office bathroom.

On the other hand I would not ever touch the seat at the Port Authority restroom (or similar public facility, airport, etc.) because everyone else has urinated all over it.

What is correct etiquette here? And can you address the work vs. public facility issue if you feel there is one?

First, I want to know how your friend’s boss caught him in the act with the seat down. Scratch that, I actually have no desire to know. As far as the etiquette goes, for once you will find the ICBE without a strong opinion one way or the other.

As long as you leave the seat clean, it’s okay to pee with the seat down. If you get a few drops on the seat – just wipe them up and go about your day. Now I’m not advocating peeing all over the seat and then getting out the mop, but those public seats can be pretty scary to touch, and the important thing is that everything is clean for the next person who uses the toilet.

November 25, 2009   No Comments

Augh! Stop Looking Inside Closed Stalls!

Faith sent the following very disturbing email:

First of all, I found your site on stumble upon, and instantly showed my husband. He is amused that almost every time I go to use a public restroom I come back with a story. Really, a lot of people aren’t about the bathroom manners.

I really liked “Women’s Bathroom Issues II”, but I kept expecting to find SOMETHING about my number one bathroom horror story, and didn’t see it anywhere on your site.

Now, I’m from the states (I saw this in Canada, too) and haven’t been to Europe yet. I was recently told that in Europe the bathrooms don’t have this problem, but in the states, there are large cracks at the hinges of the stall doors.

In my most horrific public restroom experience a girl stood outside my door and stared at me.

Of course, this is less typical, but there are rules about standing in line outside a bathroom door without turning so you’re looking through those horrible cracks in the doors.

Just a suggestion for something you might want to add to the site!

This seems like one of those things that nobody should have to be told. If the stall door is closed, don’t go peeking inside through the cracks!! But if people need to be told to wash their hands, I guess they need to be told this too.


Now I understand that sometimes you want to confirm that the stall door is closed because somebody is inside, to avoid waiting around like an idiot for an already empty stall to empty. But that’s what the “duck and glance under the door for feet” move was invented for.

And by the sounds of things, a lot of women are peeking inside just for fun when they know somebody is inside. That’s just plain wrong.

November 4, 2009   1 Comment

Dirty Sink Handles

Jan Erik writes the following:

I believe few people think about the amount of germs on the sink handle. Just think about it: when you wash your hands you first have to turn the handle on the sink, leaving germs on it. Then you wash your hands and they are neat and clean, but to stop the sink from pouring you must use the germ infected handle again, thereby obtaining the germs you (and all before you) left there.

To prevent this, when I dry my hands with a paper towel after washing them, I use the paper towel when I turn off the water.

Well you’re right about one thing – those sink handles seem like a good place for germs to accumulate, as it’s the first thing people with dirty hands touch. But you’re wrong that not many people have thought about it. I take great care with sink handles, as do my wife and many of the people I know.

It’s one of the reasons I tolerate automatic faucets. They tend to do a bad job sensing the presence of your hands, but its sure nice not to have to touch anything.

October 16, 2009   4 Comments