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September 15, 2011 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Public Service Announcement: Over is Right. Under is Wrong.
posted by schmod (99 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
how about Around?
posted by srboisvert at 7:36 AM on September 15, 2011


Correct. However, as an engineer, I'd like to mention that TP is only one of the many, many, many, MANY things people are doing completely wrong. Ice cube tray stackage, "helpfully" letting people without the right-of-way go first, non-transparent swinging door manufacturing, ad infinitum. Most people just Do Stuff and never think about what they are doing.
posted by DU at 7:40 AM on September 15, 2011 [37 favorites]


Agreed, but try telling that to the janitor who takes care of the bathroom on my floor, that monster.

Can we have the wiping-while-standing conversation again? I missed it the first time, and I want to gawk.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:41 AM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


DU: "TP is only one of the many, many, many, MANY things people are doing completely wrong. Ice cube tray stackage, "helpfully" letting people without the right-of-way go first, non-transparent swinging door manufacturing, ad infinitum. Most people just Do Stuff and never think about what they are doing."

This would make a really great blog. Make it happen!
posted by schmod at 7:41 AM on September 15, 2011 [19 favorites]


If you can mange "Around", YouTube it. You may have a scat video with as much popularity as 2 girls 1 cup....
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:41 AM on September 15, 2011


"helpfully" letting people without the right-of-way go first

AAAAH!! This happens so frequently to me I want to have a pre-made sign I can hold up or something, "BY LAW YOU GO FIRST, IDIOT"

Instead I just end up seething in a Gollum-esque manner "Hattesss theeemmm"
posted by odinsdream at 7:43 AM on September 15, 2011 [28 favorites]


Hm, this seems to directly contradict a certain Child Family Services officer's report:

Agent 2: Children, where are your parents?
Lisa: I don't know. They should be here.
Goodman: Yes, they should be here. Tsk, tsk. Those parents better
have a good excuse.
Homer: [walks in] Ah, I love getting away from this dump.
Marge: It's like I'm on some wonderful drug.
Goodman: Ahem --
Marge: What's going on here?
Goodman: Child welfare, ma'am.
Agent 2: Here's a little bedtime reading. [hands Marge a paper]
Marge: Mmm! "Squalid hellhole"? "Toilet paper hung in improper
overhand fashion"? "Dogs mating on dining room table"?
[Santa's Little Helper looks guilty and whines]
posted by obscurator at 7:43 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


When I was 12 years old, my mother took me on a trip to Paris where we stayed at a small mom-and-pop hotel. The bathrooms were in the hallway, a fact I only found out after I peed in the room's private bidet.
posted by griphus at 7:43 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not if you have cats.
posted by pla at 7:44 AM on September 15, 2011 [25 favorites]


I was always an ardent Over evangelist, until a roommate taught me an important lesson: Over is right unless you have young children or cats.
posted by darksasami at 7:45 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Public Service Announcement: Over is Right. Under is Wrong.
posted by schmod

how about Around?
posted by srboisvert


Or near? Far? Through?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:45 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


pla is correct. If you have cats, its under-hang all the way. Much harder for them to bat the roll and have it spool out in an ungainly mess on the floor (and everywhere else). I've never had trouble tearing from the underside. Practice.
posted by sandraregina at 7:46 AM on September 15, 2011


Who cares? Should I stand or sit while I use it?!
posted by fatbird at 7:46 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Instead I just end up seething in a Gollum-esque manner "Hattesss theeemmm"

I just wave back at them for THEM to go first. Then they shake their heads and want me to go. So I lean back to put my eyes behind the rear-view mirror, which is the visual equivalent of covering your ears and going LALALALA and then *they* go roaring angrily off. MWAHAHAHAHA
posted by DU at 7:47 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]




Eh, I set my roll on the counter next to me. Or on the floor in front of me.

As to public bathrooms? My god, who would crap in one of those‽
posted by cjorgensen at 7:51 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not if you have cats

Indeed. Here's graphic proof.
posted by bonehead at 7:52 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a fervent defender of under, I don't understand how people have trouble one-handed tearing from that position. It just works!
posted by snoogles at 7:52 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


We just leave the Sears catalog on the outhouse floor and tear off the pages as we need them. What kind of fancy world do you people live in?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:52 AM on September 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


Not if you have cats.

Or toddlers (what's the difference really?)!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:54 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know it's football season when you see "Over is right, Under is wrong" and assume it's about the 4-3 defense.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:54 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sears catalog? Where do you get one of those new-fangled things? I use corn cobs, as the good Lord intended.
posted by Floydd at 7:55 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sears catalog? Isn't it now called the Willis catalog?
posted by obscurator at 7:56 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


For a fun activity next time you are out at a house party, every time you use the restroom, be sure to leave the ends of the toilet paper folded into a triangle. You earn one point for every time you hear another guest mention the folded toilet paper and two points for every time you discover the paper folded, but did not do it yourself.

My current record is 23 points.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:57 AM on September 15, 2011 [102 favorites]


Isn't it now called the Willis catalog?

Only if you're the kind of monster that calls Marshall Field's Macy's.
posted by kmz at 7:57 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Next installment, a downloadable PDF with illustrations demonstrating why it is preferable to wipe front to back instead of back to front.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:58 AM on September 15, 2011


For a fun activity next time you are out at a house party, every time you use the restroom, be sure to leave the ends of the toilet paper folded into a triangle.

Used to be a time when I was at a house party, the party in the bathroom was folding up something else. Hold me down.
posted by three blind mice at 8:02 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who cares? Should I stand or sit while I use it?!

I find it easier and more efficient to stand, but that's because I practice Dr. Ian McCullough's patented Automatic Hygenic Elimination Method. It takes some practice but it's well worth the effort and is not reliant on the under or over orientation of the roll.

Simplified it goes something like this: Face the roll of paper. Thread paper between legs and place the free end in the water. Now raise the paper to your bum and squat a little. Clench the paper gently betwixt your cheeks. Flush the toilet.

If you've done this right and didn't clench too hard your ass will literally wipe itself.
posted by loquacious at 8:04 AM on September 15, 2011 [22 favorites]


For a fun activity next time you are out at a house party, every time you use the restroom, be sure to leave the ends of the toilet paper folded into a triangle.

TP folded into points gives me the willies. I don't like being reminded that other people have touched something I need to apply to my tender bits.

(I also wash my hands before peeing as well as after, and I don't eat potluck stuff at work because eww, I have heard some of those women leave the bathroom without washing!)
posted by headnsouth at 8:05 AM on September 15, 2011


RE: Cats and Toddlers

Yep, my mom was a fervent believer in "under" to prevent young children from repeatedly rolling the paper, leaving a big pile on the floor. She stuck with this technique, even when I was no longer a toddler or likely to do this...
posted by Windopaene at 8:06 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only if you're the kind of monster that calls Marshall Field's Macy's.

Pshhh.... Dayton's.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:06 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


They even explain that cats who attack toilet paper in only one configuration are bizarre cats:

And for those who would insist that there are “reasons” to hang the toilet paper in the underhung fashion of despots and savages: our cat doesn’t have a problem with it.

My cats are perfectly content to destroy more expensive things than a mere roll of toilet paper hung correctly (that is to say, over).
posted by jeather at 8:07 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, uh, is threadshitting in this thread ok?
posted by kmz at 8:07 AM on September 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


I switched from under to over because of the internet. My life is slightly worse now.
posted by mullacc at 8:13 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry but the author is wrong and his reasoning is wrong. Doing a one handed tear is way more difficult with the roll over.
With the roll hung under my knuckle or thumb rests against the roll preventing it from moving while I pivot my hand on that knuckle tearing off the roll. If I attempt this same maneuver with it in the over position it fails, I have to use a second hand to stabilize the roll or the tear ends up incomplete or it spools onto the floor.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:13 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyone else reading this post in Cornholio's voice? Because that's really fun.
posted by jbickers at 8:15 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


shit, Don Henley could have told you that
posted by photoslob at 8:17 AM on September 15, 2011



This is why I put the toilet paper hanger up sideways.

Now there is no over and under, only dexter and sinister.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:17 AM on September 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Not if you have cats or other small mammals like children.
posted by zeikka at 8:22 AM on September 15, 2011


Wikipedia has a hilariously detailed article on toilet paper orientation.

The discussion page for that article is one of the greatest things the internets has ever known.
posted by elizardbits at 8:23 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I work for an institution that has many bathrooms fitted with dispensers that effectively force the under rule by the design of the holder. They are also generally mounted under the assisted seating rails, which puts them at about calf height. Generally, this results in two scenarios:

a) you manage to get a half-sheet to a sheet at a time, which is frustrating; or
b) you lean way forward, which gets you a better tearing angle and more paper, but leads the toilet to assume you have stood up. So it flushes. Which is frustrating and endampening.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:23 AM on September 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Toilet paper has a natural curve, a way of being that lends itself to certain orientations on the toilet paper spool.*

This would be a more effective message if German words were used. There has to be something like arschenpapierhangenfreude that just captures the getting rightness of it without all the blah blah blah.
posted by chavenet at 8:23 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


See, but here's the thing. If you use recycled toilet paper (which really we all should, because no one ought to wipe their ass with virgin forest) and you hang overhand, the weight of the free end often tends to overwhelm the inertia of the remaining roll once it's at about half finished and all the paper tumbles to the ground in a heap. Then you blame your cat and/or your toddler until you witness it happening in front of you and feel kind of bad. It might just be the particular brand we buy, but we are now a underhand family.
posted by Go Banana at 8:24 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't really think I had a strong opinion on over/under until this week, when The Fella replaced the toilet paper (apparently for the first and only time in the history of our shared toilet, HOW CAN THAT BE?) and I discovered that:
A) I've been unconsciously hanging it over without thinking about it
B) I HATE UNDER WITH A WHITE HOT INTENSITY AND IT HURTS ME.

So. Over. Partly because the combo of our tiny, awkwardly designed bathroom and my bad shoulder means I can't comfortably tear off paper from an Under roll, and partly because I have an honest-to-goodness phobia of roaches.

Wait. It's relevant. Really!

As I put it in the MetaChat discussion on this topic:
Roll to the front, because I spent my youth in Texas. Where there are roaches. Where there are roaches everywhere oh sweet mercy roaches everywhere I hate roaches oh my.

And when you wake up in the night, stumble to the bathroom, and flick on the light, if* there's a roach in there, [it will] hide somewhere. And once in a million times, it will hide behind the toilet paper roll, and when you put your hand back there to pull down some paper, the roach will scurry onto your hand and right up your arm while you sit there on the toilet, thinking --- hoping --- that you are having a nightmare.

*IF. Don't tell me there definitely is a roach in there, or I will never sleep again, even thought I live two thousand miles away now.

I, uh, is that a good enough reason?

Why are you scootching away?
Oh, no. Here comes the scootching again.
posted by Elsa at 8:30 AM on September 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


This is possibly the only battle I have ever won with my wife. She came into the relationship belonging to the "over" camp, and I was raised in the "under" group. We would swich the paper to our liking, when in there.

She finally gave up, and we have been "under" ever since. If any of you have a problem with this, I will gladly meet you in my bathroom and we can settle this in any manner of your choosing.
posted by Danf at 8:31 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


No cat I have ever had has shown the least bit of interest in the toilet paper. Although one did decide to shred an entire roll of paper towels while we were on vacation. One of my current cats uses the toilet paper as a step to look out the window occasionally, and the most he's unspooled our over roll is a couple squares. Maybe it's just because we have a roller/holder/whateveryoucallit that doesn't spin very quickly.
posted by me3dia at 8:34 AM on September 15, 2011


I'm not trying to tell anyone else to change their over/under preference, but do y'all know the roll-smush trick to prevent unspooling (whether by cat or toddler)?

Before you put the roll on the spindle, compress it slightly between your hands, just enough to ever-so-slightly flatten the cardboard cylinder. It will still turn on the spindle but it won't whirl speedily when a cat or toddler spins it, so it won't unravel with the same festive glee.

Our cats would unravel spools whichever way we hung 'em, so roll-smushing was necessary for the preservation of toilet paper. Then they just shredded the rolls, those little devils.
posted by Elsa at 8:35 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've never had a preference, but I have been known to occasionally switch the orientation at friends' houses when I visit their bathrooms. For one friend it is payback for her always lining up my shoes.
posted by polywomp at 8:41 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think that it is time for a Wipe Off!
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:46 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not if you have cats.

You mean not if the cats in your house have "owners."
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 8:59 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I switched from under to over because of the internet."

Oh boy, then it's a good thing you've never heard of UnderNet.
posted by Eideteker at 8:59 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Awww, crap.
posted by Eideteker at 8:59 AM on September 15, 2011


There are many options.
posted by timsteil at 9:00 AM on September 15, 2011


My question is: why is everyone so concerned with the one handed tear off option? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR OTHER HAND?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:02 AM on September 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Most people just Do Stuff and never think about what they are doing.

Also, pooping, bathing, breathing, sleeping, having babies, brushing teeth, and sitting.
posted by LordSludge at 9:03 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


As someone who can't even get the other people in her house to put the stupid TP on the spindle because they just leave it on the back of the toilet instead, I can't work up any rage on this one. I would probably cry from joy if they started putting it on the spindle, regardless of which way it was oriented.
posted by emjaybee at 9:03 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


My question is: why is everyone so concerned with the one handed tear off option? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR OTHER HAND?

"Being unable to easily reach the dispenser"
posted by DU at 9:04 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR OTHER HAND?

In my experience and to my extreme horror, it is that a certain percentage of people are using that hand to hold a sandwich.
posted by elizardbits at 9:05 AM on September 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


In my experience and to my extreme horror, it is that a certain percentage of people are using that hand to hold a sandwich.

!!!

Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.
posted by kmz at 9:07 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh my god who cares, as long as there's toilet paper.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:12 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


robocop is bleeding: "and two points for every time you discover the paper folded, but did not do it yourself.

My current record is 23 points.
"

Dude. I think your friends are putting laxative in the hors d'oeuvres. Find better parties.
posted by schmod at 9:21 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I practice Dr. Ian McCullough's patented Automatic Hygenic Elimination Method

I'm trying to come up with a good jokey comment about that, but riffing on Lips Like Sugar just seems like a bad idea. Maybe something about Killing Moon?
posted by The World Famous at 9:41 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't Dear Abby in her advice column devote hundreds of column inches to this (t)issue?
so sorry

I believe is was settled that it's OK to do it either way but that most decent right-thinking folks leave it hanging over.

Niether my cat or any previous cat I've lived with ever unrolled toilet paper. This is a phenomenon which is exaggerated, I'm convinced. My cat is fascinated by the swirling waters of a flushing toilet, however. And if he gets posession of a roll of paper towels he will seize it, tear out its throat and disembowel it with the claws of his feet.
posted by longsleeves at 9:49 AM on September 15, 2011


Your cat has some claws that are not on his feet?
posted by DU at 9:52 AM on September 15, 2011


Instead I just end up seething in a Gollum-esque manner "Hattesss theeemmm"

I just wave back at them for THEM to go first. Then they shake their heads and want me to go. So I lean back to put my eyes behind the rear-view mirror, which is the visual equivalent of covering your ears and going LALALALA and then *they* go roaring angrily off. MWAHAHAHAHA


I just go first.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:58 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your cat has some claws that are not on his feet?

He has hands. With thumbs.
posted by longsleeves at 10:06 AM on September 15, 2011


My parents abandoned the adage of "under with toddlers" because according to them, my brother and I figured out early that we grab the dangling end and pull. I don't remember this part of my childhood, so we must have been really young.
posted by CancerMan at 10:07 AM on September 15, 2011


Toddlers, cats, ferrets, all determine that the reverse of this silly-ass article is indeed, valid.

I've owned ferrets who enjoyed climbing on the toilet, jumping at the TP, and hanging on as they fell, to spool it on the floor & play with it. I've owned (and currently own) cats who enjoy batting at it & unrolling it when loaded "over", rather than "under", on the spool.
posted by FormlessOne at 10:11 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Check out this sweet toilet hack!
posted by nathancaswell at 10:12 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we have the wiping-while-standing conversation again?

There is no conversation. You either wipe sitting down, like an non-filthy person, or you spend a week in the Education Box.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:36 AM on September 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Definitely. Over is the way to go. Under makes me feel oppressed and unloved.
posted by Skygazer at 11:02 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: The discussion page for that article is one of the greatest things the internets has ever known.

Perhaps side-topic, or maybe possibly pre-history, check out the old alt.tasteless thread about a proposed USC (Universal Shit Code)*.. some of the most laugh-inducing stuff I ever saw on the internet.

* I would have found a link for you but I am at work right now and even just searching google for the terms "tasteless universal shit code" causes the firewall to get cranky.
posted by mbatch at 11:03 AM on September 15, 2011


Compatible, that's what I'd call a pair like you and me
Our charts, our wits, our pheromones all match impeccably
But before we wed let's give a thought to future litigation
For one thing much be established prior to our cohabitation

Do you put the toilet roll paper over or paper under?
It can be a major blunder, it splits the world asunder
If the toilet tissue issue drives you up the wall
But it's neither better or worse, it's just different, that's all

Well, some people justify their choice, defending inconsolably
"It's easier to grab", "It doesn't spool off uncontrollably!"
Then dummies spit despite the fact it's really a line call
Whether whim, aesthetic or logic, it's different, that's all
Think of mum and dad next time you pull upon those perforations
Role models play a part, it passes down through generations
And your preference was imprinting prior to days when you could crawl
Whether genes, recessive or dominant, it's different, that's all

OK, hands up all the overs, and now all the unders raise a hand
Now all those who don't give a rat's, you're in denial, I understand
I won't get onto scrunch or fold, it may incite a brawl
Whether printed, patterned or perfumed, it's just different, that's all

Now you may be thinking quietly, "What a stupid subject for a song"
But history's page is bloodied by such petty bickering gone wrong
It only takes the slightest slip to make the mighty fall
Whether gods or bollocks or politics, it's different, that's all
So do whales, who also live en masse, debate the daft meticulous
Is it "oaoroa" or "oaaror"? Would that be so ridiculous?
Decisions may cause schisms for all creatures great and small
Even amoebas can be divisive, it's different, that's all

Well I tried to make this song a reel to bring a smile to Irish eyes
I prayed they'd maybe play it gaily 'til the day the diddly dies
But its resemblance to a real reel is really small
And it's not a jig or a hornpipe, it's different, that's all

© Mal Webb
Now that's out of the way, I'd like to address the third rail of domestic politics, the Seat Up or Down issue. Brothers and Sisters, there's a third way!

Lid Down.

Microbiological Hazards of Household Toilets: Droplet Production and the Fate of Residual Organisms
posted by zamboni at 11:09 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


kmz: "So, uh, is threadshitting in this thread ok?"

Only if you wipe and wash your hands afterwards.
posted by Splunge at 11:15 AM on September 15, 2011


My parents abandoned the adage of "under with toddlers" because according to them, my brother and I figured out early that we grab the dangling end and pull. I don't remember this part of my childhood, so we must have been really young

This. My 2 year old son has never been a "spin it with mad glee and watch it unspool" type of kid, rather, he's a "grip it and pull" type. So it doesn't really matter if we go under or over, in terms of him unspooling the paper - instead we just do it the RIGHT way (over) and don't let our son hang out in the bathroom unattended. :P
posted by antifuse at 11:18 AM on September 15, 2011


Under is right because you have additional leverage to rip the roll with one hand without accidentally unravelling it due to the changing coefficient of friction (which varies depending on the angle you pull). To do the same with an "over" roll you'd have to pull down and towards the wall, which is physically impossible as the wall is normally in the way.

You can see this physics principle in action by placing a spool of thread on a table and pulling on the end. If you pull at a large angle, the spool will roll away from you. But as you lower your angle, the spool will actually change direction and start winding up towards you.

There was a Mr. Wizard's World where they demonstrate this, but YouTube's got nuthin'.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:22 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR OTHER HAND?"

Posting to MetaFilter.
posted by Eideteker at 11:25 AM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Over under sideways down
Backward forward square or round
Cat or ferrets, students, clowns
Country, city, farm, or town. . .

This isn't about courtesy, aesthetics, politics, or practicality. It's physics.

The rule is:
  • Over the roll in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Under the roll in the Southern Hemisphere
That's just science.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:26 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having just, um, reconsidered the practical application of this issue, I have a different approach.

Q: Under or Over?
A: Neither.

The proper orientation for a TP roll is with the axis oriented vertically, sitting on top of the toilet tank or perhaps the towel rack. This way it can never unroll. Putting rolls on the little roller thing and removing the empties is a big waste of time. Just set the damn roll down, and when you need it, pick it up in one hand and tear off the amount of paper you need with the other hand.

Unfortunately, this does not eliminate the argument, it just substitutes another: on or off the roller. I once had a girlfriend that would always, immediately upon entering my home, storm into the bathroom and put the roll on the roller.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:47 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Over because that's how the maid service leaves it, complete with little origami ribbon decoration thing tied in it. That one's just for show anyway. The other roll set up on the bathroom counter is where all the real action happens.
posted by mcrandello at 11:47 AM on September 15, 2011


Jinx, Charlie...
posted by mcrandello at 11:49 AM on September 15, 2011


Always over. No little triangles as noted earlier.

To solve the cat problem take a plastic lid. Fill with water. Place on top of over-hung roll. When the cat pulls the roll the water and lid land on them. They're smart -- they won't do it again. You're smart -- you've educated cats.
=^..^=
posted by Alles at 11:52 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


GenjiandProust: "leads the toilet to assume you have stood up. So it flushes. Which is frustrating and endampening"

I hate auto flush toilets. I realize that it means the toilet is flushed when I get to it, which is a HUGE plus, but it seems every time I adjust my position, or reach for TP, it flushes.

Plus they really scared my kid when she was a toddler.
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:17 PM on September 15, 2011


Under is right. They have this wrong.

1) The most important reason is one that the author brings up: the one-handed tear. With under, the one-handed tear can be accomplished with fluid, natural motion. While grasping the end of the roll, you simply move your hand away from the roll, over your lap. Because of the under positioning, the roll itself will assist in the tearing. To accomplish the same tear from the over position requires a jerking motion instead of a smooth fluid motion. Also this jerk motion must be performed going in the direction down. To accomplish this, one must actually bend over (while sitting)during the same instance of performing the jerking motion. Very unnatural, very uncomfortable, and not a very healthy way to treat your back. And even if you don't performing the awkward one-handed over tear, you still will often end a pile of paper on the floor. The over method is very messy.

2) Speaking of messy, the over method also assists your cat or small child when they are looking for ways to make a mess. A cat or small child that encounters the over method will always, I repeat ALWAYS leave a pile of toilet paper on the floor. While the under method actively prevents them from making a mess. They can spend the entire day batting at the roll, and not a single sheet will ever touch the floor.

3) It also looks much nicer. Let's say you are using the over method, and happen to be at one of the few moments in the over method's life span where there isn't toilet paper hanging all the way to the floor. You will still see the end hanging. With the under method, you never see the unsightly end hanging. You'll just see a perfect cylinder (or if recessed, a half cylinder). This is much more visually appealing than paper hanging of the edge. Yuck.

4) "But," you may say "how will I ever be able to grab the end of the roll if I can't actually see it?" Now, during this conversation about toilet paper I've made a sincere and a severe effort to avoid being vulgar, but now I'm forced to ask: How do you manage to wipe shit off your asshole? You don't bend your body around to look at your asshole. You can manage to tear some toilet paper without looking at it, too. Especially since, with the under method, the end of the roll will always be at the exact same spot. Your experience with over has taught you that the end of the roll will always be somewhere new, and needs to be searched for. I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way. The under method always leaves the end at the same spot, there is no need to search for it. The same reach you use to find your asshole without looking is used to grab the toilet paper. The only time you would ever have to look for the end is when someone switches to over behind your back

Now look. I understand where you overs are coming from. I used to be an over, too. Not just any over either. I was an adamant, hard-core over. I started trying the under method just so I could refute unders from experience. I was looking for faults in the under method so I could rub it in their face. I was shocked to discover how wrong I was. So listen, I understand that intuitively, the first instinct would be over. That's why we have a scientific method. Because sometimes, when we try things out, we get different results than we expected. So try it out. Experiment. Try like 3-5 consecutive rolls under. You'll agree: The under way is the only way.
posted by BurnChao at 12:27 PM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, perhaps I should describe the mechanics of the one-handed tear better. You keep your elbow straight, for the most part. When you pass you arm over your lap (close to horizontally but it doesn't have to be exact), your hand holding the toilet paper should arc out, across, then towards. It's the out motion that engages the paper against the roll, starting the tear. The across motion finishes the tear. You maintain good posture through out the maneuver, and are never forced to contort your body to perform the tear. The most awkward positioning you'll have to perform is the actual wipe.
posted by BurnChao at 12:36 PM on September 15, 2011


Metafilter: perhaps I should describe the mechanics of the one-handed tear better.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:40 PM on September 15, 2011


To solve the cat problem take a plastic lid. Fill with water. Place on top of over-hung roll. When the cat pulls the roll the water and lid land on them. They're smart -- they won't do it again.

Goddamnit, honey! Can you bring me another pair of dry pants?!?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:56 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A cat or small child that encounters the over method will always, I repeat ALWAYS leave a pile of toilet paper on the floor. While the under method actively prevents them from making a mess.

I fostered a half dozen kittens who beg to differ with that last sentence.
posted by jeather at 1:03 PM on September 15, 2011


I had a tweenaged adopted stray** who not only unrolled/shredded the toilet paper, but after I re-rolled it, she grabbed a corner in her little mouth and ran out of the room, leaving a 20 foot stream of tp flying behind her. (Would have been more adorable if I wasn't already late for work.)

Problem solved with this.

** Adopted strays are just the BEST.
posted by LordSludge at 1:12 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, can I just ask: wtf are all you people doing with your other hand that you need to do a one handed toilet paper tear?
posted by antifuse at 1:20 PM on September 15, 2011


Over is clearly the way One True Way, but for the good of all mankind don't forget the baby wipes.

Are we the only one with a kitty who doesn't play with the toilet paper roll? Granted, he's more interested in sitting in the sink and... watching.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:21 PM on September 15, 2011


Also, can I just ask: wtf are all you people doing with your other hand that you need to do a one handed toilet paper tear?
posted by antifuse at 1:20 PM on September 15 [+] [!]


Masturbating furiously while hunched over, one eye squinted and the other bugged out, THE WAY GOD INTENDED.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:28 PM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


You mean not if the cats in your house have 'owners.'

Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:45 PM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I never noticed, or cared, which way, until it became a Thing. Now it has to be Over, except that in my bathroom the spindle is vertical. Ha Ha, Fooled you, Internet!
posted by theora55 at 1:48 PM on September 15, 2011


I've found that the various one-handed tear techniques matter little in a restroom where budget cuts and bad QA result in thin single-ply rolls that have no preforation, and upon tearing will rip vertically instead of across.

For what it's worth, the janitors in my office place the rolls Over, and I'm not going to argue with them. Except to petition for two-ply and something softer than P12 sandpaper.
posted by CancerMan at 1:57 PM on September 15, 2011


Under. And I'm one of those people who will actually flip the roll if it's over and I use your bathroom. Because I'm a bitch like that and I know it annoys the hell out of you, which is an unending source of joy for me.
posted by perilous at 2:32 PM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was raised over, Mrs A is under; but she's converted me due the mechanics mentioned above. Also, arcticcat doesn't bother with the TP, he's plotting his next move.
posted by arcticseal at 4:29 PM on September 15, 2011


I work for an institution that has many bathrooms fitted with dispensers that effectively force the under rule by the design of the holder. --GenjiandProust

I work for an institution that has dispensers that effectively force the over rule. It is a metal box and the toilet roll is recessed in it. If you unroll the under-set toilet paper, it unrolls itself into the box and you end up with nothing. The only way to get toilet paper is to have it installed over the top. Try telling that to our janitors.


#2 reason for having it unroll from the top: fancy hotels.
posted by eye of newt at 8:37 PM on September 15, 2011


"Toilet paper origami" (also called "toilegami")

Oh. Oh, no.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:18 PM on September 15, 2011


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