Monday, March 14, 2011

Toilet Paper Orientation: Prefer over or under?

An anonymous friend sent this link to me a while back with hope that it would spark a new post -- Toilet paper orientation? To anyone else--those who are not, even in the slightest bit, intrigued by little peculiarities that make people tick a certain way--this subject is doomed to failure. To me, the headline not only sparked a smile, but achieved what my friend hoped for: a new post.

What prey tell is toilet paper orientation? Go-to encyclopedia, Wikipedia, says there are only two options available in toilet paper orientation when using a toilet roll holder with a horizontal axis: the toilet paper may hang over or under the roll. The decision of which supersedes the other is entirely up to the bathroom occupant and his or her personal preference. Bathroom occupant? Why particular to whoever is in the bathroom? Well, advice columnists like Ann Landers write the topic is so controversial, bathroom occupants may change the paper orientation in bathrooms not their own. Who does that?! Admittedly...[face runs parallel to floor] Before releasing any judgement, I never change the toilet paper orientation in public restrooms, only if I'm at a friend's or a family's house. Okay, so it is a little strange. :|

Want to know more? Here are the facts according to Wiki:
  • Over reduces the risk of accidently brushing the wall or cabinet with one's knuckles, potentially transferring germs.
  • Over makes it easier to visually locate and to grasp the loose end.
  • Over offers hotels, cruise ships, and homeowners with guest bathrooms the option to fold over the last sheet to show that the room has been cleaned.
  • Over is generally the intended direction of view for the manufacturer's branding, so patterned toilet paper looks better this way.
  • Under provides a tidier appearance, in that the loose end can be more hidden from view.
  • Under reduces the risk that a toddler or house pet (cat or dog) will completely unroll the toilet paper when batting at the roll.
  • Under in a recreational vehicle may reduce unrolling during driving.
Interesting? Certainly, but it isn't over yet! Therapists and consultants take it one step further by offering theories on character traits for those who purposely chose one orientation over the other. The theories often range from sex, age, socioeconomic status to political philosophy.

The traits according to Wiki:
  • If you roll over, you like taking charge, crave organization and are likely to over-achieve.
  • If you roll under, you're laid-back, dependable and see relationships with strong foundations.
  • If you couldn't care less as long as a roll is actually available to use, you aim to reduce conflict, value flexibility/adaptablility and like putting yourself in new situations.
Columnist David Grimes notes the kind of person who prefers the paper to roll over the top is an out-going, free-spending type who gets his or her kicks trying to sneak 11 items through the 10-items-or-less line at the grocery store. On the other hand, he writes the kind of person who prefers the paper to roll from the bottom is a naturally suspicious sort who vacuums his or her house three times a day and believes Jerry Springer is God. The last bit is my favorite.

So, I guess the question of the day is evident. Are you over or under?


  1. I love it! I fall into the "could give 2 F#$%s" category. Thus why I found this whole topic so fascinating and the people in the "over" and "under" categories just as well. Thanks for always keeping me entertained with these posts during the work day!

    - Anonymous Friend

  2. Haha...fantastic! You are too cute! Thanks for reading. :)

  3. In my arrogance, I always assumed I was the only one weird enough to think about stuff like this, but clearly I should have known better with you Sam! I am happy to say I learned something new from this post and got a seriously good chuckle out of it as well, which is all I ever want when I roll out of bed in the morning. Bravo!

    (can't say I've ever gone fascist on someone else's toilet paper though, I usually restrict myself to straightening the mirror...)

  4. This is turning out to be quite the post! And...[blushing a bit]...people are learning more about me than I ever intended. :) Hope that's a good thing in the long run.

    Glad you laughed. It is truly a great way to start the day!


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