If you spend your days wondering why the toilet seats in public bathrooms are different to the ones in your home, we have the answer you’ve been longing for.
Public toilets often have a gap in the seat, resembling the letter U, yet the toilet seats at home go all the way round – and it’s completely understandable if it’s been giving you sleepless nights.
Luckily for the tens of people asking the question round the world, there is a definitive answer.
The gap in the seat is all down to hygiene and comes from the United States, where they have specific plumbing guidelines to follow, as reported by The Sun .
It’s designed to give the user a bit more room to reduce the chance of you touching the seat with your genitals and gives one less place for urine to splash.
The U-shape is also meant to make it easier for women to wipe without coming into to contact with the toilet, according to Lynne Simnick, the senior vice president of code development at the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
In yet another benefit, the seats are cheaper to produce and makes them less likely to get stolen, because it would be totally mortifying if someone came round your house and you had a U-shape seat and not a full donut.
For toilet history fans, the seats were brought in as part of the American Standard National Plumbing Code in 1955 and then later in the Uniform Plumbing Codes in 1973.
The code in California states: “All water closet seats, except those within dwelling units, shall be either of the open front type or have an automatic seat cover dispenser.”
So next time your in the toilets of a bar, try telling everyone the fascinating reasons behind the mysterious U-shaped toilet seat and you’ll probably be handed free drinks for the rest of the night.