toilets

WHINGE

SOURCES OF ANNOYANCE AT MUSIC FESTIVALS

Rain. You get wet.

Sunshine. You get burned.

People who sing along to classic songs, out of tune.

People who won’t sing along when the band asks them to.

Picking the wrong stage and missing a great act on the other stage.

Picking the right stage, discovering a great act and wondering why it took you so long.

Hats.

Queues.

Middle-aged people dancing and looking stupid.

Young people dancing and looking stupidly gorgeous.

Having a kid with you who whinges and always wants to leave.

Not bringing your kid, and wishing you had so they could hear this great music.

Having to buy the overpriced and not great stall food.

Bringing a picnic and realising it would have been much easier to just buy food.

Bands not finishing on time, preventing you from catching the start of the next act.

Bands that have to stop on time, even though they are ON FIRE.

People taking photos, making calls and tweeting during shows.

Your phone battery dying so you can’t tweet/contact your friends.

People who stand in front of you.

People behind you who ask you to sit down.

Drunk people.

Alcohol-free areas.

Mud.

Dust.

The carpark.

And the toilets. Every single thing about the toilets.

JENNY SINCLAIR, MELBOURNE

Urinoir en ardoise à 3 stalles, Chaussée du Maine No. 29, Charles Marville, c. 1865. Albumen silver print. Source: State Library of Victoria (H2011.126/29). Really very nice, if a bit public, when compared to music festival portaloos.

Urinoir en ardoise à 3 stalles, Chaussée du Maine No. 29, Charles Marville, c. 1865. Albumen silver print. Source: State Library of Victoria (H2011.126/29). Really very nice, if a bit public, when compared to music festival portaloos.

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UNSOLICITED ADVICE

CONCERNING THE MOST APPROPRIATE DEFAULT POSITION FOR CERTAIN CONVENIENCES IN A MULTISEX ENVIRONMENT

One cannot venture far in modern society without encountering the belief that men—whether through ignorance, negligence or sheer barbarism—are insufficiently vigilant when it comes to ‘putting the toilet seat down’.

It is high time we viewed this issue through a more logical and equitable lens.

Imagine there are an equal number of men and women sharing the use of a given toilet bowl. (Here, ‘man’ is taken to mean ‘a person who, when urinating into a toilet bowl, does so from the upright position’.) Now imagine that each visitor to said toilet—man or woman—places the seat either up or down according to preference and need, then leaves the seat in that position upon the completion of their transaction. One can immediately see that the burden of raising or lowering the seat is shared equally between the sexes.

In fact, the males in this thought-experiment come out as second-class toilet citizens, since a proportion of their lavatory usage will, in the normal course of things, require the seat to be down anyway. It would be unusual for such a visitor to lift the seat again once their appointment has concluded. Therefore, assuming the next visitor is female, they will find to their delight that the seat is in the (optimal) horizontal position and not in the (angst-inducing) vertical position.

All other things being equal (the number of men using the toilet relative to the number of women, the ratio of bladder- to bowel-emptying, attentiveness to the position of the toilet seat and appropriate dealing therewith, etc), for every instance of a man or woman having to lower the toilet seat for the intended use, there will be a slightly greater number of instances of a man having to lift it.

Now consider the sought-after alternative. Imagine that we lived in a world in which men always lowered the toilet seat upon the termination of their lavatorial activities. Would this not also be a world in which women never had to raise the seat? Is this any way to achieve equality between the sexes? No reasonable person could fail to answer in the negative.

Perhaps this feminine insistence that the toilet seat remain in the horizontal position springs from the anxiety of sharing the lavatorial sanctum with the (arguably) less refined representative of the species. By keeping the toilet seat lowered, one need never acknowledge that the seat was, at some point, raised. One need never encounter evidence that the toilet has, in the immediate past, been the temporary receptacle for urine de l’homme. Were this indeed the case, it would not be too extreme to view it as an attempt to porcelain-wash men from the toilet picture.

Indeed, a by-product of the current confusion over who should raise or lower the seat (and when) is that we actually risk defiling the lavatorial space with unignorable and needlessly unpleasant evidence of male visitation. For while the consequences of accidentally sitting on the toilet when the seat is raised include mild embarrassment and the possibility of sustaining a bruised rump, the consequences of accidentally urinating into the toilet from the upright position while the seat is lowered include—but are not limited to—getting piss everywhere.

SLIMEJAM ST. HERPESCHOIR (@SLIMEJAM), MELBOURNE

If we can’t all just get along perhaps we should revert to the simpler lidless waste receptacles of days of yore. Tin glazed earthenware female urinal, Wellcome Library, London, Museum No A625645.

If we can’t all just get along perhaps we should revert to the simpler lidless waste receptacles of days of yore. Tin glazed earthenware female urinal, Wellcome Library, London, Museum No A625645.

WHINGE

SWEAT THE DAMN SMALL STUFF

 

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” the saying goes. Perfectionists are out, baby, they are so eighties. Be cool, let people move your cheese, don’t freak out man, you’re harshing my mellow. You crazy obsessive types are what’s wrong with the world. Just chillax.

I beg to differ with these lazy albeit stress-free individuals. If we don’t sweat the small stuff, how can we ever hope to take any positive action about the big stuff? If we cannot perform a small, thoughtful gesture on behalf of our fellow humans—say, by replacing a used-up roll of paper towel or toilet tissue with a new one—how on earth can we expect to achieve the more important things, like collectively lowering our carbon dioxide emissions, or being nicer to people who don’t come from our particular demographic?

Show me the child of seven and I will show you the man, the saying goes, somewhat sexistly, but to paraphrase: show me the person who is respectful of other people’s cheese and I will show you a person who is a good citizen of the world at large. How you deal with the small stuff is a window into your very soul and I am judging you, baby.

Do you think those people who choose not to put a new ream of copy paper into the photocopier when it runs out and instead walk away, happy for someone else to have to complete this tedious chore, would inconvenience themselves in order to help reduce pollution?

Are people who chuck their cigarette butts on the ground instead of disposing of them thoughtfully likely to exert themselves to save threatened animal species or even entire ecosystems from extinction?

Would anyone expect a person who pushes their way onto a crowded omnibus without first letting out those who wish to exit to exert themselves on behalf of the poor or downtrodden?

It is precisely because we don’t sweat the small stuff that our planet is facing ruin. Sweating the small stuff shows that you care—about people, about your community, about your planet. Just like making a cup of tea for someone who’s having a rough day is an expression of love and respect, so to is replacing the staples in the stapler when you use up the last one. From little things, big things grow. Respect the cheese of others, and they will respect you.

ALICE CANNON, MELBOURNE