Loo seat up or down: why it matters

This article was first posted on Osho News.

Madhuri elucidates at a talk the source of women’s unease at a lifted toilet seat, and of men’s at being shouted at (with two poems and video link)

So: You’ve met this great woman and now it’s the middle of the night and you’re all tangled up together under the duvet… and she gets up to go to the loo. And when she comes back her face is kind of squinched up, and you ask, “What’s the matter?” And she says, “Ummm… could you, like, put the seat down? I nearly fell in!” And you feel bad, but you also think, She’s a big girl! She can surely see if she’s about to fall in, and put down the seat!

Or: You’ve been together for years! And she comes stalking into the bedroom just as you’re waking up in the morning, and her face is all contorted, and she’s lost any pretence of niceness, and it’s “You fucking barbarian shitewad! I TOLD you I hate to see that fucking seat up! It’s just UGLY!” And you shrink back inside, go all quiet, and just kind of turn in on yourself… Or, maybe you protest: “But what’s the big deal? Why should I be the one to put it down? And what do you mean, ugly? That’s a subjective word, not logical! It doesn’t look ugly to me, just practical!”

Okay. Now, let’s switch. Women! You know how, when you go into the bathroom, and the toilet seat is up, you get an urrghy cold feeling somewhere in your middle? And you love the guy, and you don’t want to be a nag, but really… It’s just kind of Yuck, kind of abysmal, almost scary, and you yourself can’t even say quite why –

Now I’m going to say something really strange. This is how I explained it to my very hardheaded, sober brother (whom I adore, by the way) when he said “I don’t understand why women say it’s ugly, to me it looks practical”: “Can you imagine… if there was a certain room in the house – and every time you passed it, there was a woman in there, weeping and mourning and wailing. How might that feel to you?”

He gulped. “That would not be good,” he said.

But what on earth do these two things have to do with each other – toilets, and weeping ladies?

Let me explain…

I’m going to be using the Hindu chakra system here. My own idea is that a system is as good as its usefulness to you, at a given time in your life. There are so many systems, and no need to say one is better than another – just use what works. And this one has worked brilliantly for me, particularly in relationships.

Okay. Everybody knows that at the first chakra, a man sticks out and woman sticks in. Everybody can see that. What people can’t see, because we tend to be quite blind, as a species, is that the genitals are not the only place we have on our bodies with energy happening in them! At the second chakra, in the belly below the navel, which has to do with feeling and emotion – the poles are reversed: the woman sticks out and the man sticks in.

At the third, power, the solar plexus – the man sticks out and the woman is receptive.

At the fourth, heart, the woman sticks out – love can flow out of her breasts – and the man is receptive.

In fact, ideally – and it probably never happens – all up and down the bodies lovers could fit into each other’s receptive chakras, and experience incredible things. I can tell you a LITTLE of this from my own experience.

Now, before I go further I want to talk about gay, queer, trans, and so on. I started my career as a chakra reader in 1987. I’ve read a very great many chakras indeed. And what I observed is that a chakra which has a penis, or vagina, can still be electrically charged oppositely to the anatomy. And there is infinite variation in what goes on in a chakra. So on one level it might be feeling itself male, and deeper it might be somewhat receptive; or vice versa; and there do tend to be lots of old stories, traumas, past lives, and so on in there, just as there are in chakras generally. So I’d say that whatever you feel yourself to be in a chakra – male or female – stick with that for the purposes of this talk, and don’t worry about the anatomy you were born with.

Okay. Any positively-charged chakra – a penis, a rounded woman-belly, a staunch forceful power chakra, a bosomy overflowing heart – has molecules moving forward along it, and energetically sticks out, and is even erectile. It is sometimes seeking to penetrate the receptive chakra of the other, and in doing that it experiences a thrill, a power, and, we hope, a tenderness. Each chakra has its own character, and as we go up the body they become more sublime, so the thrill can be subtle and quite gorgeous.

A sticky-out chakra might also not exactly notice what the other person is experiencing – it cannot – for it is what it is – sticking-out. Sensitivity might not be its strong point, unless it really takes the care to meditate and observe its own finer energies.

Therefore rape and male violence are possible, and shrieking, verbally-abusive women – both of these are examples of an insensitive-to-the-other outgoing chakra.

A receptive chakra – the vagina of the woman, the emotional centre of the man (which I call the Mangina), for example – is immensely private, ingoing, deep, and wordless. Immensely!

So that women don’t tend to tell you all about what is going on in their vaginas, in normal conversation – and men don’t tell you their feelings. If a woman is badgering a man to tell her about his feelings – which to her is a perfectly simple, logical thing to do – it feels to him an awful, scary invasion. Like it would feel to her if he was always saying, “How’s your pussy doing today?”

For a man to have access to the deep sexual abyss of the woman – and for a woman to have access to the man’s feelings – both of these incredible, real, precious, hidden spaces – the person with the receptive chakra has first to feel safe, and then to have lots and lots of time. And even then it is not in her or his control; it is autonomic, and it might go deep and then overflow gently, or it might not.

And, before a receptive chakra can open, the person’s positive chakras have to feel received and like they have space.

But I digress. Back to loo-seats!

So. When a woman sees the exposed toilet, without the seat partly hiding it, and with that careless touch of gaping rawness – the sense that comes to her unconsciously is, Here is a lawless penis. It could do anything! It doesn’t care about me. It is taking over the house! I could get raped! Murdered! And it just won’t care!

Just as when a woman is crying and crying, or bitching and yelling, the man feels, Oh my god, here is an out-of-control force that might take me over and impress its lawless power of grief into me! And I will be helpless! I will have to feel it all, and it’s not even mine! It will kill me!

So chivalry – a word I love – goes both the ways. (I have heard Osho say, “The greatest tragedy for a man is to lack generosity, and for a woman to lack dignity.” Putting the seat down is generous. And not spraying your emotional desperation in your man’s face, but finding a different way to express and process it, is, I think, dignified.)

Men! Put the seat down! It’s so reassuring to your woman!

Women! Don’t bitch! Find another way to get things across!

That way you show the other that though you COULD terrorize them, you are NOT GOING TO! Because you love and respect them!

When you have something – a penis, or emotional bulging – it’s very difficult to know what it’s like not to have it.

But in this inescapable game of meeting and mating with the Other, the Different, we are lost without chivalry, and without gracious and graceful observing, both outside and in.

We all have in us both male and female – just in different places.

So we can know what it’s like to be vulnerable, and also to be powerful.

And receptivity has its own kind of power, in its depth and truthfulness, and its sensitivity.

It is beautiful.

The warrior cult has taught us otherwise, but it’s time for the warrior cult to go. In its denial of the sensitive, the receptive, it has done incredible damage. I heard Osho say, “Sensitivity is your birthright. Become more and more sensitive.” And John Keats said, “In subtlety is delight.”

Now, a couple of poems!

Everywoman’s Prayer

The toilet with its seat agape
brings intimations of the Ape.
Like going out with undone flies
it is offensive to the eyes.
It looks so brutish there on show
its rounded pouch a-drooping low
yellow stains upon the white –
ugh – it’s a revolting sight!
Nor does it delicately invite
the rounded curves which need to sit
more frequently than yours on it.

Not to mention falling in
when the night is black as sin
there to scald her rump with cold
while the night is growing old.

And the house-cat on his rounds
when he finds the lid’s not down
hops up to circumnavigate
and perhaps his thirst to slake
then rambles off to pitty-pat
where the kitchen counter’s flat.

If your woman loves you lots
she still won’t want to see your crotch
all the day and all the night
without civilized respite
to gather up her senses mild
and keep them closed against your wild
hairy hoary smelly side
by that upflung seat implied.

Do not use your reason sere
on this atavistic fear
of woman when the Beast lurks near –
she has suffered long enough –
you should simply stow your stuff
and put the seat down with no guff.

Depends how much you want to vex
the shrinking, wafting, fairer sex
and if you really liked your mom
and were a happy well-loved son.

Though you might think it dumb to place
a cushioned bootie o’er its face
I assure you it makes light
the heart of ladies at the sight!

You see, the thing you have, stout and sturdy
and eager for some hurdy-gurdy
has its opposite in her –
a limb in-folded, ringed with fur –
and so the energy proclaims –
one forthright, and the other
vanishing, and soft as rain.

And so it is that things reverse
– at belly-level, she’s the first
forthright feelings pour from her
while you are shy as a withdrawn blur.

And, in chivalry, she should be kind
not assault you with emotions’ noisy grind
but ask you gently if you feel
to hear her as she shares what’s real –
and then she should desist to blame
you for her own upwelling flame.

But as to potties:
Of course, a good solution might
provide allayance of her fright –
several bathrooms in the house
and you can have your own to louse
up in any way you like.
(Beware though what you teach your tyke!)
And never make her clean the thing
if you want your love to sing.

Surely some inventor chap
needs to make a friendly app
which lifts and lowers lids to please
from any room – no need to see.

Then if marketers were smart
they’d sell them online at the techie mart –
so they’d be in every house and home –
thus saving couples – therefore nations –
from irritating conflagrations.

Do you hear, inventors? Heed –
what the people really need –
and make your fortunes too beside
delighting each and every bride.

Be patient for one detail more:
Feng Shui (which you might think a bore)
says your wealth is sucked with force
down the open, flushing, potty’s course.
To close the lid then is even better
for the house’s esoteric weather.
You’ll think this idiot romance…
But… do you want to take that chance?

And now… for the other side!


Supposing women didn’t screech
In bedroom, kitchen, at the beach
Trying to control their kids
Or blame their Harry, Tom, or Sid
For something he did not, or did.
Women, when you yell so loud
You’re coating lovers with a shroud
They will seldom dare to pierce.
Instead, they might sometime get fierce
Just to throw your voice off
From its barking bitching cough.
Here’s a secret – though should not be –
He is as vulnerable as we
But ours is shy between our thighs
so shy, like little baby fawns
or shyer still, like roots of trees
far below the slopes of lawns.
His shyness is a different sort
Beneath the navel is the port
To his emotion, feeling-world
Which is so robust in a girl.
In him, it’s quieter than night
Hiding so far out of sight
Deeper than an orphan’s plight
Far too sensitive to fight.
Fighting’s from another place –
Never from this tender vase
Where you your feeling-flowers can
Put, if they do love your man.
For poles reverse themselves, you see
Up and down the human tree
So that we can link and buzz
Electric sockets soft as fuzz.

From A Colorful Dessert of Flowers, 2016

Watch Madhuri’s talk and reading of these two poems on youtu.be