Over versus Under – The Toilet Paper Debate

Posted on May 2, 2016 I Written By

My name is John and I'm a working dad with 4 beautiful children. I'm a full time blogger and entrepreneur. These are my musings. I hope you enjoy.

It’s time that we take on some serious journalism here and discuss the debate on whether the toilet paper should go over or under. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about, but to be 100% sure, here’s a visual representation of the debate:

Over versus Under - The Toilet Paper Debate

This is an extremely important subject and no doubt has been the fight between many a husband and wife over the years. I’d be surprised if this question isn’t one of Match.com’s algorithmic checks of compatibility between partners. Considering how much time you spend reaching for the toilet paper, this is an important topic which must be discussed. The problem is that too many people take a simplistic over or under stance, but the answer should be much more nuanced. Since nuance is my middle name, let’s dive into the nuance.

Someone recently found this 1891 toilet paper roll patent which many argued “settled” the debate of over versus under. Here’s the image from the patent:

Toilet Paper Patent

I can see why many would argue that this ends the debate of over versus under. However, just because something patents something a certain way, that doesn’t mean it’s the most optimal way to use something. In fact, there are many initial patents that get modified and improved over the years. Plus, if I was getting into the nitty gritty (which I basically am), then it’s worth also noting that the patent doesn’t even have the toilet paper mounted into proper position. How do we know that the inventor didn’t intend it to be mounted the other way, but this was just the best way to illustrate the patent?

As a child, I must admit that I was a strong proponent of the over the top paper roll. I’m not sure if I inherited this view from my parents or siblings or if I came to the conclusion on my own through constant use. Either way, I became a strong advocate for the over the top toilet paper. It provided much easier access to grab the toilet paper.

As I’ve grown older, I still feel the same way about over the top toilet paper, but I’ve grown to understand an important nuance. Upon having children who became mobile I realized the merits of the under methodology. Any parent who has arrived at their toilet seat only to find a pile of unrolled toilet paper will understand why the under methodology is so important with kids (Side Note: I’m also told this is true with animals such as cats, but don’t have first hand experience). Yes, my children’s actions have converted me to the under approach to toilet paper.

I do look forward to the day when my kids are mature enough to appreciate the over the top toilet paper and I can return to my roots. We’re almost there. I can feel it.

The moral of the story is that we shouldn’t judge others if they choose to go over the top or under on their toilet paper. Like in most things in life, there’s always more nuance than we realize.