We asked 100 people how they clean up after a poop.
To Sit or Not to Sit? That is the question… fueling the vigorous debate that you probably didn’t even know was going on.
That’s right, folks. Unbeknownst to many — including me, up to about 10 minutes ago — there are two different ways that people wipe their butts! Some people remain sitting, while others stand up to the task.
Whisper conducted a survey of 100 people, split equally between men and women. Polling them on their sit-or-stand preference, we found that 79% of respondents were sitters, and only 21% stand up to wipe. Similar surveys conducted by internet outlets found a more even split, approaching 50-50, though we are unsure those surveys specified the ol’ squat-and-hover as “sitting,” which we did in ours.
We’re going to dig into some pros and cons of each method to see if we can determine which way is the right way.
Full disclosure: I’m a lifelong sitter, though I’ll do my best to keep my own wipe-bias out of these pros and cons.
Sitting: Pros (According to Sitters)
The first and foremost pro of sitting is that, by the time you’re ready to wipe, you’re already sitting. Sitters argue that standing to perform the task is more effort than necessary.
Another pro to keeping your cheeks on the pot is that, in that position, the aforementioned cheeks stay spread, preventing any cheek-on-cheek smearing. That means easy cleaning access.
Standing: Pros (According to Standers)
The primary pro to standing, according to standers, is that your hand never goes anywhere near a toilet bowl. They’re particularly passionate about this point in regards to public toilets. Fair enough, those things can be gross.
Another pro is that, for those that inspect their wipes, there is plenty of space to bring the toilet paper/wet wipe from back to front without the danger of accidentally touching it to another part of your body. Nobody wants a poopie thigh.
Sitting: Cons (According to Standers)
Standers say the primary negative to sitting is the proximity that your hand comes to the toilet. Other cons include possible contamination of additional body parts during the visual inspection.
That’s actually it, as far as my research has shown.
Standing: Cons (According to Sitters)
Sitters point to a few cons in the stand-to-wipe method. Primary among them is that when you stand, your cheeks close up and access is greatly limited. When a stander counters that you simply hold your cheeks open with your other hand, a sitter would retort that that’s a lot more effort than should be necessary, the second major con.
A small third con is the possibility of missing the bowl when you toss your wad of paper.
The Thoughts of a Sitter
As mentioned, I’ve always been a sitter, and I’ve got a few thoughts on this standing business.
As mentioned above, the primary reasons standers like standing are that 1, their hands come nowhere near a toilet bowl, and 2, they won’t accidentally touch bare cheek or thigh with soiled toilet paper when they’re coming around for a visual inspection.
This first issue (and the second, to an extent) seems to come down to avoiding germs. But you’re still repeatedly sticking your paper-wrapped fingers in your butt. Luckily there’s a way you can avoid that, too.
And in regards to accidentally smearing your own poop on your leg during inspection… I can confidently say that that has never once happened in my entire life of pooping. It just doesn’t happen.
A Device to End the Debate
To sit or to stand during wiping is a debate that will rage for all eternity, or for as long as people wipe to get “clean.”
If only there was a way to end this debate. Some sort of device that cleaned your butt for you, without the need to wipe all together…
But of course, there already is — bidets! Once you get the hang of properly angling your butt into the cleansing spray, you won’t believe you spent all those years repeated wiping squares of paper across your poop stained skin, either sitting or standing, and called it clean. If the goal is cleanliness, the real question is wiping vs. water, to which there is no debate. Once you use a bidet, you won’t ever switch back.
Perhaps the only drawback is that, in order to use a bidet, you standers in the crowd will have to take a seat.
Written by Andrew Tobia
Illustration by Meia