New twist to an old debate

There are just some debates that have been around since forever, well, at least 1960 or so, in which there are no foreseeable ends or resolutions: paper or plastic, Byrd or Jordan, vampire or werewolf, Kirk or Picard, Superman or Batman, tighties or boxers, red or blue, Rebel or Black Bear, Ginger or Maryann, and the biggest one of them all, over or under. I even touched on my own over/under argument with BJ (many many years ago) in one of my early blogs. It’s this last debate that has recently been thrown a curveball into the long argument.

Over/under, for the uninitiated (and really, that could only mean those 18 and under, right?) is the age old argument of whether the toilet paper in the bathroom should roll over…or under. Some might suggest this debate is a pointless one, but I’d argue those people have never struggled to grab the first sheet in a roll oriented “under”…and then had to spin and spin trying to get that first sheet in a position to grab.

So, okay, truth is that it cannot be “ages old.” Toilet paper as we know it on a roll has only really been available since the late 1800s. Sure, there were many other types of paper used, but not rolled. In doing some quick wiki-research for this, I discovered the Greeks used to use pebbles. Some of the advertising for early rolled toilet paper suggested it was “splinter-free.”


Recently however, BJ bought this little contraption (tp holder) that fits on the side of the tank. When we repainted the bathroom wall, we removed the tp holder on the wall and just never replaced it partly because I didn’t do it fast enough and partly because BJ didn’t like the location (there’s a blog all in itself, right? Strategic locations of tp holders!). After a long while of no holder I found the one in the accompanying photo attached. Note, it is an up/down holder and not an over/under holder. BJ argues that because of the gravitational lean of the roll (note how the roll leans to the left) that there is still an over/under orientation and I can almost see her point. And yet, the roll holder suggests the opposite. So what would you call it? Left/right? Home/Away? In/Out?

Regardless, I’m just thankful we’re not arguing how to stack corn cobs.



Filed under Columns

8 responses to “New twist to an old debate

  1. Daphne Webb

    Paper. Jordan. Vampire. Picard. Batman. Boxers . Blue. Rebel. MaryAnn. –Neither! Because my roll sits on the floor! :o)

  2. pat laster

    When I moved into this Depression-era-built house, the tp holder was on the end of the vanity–too close for “comfort.” I took it down and bought a free-standing one like I saw at my former daughter-in-law’s house when my grandson graduated from high school. (TMI?) Works wonderfully. I recommend it. Oh, it comes with a matching toilet brush/holder, too.

  3. Tracy Hutchison

    Someone once pointed out to me that you orientate TP (or paper towels) with the pattern showing. Thus, the “over” method would be politically correct and sociably fashionable. However, this method doesn’t usually allow for the pull and rip approach whereby you pull the roll then at the desired length you rip, cleanly tearing it off the roll. Instead the roll continues to unroll to an undesired length requiring the user to re-roll the remaining unused portion leaving it looking shabby and disheveled.

    Also if you notice the dispensers installed in public restrooms they are designed for the roll to be installed for use with the “over” method. Further indication that the “over” method is proper.

    My personal preference is that a roll exists regardless of orientation. The alternative, well nothing good ever came from that.

    And who in their right mind could pick Ginger over Mary Ann?

  4. John

    “In doing some quick wiki-research for this, I discovered the Greeks used to use pebbles. ”

    From what I know about ancient Greeks, I would have thought that Bam-Bam would have been more to their liking . . . 🙂

  5. ant'ny

    The way you have it is correct for hygiene. Ditto the “over” strategy.

    “Under” leaves you susceptible to surprises from your predecessor. ‘Nuff said.


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  7. Roland, somebody has ‘invented’ a hanger that you can flip so that it is whichever way you prefer. It hangs like an upside down ‘y’, and has a swivel where the fork meets the shaft. Can’t you just imagine a routine of going into the bathroom and flipping the TP to your preferred position before you sit down? Sounds a little obsessed to me.
    Superman – definitely. I’m okay with letting the circumstances dictate on the others. But there’s only one REAL Super-hero.

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