Pick Your Poison

As we were both exiting the restroom, I said to her, “The Fella finds it somewhat neurotic that I use a paper towel to open the public restroom door when I am leaving.” Her response was something like, “Well, isn’t it?” To which I said, “Have you seen how many people don’t wash their hands after doing their business? Besides, it’s not like he had just met me. Hello! I’m neurotic about some things.” Shooting her a warning look and thinking to myself, “She better not say I’m neurotic about everything!” because I’m selectively neurotic. Or so I like to think.

We were making our way back to the office when I said, “Some people don’t even use toilet seat covers!” She looked at me boldly, stating, “I don’t.” What?! Say it isn’t so! Shocked, I stopped in my tracks, “But you’re the one that hates people peeing in the shower! Yet you will sit on a public toilet without protection?”

“Yes. It’s just a toilet. It’s just your butt.”

“But it is your butt touching where other people’s butts have touched. There are poo particles! Pee droplets!”

“It’s not that bad.”

“What about hepatitis?!”

“Urban myth. You can’t get hepatitis from toilet seats.”

“Gah! I don’t understand.” I shudder.

“But you think it is ok to pee in shower. On your own leg!”

“Not all the time. Just in emergencies. Besides you are in the shower- there is soap and water. And it is your own pee.”

Tell me, in your estimation which is worse: peeing in the shower or not using a toilet seat cover in a public restroom?


72 thoughts on “Pick Your Poison

  1. Ok, first of all… don’t judge me.

    Second, I hate public bathrooms but will pee in them if I have to. Sadly, most don’t have the toilet seat covers. So I can try my best to “hover” but I am short and well… that doesn’t work out. But I always always wash my hands and I also do the paper towel thing when opening the door.

    But I will also pee in the shower if I need to. The shower I normally use is jacked up and it takes the tub like 6 hours to drain ( I need a plumber I know) so I don’t pee in that one. But in my master bath where I just have a free standing shower. Sure why not? Like you said… soap, water, etc.

  2. Peeing in the shower is worse. It would run all over your feet. Most doctors say that there is no reason to be so worried about toilet seats.

  3. i’ve pee’d in the shower (not on my legs or feet) and i rarely use toilet seats covers because i’ve read more articles about worse germs on doorhandles and in the air… but in public, messy restrooms – i squat so there’s not an issue… and for those that use the excuse “there’s no covers for to use”, can’t you use toilet paper? paper is paper my friends… maybe i just don’t worry about it as much as i should – hey, i’m still alive so i must be okay… ;o)

  4. Uhhh…equally gross??
    By the way, the self-proclaimed hoverers are the ones responsible for the tiny pee droplets! Ew! Just use toilet paper on the seat! (no offense intended to Carrissa, I’m sort of trying to be funny)

  5. That’s a funny conversation. I’ve got to side with her on the toilet seat comments, though … lots of urban myths about what you can catch. Doctors say, unless you have open wounds on your butt (in which case, I don’t want to know), then it’s fine to sit on the seat. Having said that, so long as there is soap and water in the shower, pee away. It’s sometimes hard not to and that’s way better than having to clean up a water-laden bathroom floor and toilet seat because you opted to exit the shower! 🙂

  6. DEFINITELY the latter. I don’t pee on myself in the shower, but if I did, there’s soap and water like you said. And for the love of god, it’s my own pee. I’m not exactly drinking sewage.

    I’m not a priss and am actually very low maintenance, but public washrooms just gross me out. If I can, I will hold it in and run all the way home. I may also be slightly crazy.

  7. OMG the toilet seat offense is way bigger. You can catch any sort of thing that way. I have a friend who even caught an external type of HPV in a public bathroom!!!

  8. “I have a friend who even caught an external type of HPV in a public bathroom!!!”

    Ha! That’s just what they told their significant other!

  9. Ha, they both sound pretty bad, but I have to admit that peeing in the shower just grosses me out more. I hate it when I’m in a restroom and I see people not washing their hands. I want to lecture them about germs.

  10. I do not think you are neurotic at all about you cleanliness.
    Prevention is so important. And when you get sick you really get sick – so bravo for taking care of yourself and others by not spreading germs. Maybe you have enlightened others to do the same – I hope so!
    neurotic mom

  11. Well, I do both – pee in the shower in emergency, and not use toilet seat covers. So, what can I say? I do wash my hands thoroughly after using public anything, and use the paper towel to open the door.

  12. Wow, the internet is all kinds of crazy today. I’m going to get fired for reading all kinds of things about naked and pee.

    Anyway, I’m a hover-er at times, so I think the public toilet is worse. And I do use the paper towel to open the door– I’ve become obsessive about it, gawd knows why!
    Then I read articles that say your keyboard is dirtier than the door knob so I don’t know why to do! Probably never leave home, right? Okay, good. 🙂

  13. I’m going to go with peeing in the shower just because I know that there is not much you can get from a public toilet seat. In fact, back when I lived in Virginia, I don’t recall ever seeing seat covers. Basically it’s a huge waste of paper.

  14. i ALWAYS hover. i wipe it up afterwards for those that sit down, but please – can’t we all just hover? It’s good work for the thigh muscles anyways.

    I think they have a much better system in India – squatting over a hole in the ground is much easier than over the porcelain throne.

    Peeing in the shower – not a big deal, I think. Aim for the drain hole and wash it away.

  15. Please don’t hover people! All you do is put the pee where it doesn’t belong–and even if you wipe it up, it spreads it around. GAH! Sit down and make yourself comfortable.

    And I’m guessing y’all don’t want to hear the story about my friend’s three year old drinking out of a public toilet?

    I didn’t think so.

  16. I don’t care if germs on a toilet seat are urban myths or not. The idea of my bare butt touching an area that has been covered in less attractive butts, and god knows how many bodily fluids- that’s freaking gross.

    It’s like eating peanuts at the bartop. 1 part peanuts, 4 parts pee particles.

    I have no problem with peeing in the shower.

  17. Not all the time. Just in emergencies.


    Well you’re speaking my language today, Ms. Sizz. I could pontificate on this matter for hours.

    Both are gross. But if I had to pick, I’d say sitting on the public toilet is worse. Especially if its your own shower you’re peeing in. I mean, like you say, it’s yours. There’s hot water. And, pee is sterile. Someone told me that once. I have no idea why she knew, how she knew, or why she thought it important to tell me.

    I was under the impression that girls always hovered, however.

    And I definitely open the restroom door with a paper towel when leaving. That’s not neurotic. It’s all about being healthy and happy and clean 🙂

  18. Why can’t you pee before you get in the shower? I think that is gross, but I also think the no toilet seat cover/toilet paper cover is gross too. I also use the paper towels to open the door most of the time. I may have a little germ issue? In theory I get that the pee thing in the shower isn’t a big deal, but I think if I tried to do that I would throw up because the thought of it grosses me out so much.

  19. I loved the link to the Straight Dope.

    Personally, I will stick with toilet seat covers or tp if no seat covers available. Just to be on the safe side. I don’t know if they still have them there, but Chicago’s OHare airport had these nifty plastic sleeves that automatically recovered the seat before use. It felt slightly odd to be sitting on plastic, but it felt cleaner, no risk of pooticles or pee drops.

    But I will pee in the shower. It’s mine own and I have soap and hot water. And sometimes you just gotta go once you get in the shower, ya know?

  20. Ha, Sizzle, you’re too funny.

    More gross? A toss up for me. I don’t pee in the shower, but I also (usually) either put something on the seat (tp, a liner) or squat. I mean, why not work the leg muscles while I’m at it?

  21. Uhh, when I use a public bathroom, I don’t think of all the pee and poo particles (wait, I do), but I think of how many millions of vaginas have previously touched and/or hovered near that seat. Given that women are prone to leaving with droplets remaining, I’ll say that I prefer urination in the shower (although, the thought of it, and me later scouring the shower to decontaminate it makes me retch), to public toilets.

    I will admit that one of my earliest memories – and I think of this every time I go to the loo where there is no covers – is of my grandmother, who ALWAYS made me put toilet paper on the seat to protect myself.

  22. bah! i ALWAYS pull enough paper towel out before i wash my hands (so as to avoid all the pee germs on the handle of said holder), then i wash, then i ALWAYS hold onto it to open the door, too! i dont know where this all started, but i think oprah told me to do it back in the day. and you know you have to do anything oprah tells you. but i have to say i do sit on the seat. hovering never ever worked for me. i know its gross but i had to get over it.

  23. Off-topic, BUT… Did you know that standing in the toilet bowl barefoot and peeing down your leg will prevent and/or cure athlete’s foot?

  24. That’s easy. Using an unprotected toilet seats is far worse than peeing in the shower. Although, I am a boy and don’t necessarily ‘pee on my leg’ when nature calls me in the shower; even If I did, public toilets are grosser(period). You win.

  25. Not using a toilet seat cover is definitely worse!!! I don’t even sit on them – I squat. And I also use a paper towel when exiting a public restroom, unless there isn’t any, in which case I either wait for someone else to open the door or I use the tip of my fingernail to nudge the handle. Does that make me ever more neurotic?

  26. I just thought I’d tell you all that I won’t even use my hand to flush the toilet. If it isn’t self-flushing I always use my foot to flush it.

    My neurosis runs deep. I tell no lies!

  27. Dude, apparently I am the grossest woman on the planet because I don’t find either of those “offenses” all that bad. And I do both of them. Granted, I don’t regularly pee in the shower, but yeah, in an emergency, sure thing.

  28. “I saw a drain! What’s the difference!?”
    “Different pipes go different places!”
    “I’ll call a plumber right now!”

    – Seinfeld

  29. I don’t have a problem with either.
    Peeing in the shower or using a public toilet sans protection.

    Do you have visitors to your home use them?

    Do you want all of the kindergarten bathrooms using them?

    Do you have a problem with paper and plastic bags in grocery stores? If so, wouldn’t you also have a problem with the paper waste if everyone used covers?

    Why not go all the way to bedet?

  30. After giving birth, the nurses tell you that if you are in the shower and feel the urge to pee, DO IT. If they think it’s OK, so do I.

    As for toilet seats, if there are no covers, I use toilet paper, because EWWW.

  31. I confess – I pee in the shower.

    I’m with George Costanza on this one: “IT’ S ALL PIPES!”

    And then there’s soap and water right there.

    But I do have a problem with the public toilet seats. Because most men are lazy, they do not take the time to lift the seat before urinating. Then, whether through a spurious lack of aim or some genetic disposition/physical mutation that causes the pee to exit as a spray rather than stream, the toilet seat is most often left coated with someone else’s urine.

    I don’t know about you, but my momma always taught me to clean up after myself. Anyway, I do not relish the idea of sitting in someone else’s urine. At least in the shower there are no surfaces that are sitting with pee soaking on them.

    What’s worse is when it’s more than just pee that has been left behind… But that is the subject for another time.

  32. Oh, not using the toilet seat cover. Worse yet, peeing all over the seat and not wiping it off afterwards!

    And I use the paper towel to open the restroom door, too. Yep.

  33. Not using a toilet seat cover is waaaaaaaaay worse. It’s just dirty and gross and I don’t need my butt and thighs sitting where someone else’s just sat. I have found where I live now that toilet seat covers aren’t mandatory in public restrooms, and so out comes toilet paper to protect my butt!

    It’s my own pee, there’s water running along my leg at the same time, and there’s soap. Nothing unsanitary there!

  34. The hovers make the case for toilet seat covers.

    Peeing in the shower, can be rectified – soap, water. Enough said.

    And this not neurotic.

  35. I never, ever use any other restroom facilities except my own.

    Oh, except at the doctor’s office. And there they give you those antibacterial wipes to use on the door handle (no knob, only handles, smart guy) as a precaution. And the toilet flushes automatically 30 seconds after standing up.

    Oh, and the toilet seat there? It has a pee insert. It fits over the seat, you pee in it, and pour it into the bottle, then dispose of it (it’s sterile). So my most precious parts never touch anything non-sterile at any time.

    If I have to “go,” I’ll hold it until I get home. No matter how far it is. Kegels, my friend, kegels. And a good sphincter muscle helps as well!

    Yeah, Mr. Fella would have a field day with my neuroses!

  36. Crikey, I’m guilty of both. I think the toilet seat cover is the stupidest thing ever. How about just wiping the seat before sitting down? For dudes the seat covers cause problems when peeing and stuff. I won’t elaborate here, but it’s just a nuisance. It’s not like I’m going to sit on a soaking wet seat bare assed and all. Geez. The nerve! No seat and peeing in the shower rule!

  37. Do I have to choose?!! Ewww to both of those options.

    Dude, you’re already in the bathroom! Shame on you if you forgot to pee before you got in the shower. *shaking finger at Sizz*

    I say cop a squat in public bathrooms…no way these buns sit on those nasty things.

  38. I thought everybody knew urine is sterile. (Unlike spit.) So peeing in the shower . . . okie dokie! Spitting in the shower . . . ewwwwwwww!

    Public bathrooms . . . gross all the way ’round.

  39. Peeing in the shower is so not worse. You can wash the hell out of everything when you are done. A germy toilet seat stays on your ass all day long ;).

  40. I’m kinda against both. But please, please tell me you have NEVER shared anything with this person from your office…like food or pens and protractors, assuming of course that you use a protractor, which you (like most of America) probably do not.

  41. Toilet seat covers are such a nuisance. They always shift around and never stay where they’re needed. Plus, as one of my biggest fears is flooding a toilet, adding that extra paper in there is the worst thing possible for my mental well-being.

  42. Sizz. I full on agree with you. There are so many things I could say right now but we don’t need to delve into my ocd problems. Not touching anything in a public bathroom just.makes.good.sense!

  43. I would sooner pee in the shower than touch my bare ass to a toilet seat any day. YUCK!

    A quick gross out toilet story: shopping with a friend and as she was getting ready to leave the stall she dropped he lip balm next to the toilet. When she bent over to pick it up she triggered the auto flush and was sprayed in the face with toilet water. I don’t think she has been the same since.

  44. yeah…you know what i have to say about this…

    she is NUTS

    gross x100

    just your butt? is she aware you worked for a health org in CA?

    please tell me it is someone i don’t know…

  45. I have to say, I’ve never run across a pee-in-the-shower kind of emergency in my life, and I’m sorta glad about that. What kind of emergency calls for peeing in the shower? Suddenly having to pee while you’re in the middle of shampooing? Can’t hold it for another 7 minutes, or so? I mean, unless one has a medical problem with their bladder (bless ’em), what’s the emergency all y’all are referring to?

    I remember back in college when my Scientologist Boyfriend had just gotten out of the shower, and I needed to pee so I asked him to hurry it up. (I don’t like peeing in front of other people, even my hubby.) He wrapped a towel around himself and I headed in to do my bidness. And it already smelled like pee in there. So I asked him, “Hey, did you pee in the shower?” And he replied in the affirmative. And even though I loved him and had been with him for a long while at that point, it grossed me out so much to know that he had pee’d in my shower! I don’t know why. (Probly ’cause of the lingering scent, really.)

    Your desktop is more germy than a public toilet seat is. Stop hovering, you splatterers! If you MUST hover, just clean up after yourselves. I’ve had far too many encounters in work restrooms where women who probably hovered left behind messes that are absolutely inconceivable to me, even in non-public bathrooms. (I’m not talking about just piss here, if you didn’t catch on there…) Do whatever you want at home, but in a space you have to share with many, many, MANY other people? Clean up a bit, mkay? Jeezy chreezy…

  46. Regarding washing your hands after using the bathroom –

    I’m willing to bet that most of you who are worried about “butt germs” and use a paper toliet seat cover don’t wash your hands long enough to actually kill any germs.

    If you’re not washing for 30 secs with soap and hot (not lukewarm) water, you may as well not wash at all. If you rub a little soap around and then rinse off, you didn’t kill any germs. 90% of the people I see wash their hands in a public bathroom basically “rinse” them off, and that’s about it. Does no good.

    So don’t worry about other people’s pooticles being on the door handle – you’ve still got your own on your hands.

    Also, “pooticles” are everywhere – the Mythbusters tested this, and found that fecal bacteria was spread evenly around a bathroom, and was found just as easily in a kitchen. 99.9% of the time, it causes you no problems.

  47. ooh lord. that’s hard. with one, though, it’s your own stuff and with the other, it’s someone else’s. i don’t know where anybody’s pees been, just my own. i also don’t like the butt on butt visual. i require a barrier of some sort!

  48. I will NEVER EVER EVER sit my ass on a public toilet seat even if their are liners. Short and 9 months pregnant I will hover craft my body the whole time. I am the person who leaves the pee droplets for the next sucker…..I don’t care, It is just not ever gonna happen. I don’t think you are neurotic, you are smart. I usually open the door up with the tip of my pinky and then furiously wipe it on my pants causing friction in which I pray kills the particles of crap that may be on the tip of my finger. That is just how I roll

  49. I gotta say this, just because I think about this every time I’m in a public restroom.

    I hate when women “hover.” There is no way to pee on the seat if you sit on it. The “hoverers” are the ones who spray all over the place, requiring the rest of us to clean up after them.

    That said: I don’t use the covers. I get a huge wad of toilet paper, wipe the seat with my left hand, wipe… uh… myself with my right. Wash like hell afterwards.

    I also pee in the shower, but only if it’s my own.

    Apparently I’m gross. Ha!

  50. Sizzle, nice digs. I found you via Nina’s place. I laughed all the way through these comments, and now I feel compelled to add my two cents. Peeing in the shower is just not that big of a deal to me; a drain is a drain, and I’m getting clean in there anyway. Regarding hovering and covering — I clean the seat with tp before I sit, and I don’t hover. People who hover inconvenience everyone because many won’t clean up their own mess. Someone raised the idea that vaginas may touch the seat. Um, how and when would that be necessary? Irrational.

    Regardless, what a snort-worthy topic. 🙂

  51. I think I plead the 5th, but it’s an interesting question. Have always thought it’s minorly neurotic of people to use papertowles–I get your point about others not washing their hands, but really, germs don’t live that long on metal.

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