The Straight Dope’s “classic” columns archives includes one (02-Mar-90) on why public toilet seats are always “U” shaped, whereas residential toilet seats are always round. Cecil replied that it was because “men are pigs”, and the gap makes it easier to keep the thing from becoming totally gross.
I just returned from 3 weeks in Australia. During that period, I used perhaps 20 public men’s toilets all over the country, AND EVERY ONE OF THEM HAD A ROUND TOILET SEAT. Not one was U-shaped.
From which we may draw one of the several possible conclusions:
Cecil Adams is wrong. This, of course, is an impossibility.
Australian men are far cleaner and more fastidious than American men. Possible, but I kind of doubt it, having seen a reasonable cross-section of the Aussie male population.
The Aussies are more fastidious with their public toilets, cleaning them long before they can become gross. Possible…they seem to still care about public services there, more so than in the U.S.
The Aussies just don’t care. Well, maybe…they do have that Crocodile Dundee image to keep up.
It’s because their toilet seats are made of such thin, flimsy plastic that a U-shaped one would lack the necessary rigidity, and would dump the seat-ee either onto the floor or into the bowl as it flexed under the guy’s weight. I vote for this explanation.
Whatever the reason, U-shaped public toilet seats don’t exist in Australia. Therefore, public toilet seats are not “always” U-shaped.