Never the right temperature: a fuss over a toilet seat

A bidet toilet seat (often called Washlet) is a common bathroom feature in a modern Japanese household. When I was six and my family moved to a new house in the suburb, to everybody’s delight, our house also came with a brand new Washlet toilet.

A Washlet toilet seat is not only equipped with an automatic bidet, but it also has a heater, meaning that one can adjust the seat temperature according to their preference. This is especially a welcome feature in the winter when you don’t want to sit on an ice cold toilet seat.

My father was probably the heaviest user of this washlet feature in the family. Summer or winter, he always liked to keep the maximum seat temperature, so much so that whenever I used the bathroom after him, I had to turn down the heater quickly in order not to burn myself.

My mother, on the other hand, was a total opposite of my father. Being conscious of the electricity our Washlet consumed, she always liked to minimize the usage of the toilet seat heater. During the summer, she completely turned it off, and even in the winter, she often turned it off. So, whenever I used the bathroom after her in the winter, I had to make sure to turn on the heater before I sat on the toilet seat in order to avoid the surprise.

When my maternal grandmother came to visit us in the winter, she shared her thought with me.

“Your father keeps the toilet seat so hot!” she said after one of her visits to the bathroom. “I always have to place my hands between the seat and my bottom. Otherwise, I would burn myself!”

Another time, she came to me running with this comment.

“Your mother keeps the toilet seat so cold! Is the heater turned off or what?” she exclaimed. “I jumped upon sitting on the seat! I had to place my hands between the seat and my bottom because it’s too cold.”

Her comment couldn’t have been more spot on. I laughed upon hearing it. And it was funny that she responded to both extreme cases in exactly the same way – by putting her hands between the toilet seat and her bottom.