Why I Finally Started Lowering The Toilet Seat

I like to think of myself as a chivalrous person. Always have. Whether I am such a person or not is a question you'll have to ask those who know me.

When I was a freshman in college and still relatively new to the South, I had a girlfriend who praised to me certain "gentleman-like" behaviors. Things that were to her chivalrous, but seemed to me ridiculous. I remember her telling me in approving tones about a dude who never let his woman open the car door to get in or out. All I could think was, "Seriously? Every time they get back from Walgreen's or the library she has to sit there while he walks all the way around the car to let her out?" I can see two people being into this sort of behavior, in a ritualistic mating dance kind of way. I can even see it being a little kinky. But expecting it from me? I don't think so.

I have never been able to completely divorce chivalry from practicality. In fact, I think that doing so would render it meaningless. Chivalry means something because men are so much stronger than women, and because women are so valuable (I wanted to say precious, but you would have read that too cute). I need some practicality, some utility, to give the act meaning, and from which to then build beauty.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a gesture. But it needs to be at least tethered to the earth. I always open doors for women, because it's a beautiful gesture that still makes their lives easier, even if only by saving them a half-second. But I would never make a woman wait for me to arrive at a door so that I could open it for her.

Which is why I would not normally help a woman out of a Camry, but I would help her get out of an F350 pickup truck. Helping women out of vehicles dates back to the use of vehicles that would have been genuinely difficult to get in and out of. You know, carriages and Studebakers. Now it's a flip of a latch and a swing of the legs with most vehicles. But an F350? Ah, there's a chance to show some chivalry. I could be of genuine assistance. It would truly be good of me to help.

This was the attitude I brought to toilet seats when I first married. Look, baby, it's your fault you just unthinkingly sat down on the toilet in the middle of the night and got your ass wet. Just as I am being asked to remember to lower the seat, so am I asking you to do the same. No big deal, right? If we both try to remember, things should be fine. Plus, it's your bottom. Keep it out of the toilet water, baby. That's where practicality came in. You don't need me to lower the seat for you. I'm not saving you from having to carry too much, or jump too far down, or run too far. Just remember and flip.

But the expectation from wifey and from all of womandom was inflexible: you will lower the seat for your woman. You jerk.

Which only made me bow up. Not long into our marriage I was loudly refusing to lower the toilet seat, simply because I  would not do what was expected of me. I have no obligation to lower the toilet seat, said I, so I will not. Further, I resent society's aggressive demands that I do what God's law does not require of me!!!!! *rant rant rant* *pant pant pant*

As far as I was concerned, the jury was still out on toilet seats.

Take some responsibility for your own butt, know what I'm saying?

Then one day, several years into our marriage, I had an epiphany.

I was zipping up my fly and I asked myself, "Why don't I just lower the toilet seat because she'd like me to?"

It didn't change any of what I said before. I am still completely devoid of sympathy when women tell their stories of splashing their bottoms into toilet water at two in the morning. It's a pretty dumb thing to do.

But being right can be oh so wrong. Let's be honest, I was being a jerk. What was she asking of me? Almost nothing. If she had asked me to remember that she liked 3/4 of a teaspoon of sugar in her tea, not 1/2, not a whole, but 3/4, would I have balked? Sure, being me, I would have made fun of her. But I would have tenderly scooped her out 3/4 of a teaspoon every time, until death did us part. Yet there I'd been, refusing to lower the toilet seat because I'd made it a thing about which to be right.

Is my beloved wife capable of taking care of her own toilet needs? Can she keep her butt dry? Of course. But she asked me to take care of that for her. So I do.

Now my wife and my daughters live in a house with lowered toilet seats. Boy, do they have nice husbands and fathers and sons and brothers.

I would like to apologize to the future husbands of my daughters who might have to deal with an inappropriate feeling of entitlement when it comes to toilet seats. But take my advice. It's not that big of a deal. Swallow your pride, and tenderly and devotedly lower the toilet seat after each micturation.

Don't ask her to give to you before you give to her.