By Bill Primavera
The bathroom. When you think about it, while it may not be the room you spend the most time in, it’s probably the room you visit most times during the course of the day. If you’re in my age group, you probably visit it a little more frequently.
As a realtor, I know that the kitchen and bathrooms in a house mean more to women than men in evaluating the desirability of a home. And statistics show that women, more than men, have the final say in the purchase of a home.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the bathroom lately, forced by an unexpected experience I had the first day I was in my digs in Shrub Oak. This joint is outrageously outfitted with the finest materials and fixtures: granite, marble and brushed steel everywhere you look. So, when it was time for me to visit the bathroom, and I started that slow descend, I realized that I wasn’t reaching my destination when I usually do. I kept bending lower and lower, convinced that I would be in a full Lotus position before I would finally come to rest. Why I wondered with all this luxury in a place originally built for the 55 plus crowd would the builder have spec’d such low-rise toilets? But a few weeks later, I saw something online that it’s actually heathier to be in a more bent-over position on the toilet seat. In fact, one clever entrepreneur invented a small stool to be placed at the foot of the toilet to better accommodate that position.
I remember a bathroom experience I had with a real estate listing client. When I visited the home to make my presentation and sign a contract, I was greeted at the door by the husband, a big guy with a hearty laugh. His wife had not yet arrived home from some errands, but his two sons were with him, both I would guess in either their late teens or early 20s, and well over six feet tall. When the mother arrived home, I was surprised to see that she was very petite, barely over five feet tall, and I commented how surprised I was by her small stature compared to how big her boys were. I was equally surprised by her response, “Well they weren’t that big coming out of me!”
The first thing I do when I go for a listing is ask for a tour of the house, and this one had three full baths. Each time we entered one, the wife would walk in and, seeing that the toilet seat was up, would immediately walk over, lower the seat and shut the lid. The first time she did it, she lowered them gently. In the second bathroom, she did it with less patience, and by the time we arrived at the third bathroom, she slammed down the lid in frustration, almost in meltdown mode, exclaiming, “Oh these guys, why won’t they ever learn to lower the seat and shut the lid!”
It’s important to pay attention to the toilet’s seat being down and the lid closed, not only so that women won’t fall into the bowl but also for health reasons. According to scientists at Leeds University, when a toilet is flushed with the lid open, bacteria sprays into the air around the toilet. And some of those germs could pass along symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting. Yuck!
But the best reason for closing the lid is that it prevents anything and everything from falling in. Haven’t you had the experience of not hearing from friends for several days, only to hear that their cell phones have taken the plunge?
There are other rules that should be considered concerning bathroom etiquette and manners, and it’s not only because of airborne germs or the differences in plumbing between the sexes and actual plumbing.
For instance, not to get too personal, but while I’ll do one bodily function in someone else’s presence, I won’t do the other. Is everybody else the same or am I just too Victorian? Wasn’t it on Seinfeld where Elaine talked about going to the McDonald’s bathroom when in a relationship, rather than fowling up the apartment john? I was quite impressed when, years ago, I first saw a bathroom where the toilet bowl was separated out from the rest of the room and you could do your more private business in, well, private.
And what about something as simple as replacing the toilet paper roll when it’s depleted? I am always in such a rush, I’m guilty of just grabbing a new roll and leaving it on top, rather than going to the trouble of actually inserting it on the cylinder. Shame.
For those who do go through the trouble of replacing it, there’s the question of positioning the roll for “over” or “under” dispensing. A female work associate told me that it must be “over” so that the last sheet can be “folded” as in a hotel. “You FOLD your last toilet paper sheet?” I asked, astounded. “Yes,” she responded, not skipping a beat. “You never know when guests are going to stop by.”
One other item I know about toilets. Did you notice that some are round and, in the past couple of decades, they are oblong in shape? Nobody mentions the obvious, but designers finally figured out that the male’s front anatomy had to be accommodated. Thanks, guys! I say, for guys, that’s the equivalent of going from jockeys to boxers.
And finally, did I mention that there should always, always be some kind of automatic air freshener in the bathroom?
There’s so much going on in my head on this subject that might be categorized as “in the toilet” that there will probably be a Part II to these musings.
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com), specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com and his blog is: www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.