DARE TO ASK: Reading in bathroom: A guy thing?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
Do women not read on the toilet? Men, do you? Please say yes -- and let women
know about the pleasure of a really good ... read.
J., male, Orange Park
I read in the bathroom. I just finished James and the Giant Peach. Last month
it was The Count of Monte Cristo. I even keep Where's Waldo and I Spy in there
to keep me busy. By the way, this is also a great place to polish your toes.
Aneba, 22, female, Houston
Sorry, I'm a guy, and I don't. The entire purpose of going to the bathroom is
to go to the bathroom. Maybe it's just that I grew up in a household with only
P.R., Irvine, Calif.
Being a mom of three, sometimes the only quiet time I can get until everyone
is in bed is in the bathroom. I generally keep Reader's Digest or something else
SecretMe, 40, Tacoma, Wash.
I'm a female, and I have to read something on the toilet. I'm not even picky
about it. I'll read the back of a shampoo bottle, toothpaste tube, etc.
Christy, 22, Jacksonville
If you've got time to attend to anything but the matter at hand, maybe you're
just not getting enough fiber in your diet.
N.J.W., 25, male, London
I sing to myself on the toilet.
Bunnie, 15, Chattanooga, Tenn.
I wonder if other women feel comfortable taking reading materials with them
into the bathroom, specifically a public bathroom. Men seem to not think twice
grabbing a newspaper at work and heading in.
Stacey, 30, Ellicott City, Md.
Now that I think about it, it does give you that concentration that's perfect
for getting reading done.
Jamie, female, Reading, Pa.
Our mailbox overfloweth. Who better to ask about the gravity of the situation
than Gordon Javna, editor in chief at the Bathroom Readers' Institute in Oregon,
which has sold more than 6 million copies of its popular Uncle John's Bathroom
Reader book series, produced precisely for porcelain throne perusal.
"Every survey we've seen shows that roughly two-thirds of people who can
read, read in the bathroom," he said. "Since less than two-thirds of the
population is male, it would be impossible for it to be only men who read in the
bathroom. We get plenty of women ... who write and say they love our books."
The institute's readership is slightly skewed toward men, however, and men
who read in the lavatory may spend more time in the inner sanctum than women.
However, "I don't subscribe to the theory that women are so dainty that they
just get in and get out [and don't read]," Javna said firmly.
Men may also be more bold about reading in the bathroom at work, while women
are more discreet about such things, perhaps preferring a more languorous
approach, adds Julia Papps, production manager for the institute. That may
account for the popularity of its Mom's Bathtub Reader title.
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information.