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June 27, 2004


Dear Dave,

I have no idea whether or not this is the best way for you to actually see something, but I had to send this after your column a month or two ago about public etiquette.  I live in Moscow, Russia, and receive your column by internet every week since it was dropped from the Moscow Times awhile back. Anyway, I think that public bathroom etiquette must be the final frontier in civilizations! 

Even at the gorgeous, lush Bolshoi Theater, there are no seats on some of the toilets, as people just step on them anyway.  Yes, go to any McDonald's or public restroom (women's anyway - can't speak for the guys. I would think that a urinal is a urinal), and there will likely be footprints on the toilet seat.  Best I can figure is that they use the western style toilets as a squatty-hole-in-the-floor type.  Go figure.  And they DON'T wipe up the pee-pee that gets splattered about. In a smaller city outside of Moscow, in a newish mall type affair, I found the following in a public restroom.  I had to take a picture of it.

Thanks for the laughter which your columns bring!

Victoria Andes



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Maybe they want a boost to see what's going on next door?

Bleah! who wears high heels to step on a toilet anyway?

It's just a short hop from the ladder of success to stepping on the toilet.

(that makes no sense to me either, but it's the thought that counts :-)

As my mother told me us kids when we were growing up - "Silence is golden -- just like my shower this morning."

They ought to replace all the lids with ones that look like porcelain on the surface, but actually are made of a material that can't handle the weight of a human being stepping on them. After one wet foot in the bowl, they'd learn their lesson.

Two words - La Funnelle

Hey, did I get rid of the italics? All hail me!

I think my brain is going to explode trying to imagine the logistics of the whole thing.

That, and what a profound statement "A Urinal Is A Urinal" is.

So Russians like to get high on pot. What's the big news here?

How can people pee all over the place and not clean up after themselves??!! Squatting women, men with bad aim, whoever: I just can't imagine leaving splatters of my own urine for someone else to clean up or possibly step or sit in.
I also just don't know how a woman can pee standing up without a funnel. Indeed, this subject is mind-boggling. And I think I've brought it to a new level of grossness. My work here is done.

Can someone please explain to me, in detail, in Russian, using only the letter "X," why these women need to stomp on toilets? I would be delighted to make an analogy using the terms "Russian women," "the letter X," and "stomping," but I would have to lower my standards, and I just can't bring myself to do that.

I don't know Doug, I've seen some of your work, including a certian annoying image on your web site, so lowering your standards? Hum....


In Thailand (and presumably many other places) they make toilets that are meant to be stood (squatted) on, with nice non-slip tread-pattened porcelain foot plates on either side of the bowl. The only trick is how to deal with your dropped trou, since the floors are generally filthy. Leads to some really undignified gymnastics. After using one of these devices, I was amused to see the words "American Standard" stamped on the porcelain.

However, as a gent, I admit I was only inconvenienced by these occasionally - I could usually hold the serious business until I got to a Western-style hotel, and a "urinal is a urinal"

Do what Ty Pennington has done
and trade up to the Champion Toilet featuring America's Best Flushing System.

The picture is about standing on the toilet with the lid down, something no one in high heels should ever do. Maybe it is about polishing your shoes?

Good point, Tiko. Having the lid down is probably a much bigger problem than standing.
Oh, and go back to Graham's post if you're still confused about how women pee standing up. Yuck.
(Welcome, Graham :-))

There is, in fact, a device which enables women to pee while standing. It looks very much like the oxygen mask which drops down from the ceiling over airline seats in times of emergency.

Perhaps they are putting their foot up on the seat in order to hike up their stockings. I really want to believe that, because the alternative is just too strange.

Jim - I don't want to know why it is you know that. :)

This is a common prctise in countries where squatting toilets are frequently used. Here in Malaysia foot prints on sitting toilets can be seen often as well. See publictoilets.info.

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