Friday, December 2

You be the judge: should my brother stop leaving the toilet seat up? | life and style

The prosecution: Nuala

Niall Always leaves the seat up – it’s really inconsiderate, and it grosses me out

I live at with my younger brother, Niall. It’s our family home and we took over the house and bills when our parents retired and moved away.

We both have our own bathroom, but share the downstairs loo. Whenever I go in there the toilet seat is up. I hate having to constantly put it down – I shouldn’t have to get germs on my hands for something that isn’t my responsibility. One night I came home after a few drinks and used the downstairs loo but Niall had left the lid up once again. I nearly fell down the toilet when I sat down. My bum got wet. I got a real shock. It was very annoying. When I challenged him the next day, Niall just said he “forgot” and that it “wasn’t a big deal”. I think that’s inconsiderate.

I work full-time and am six years older than Niall, so naturally I take on more of the responsibility in the house. I organized a cleaner. Things are generally tidy because of me. But when Niall leaves the toilet seat up I feel as if he’s making the bathroom look unclean. The downstairs bathroom is also the one that guests use. It’s embarrassing when they come over and I hear them slamming the seat against the loo. When they come out I’m like, “Sorry you had to touch the toilet. Niall left the lid up.”

If I go into the bathroom and see the seat up I’ll say, “Niall, can you please move it?” He will look sheepish and claim that it’s an accident, but it happens every week. Niall will sometimes say I’m exerting my feminist politics over him when I ask him to put the lid down, but it’s not that – it’s just that when it’s not being used, it’s actually best to keep the toilet lid and seat down at all times.

Niall once admitted that sitting down to pee is actually very comfortable but it’s not “the done thing”. But if he would pee sitting down then neither of us would worry about the seat being up. Toilet training a grown adult is not what I signed up for when we decided to live together, so if Niall can’t remember this then he will be banished from the downstairs bathroom for good.

The defence: Niall

leaveing the seat up is fair enough. Why does Nuala insist we always have it down?

I know this issue isn’t unique to me and my sister. The toilet seat debacle has bothered men and women for years. But men have never had an issue lifting the seat up – and we do it so we don’t pee on it, making it more hygienic for everyone. We are being considerate of others when we take this action. However, so many women seem to have an issue with us putting it down again. why? It’s only fair that they do. If I leave the seat up, it really seems to annoy Nuala but really, it’s just not that deep.

Sometimes I forget to put the toilet seat down and she will make a point of calling me into the bathroom and telling me off like a kid. But I genuinely forget; I don’t do it deliberately. Nuala will say I’m careless or inconsiderate and ask me to lower the seat in front of her. I have told her to chill out. She doesn’t like it when I say that. But I don’t want this to be a big thing.

Once I left the toilet seat up and Nuala came back from a night out. She claims she nearly fell down it. I understand that it must have been irritating. Women have to sit on the toilet all the time so it can’t be pleasant to put your bum on a seat-less loo. But what can I say? It isn’t a regular occurrence and I did apologize.

Nuala says I should try sitting down to pee so then neither of us needs to lift the seat up, but that’s just not normal. Like most men, I have got into the habit of peeing standing up. Nuala also says we should both leave the toilet lid and seat down at all times when we are not using it, which I guess is fair. However, it’s hard to retrain myself to always put it down.

I only use the downstairs bathroom occasionally – before leaving home or if I’m in a rush. That bathroom is for everyone. I don’t think that I should be banned from using it just because I don’t adhere to Nuala’s standards.

The jury of Guardian readers

Should Niall put the toilet seat down?

It is annoying to have to put the seat down, but it’s not a big issue and Nuala should relax – sharing space with others requires a bit of compromise. She has her own bathroom that she can keep exactly as she likes.
Hannah, 35

Niall needs to be a bit more considerate of other people; putting down the toilet seat after use is common courtesy and not a big ask. Also, as a man who quite enjoys a sit-down wee, I’d say give it a try – you might be surprised.
Jacob, 25

I’ve never understood the loo seat debacle – why is it more unhygienic for Nuala to touch it than it is for Niall? Nuala sounds like a controlling big sister and she should be more tolerant (but Niall, never tell a woman to “chill”!)
Cat, 53

Nuala claims her issue is hygiene, but her real issue seems to be one of control. She plays the martyr for having to “toilet train” her brother de ella but comes across as a Nurse Ratched figure. The most hygienic solution would be for each person to adjust the toilet at the beginning of their bathroom breaks; do not return the toilet to one person’s ideal pre-pee state after each use, no matter what.
Ben, 29

Niall is guilty – he should make an effort to get into the habit of putting the seat down. However, Nuala isn’t going to change things by chiding him. Put a sticky note on the door with a cryptic message to remind him, and stop bringing the issue up with guests.
Natalie, 26

You be the judge

So now you can be the judge, click on the poll below to tell us: should Niall stop leaving the toilet seat up?

We’ll share the results on next week’s You be the judge.

The poll closes on Thursday 7 April at 9am BST

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Last week’s result

We asked you if Lyndon should start trying new cuisines because his wife, Alice, is tired of eating the same old meals.

13% of you said no – Lyndon is innocent
87% of you said yes – Lyndon is guilty

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