AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
believe in equal rights for women in all areas.Equal pay, equal opportunity, the right to choose and control their own
bodies.But if you are going to claim
equal rights, you have to be fair and not demand special rights at the same
many generations now women have dominated their male counterparts in one
particular area, and it is time for it to stop.It is a simple matter, but remains controversial.I am going to pick up the mantle and carry
the cause forward to ensure the rights of men.
male of our species should not be expected to keep the toilet seat down.It defies the principles of common sense,
common courtesy, and fairness.
about it.Why should men be required to
exert the additional time and energy for no good reason other than to give
women the advantage in our bathrooms?A
brief review of the facts will clearly reveal this creates an undue and unfair burden
on my brothers.
of the biggest complaints women have concerning men and the bathroom is – well,
they tend to “miss” sometimes.So women
want the seat they left down to be raised while the guys do what guys usually
do when standing in the bathroom.Then
they want the seat lowered again so they don’t have to do it.
end result is men are expected to raise and lower the toilet seat during each
bathroom session.But women, under the
current rules, never have to even touch it.This is tyranny, and cannot be allowed to stand.
frequent defense of the existing discriminatory toilet policy is what I refer
to as “The Fall-in Factor”.How often
have you heard the tale of woe from a female who got up in the middle of the
night, walked into the bathroom to answer the call of nature, and sat on the
toilet only to discover the seat was up and the water was cold?
reject the conclusion this is the fault of any men in the house.With all due respect to the fairer sex – is
it our fault you didn’t look where you sat?Don’t you have any responsibilities at all for what happens in the
happen to move a kitchen chair away from the table and you sit where it was and
fall, is that our fault too?Perhaps
guys should escort the ladies of the house into the powder room each time and
personally inspect the seat situation before they hurt themselves?Oh, the horrors of expecting them to look
first, sit later.
also the “common courtesy” argument.It
is said men should raise and lower the seat as a matter of politeness and
certainly is a nice gesture.
does that respect and courtesy not extend equally in both directions?To be sure, women in general get more square
footage in the bathroom than their male counterparts.However, the toilet itself should be
asexual.If guys have to lower the seat
for gals, shouldn’t they have to lift it for us?Courtesy and respect ought to be gender
Men do have
specific duties in the bathroom they must take care of regularly.The old adage “If you tinkle when you
sprinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie” was on a sign in my mother-in-laws
bathroom for years.It is a valid (if
somewhat hokey) way of reminding us to clean up after ourselves.That is a perfectly reasonable request and
should always be fully honored.
training men to lower the seat is demeaning to both the men and the women who
force them to do it.And to those ladies
who say it is so little to ask and requires minimal effort, I say:Then why don’t you do it?
centuries now, women have played on our inbred guilt to get us to perform this
menial task.It is well past time we
stood up for ourselves while – well, standing up for ourselves.
And for the
record, my wife never complains when I leave the seat up.She says it’s a wasted effort.Smart lady.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and
longtime local official.He can be
emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at
This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Monday, April 7, 2014
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
As I looked over the election
results in North Attleboro last week, a thought suddenly struck me.North Attleboro’s town government is a lot
like my little brother when I was growing up.
seems to ever be their fault.
the second year in a row voters virtually ignored the town election.Only 10.85 percent of registered voters
bothered to cast ballots, on the heels of last year’s turnout of less than 10
percent.For the second year in a row,
Election Commission Chairman Kevin Poirier correctly referred to the turnout as
there is little to indicate anything will change soon.North officials have shown little interest in
doing anything meaningful to attract more voters to local elections, other than
insisting they are not to blame for the turnouts.It’s almost like they really don’t want more
voters casting ballots – and that might very well be the truth.
to a person, town officials refuse to place any blame for the poor turnout on
the system of government.They reject
outright the argument voters simply don’t believe the current system is
effective, thus making their votes relatively meaningless.Instead they have a myriad of other excuses –
er, I mean reasons – to explain the continued poor showing.
election wasn’t advertised well enough.No one mentioned it on the town web site.The weather has been bad.People are too busy working.The media doesn’t cover it as well as it
should.Voters have trust in the current
system and don’t see the need to vote.It is not just North, turnout is down in many other communities.
the idea that voters have simply lost confidence and feel betrayed by a
government that consistently shuns them never seems to be touted by town officials.
many embarrassing turnouts does it take for that to be publicly
considered?What will it take for town
officials to finally admit that a system regularly ignored by 90 percent of
town voters needs to be changed?
April less than 10 percent turned out to vote for town officers.Two months later in June, 40 percent voted in
an override election.Why the difference?
Because in June, their vote actually mattered.
are 135 members in North Attleboro’s Representative Town Meeting.Last Tuesday’s election featured two
contested races for seven spots.All the
rest were either unopposed.In about 19
instances no one at all even bothered to run for the position.This system can’t even attract enough
candidates to fill its legislative branch, never mind attracting voters.
this is the form of government most officials are determined to keep at all
costs.Again, why?In my mind, the answer is simple.
is the government they can control.This
is the government picked by the small number of good citizens who take
seriously their obligation to vote.This
is the government that got them elected.
claims to the contrary, they don’t want more people to vote.It makes the electorate more
unpredictable.That just makes it harder
to get elected.
have to laugh when I hear people say RTM is better than a mayor or a town
council because it lets more people vote on local issues rather than
concentrating power in the hands of a few.
same RTM has consistently blocked people from casting binding ballot votes on
changing the form of government.Is more
only better when it applies to them?The
hypocrisy is laughable.
be elections in other local towns with very low turnouts.But most of them will have few if any
contested races.By contrast, the three
contests in North Attleboro were spirited and interesting.Yet voters still ignored them.
of the current system point to low turnout in other communities as a defense of
the status quo.It reminds me of when I
would point to bad behavior by others to explain my own, and my mom would say
“If they all jumped off a cliff, would you?”
are not lazy, don’t need to be “educated”, and are not ill-informed.They are just tired of being ignored and
blamed for the consistent failure of a system they have said should be changed.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and
can be emailed at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at