We have taken the next step in a national germaphobe panic attack: Kohler is promoting its new no-touch toilet.
You read that right: A toilet that you don’t have to touch.
At least to flush. There might be some touching necessary to accomplish other tasks, but I suspect that the enablers will come up with a way to allow you to use the toilet without getting out of your plastic bubble.
(An aside: Based on stories told to me by Mrs. Brad, it’s already common for women to refuse to sit on public toilets, resulting in a mess that likely makes women’s restrooms as gross as men’s public restrooms. But that’s the subject of another column.)
Kohler’s Cimarron toilet – yeah, the name sounds like a 1950s Western TV series – flushes when you wave your hand above the tank lid, triggering a sensor. It doesn’t even have a flush lever – the only way to flush is to wave your hand over the tank.
Which makes it likely that anyone who gets such a model will have plenty of awkward encounters with guests who leave unflushed toilets.
The new model came after Kohler commissioned a study of 800 consumers in the United States and found that more than half of them were paranoid about germs in the bathroom – including two-thirds of mothers with children at home.
A reminder: Paranoia is a psychological disorder. It’s concern about something that’s not true.
Are there germs in the bathroom? Yes. Will they kill you? Only if you’re so obsessed with them that you bring a plugged-in toaster into the bathtub.
But in the wussification of America, we’re now not only afraid of bad germs, we’re afraid of all germs – especially in public restrooms.
(Another aside: Did you ever consider that perhaps using public restrooms and actually touching the inside of the bathroom door – considered the dirtiest place in the room – would help you build up your immunities? Embrace the germs! They make you strong! But that’s the subject of another column.)
Here’s the worst thing about the touchless toilet: It protects you from germs in your own house.
So you buy this toilet to avoid your own germs. Next up, Kohler will allow you to use a toothbruth that doesn’t enter your mouth, so you can’t get your own germs.
The new toilet – and I don’t blame Kohler for manufacturing it, the company is responding to the marketplace – is designed to make you to feel like you’re avoiding contamination by finishing your business on the toilet and then waving your hands wildly over the tank.
Sure, you might avoid germs. But you’ll look ridiculous, which for my money is worse than getting germs.
(One final aside for the paranoid moms with young children at home who want to avoid germs: Just wait until your kid discovers how much fun it is to magically make the toilet flush by waving your hands over it! But that’s the subject for another column.)
Here’s the bottom line: Like the rhythm, the germs are gonna get you. Rather than spending extra on toilet models, embrace the germs.
If you ask me, rather than focusing on touchless models, the toilet industry should focus on something much better: Built-in televisions!
But that’s the subject for another column.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.