Ask Amy: Should the toilet seat be left up or down?

Dear Amy: My next-door neighbor “Sharon” and her husband “Stan” have been married for over 30 years and have two grown children. During the pandemic, Stan has mostly been working from home. His office is an hour away.

“Jocelyn,” his business partner of 25 years, has become close to the family over the years. Sharon tells me that Jocelyn occasionally spends the night at their house when there is an upcoming business meeting in our area, since she lives quite a distance away. They all seem to enjoy one another’s company.

We live in narrow, connected townhouses with adjacent front doors and porches, so we often see each other’s comings and goings.

A few times each year, Sharon goes out of town for the weekend.

Several times, when Sharon has left town, I have observed Jocelyn showing up within minutes of Sharon’s departure.

It almost seems as though she has been waiting around for Sharon to leave! Three or four hours later, she will emerge from the house and drive away.

Stan walks her to her car and makes some kind of loud pronouncement, like, “Well, now I have to get ready for my next meeting.”

He sounds awkward, as if the declaration is for others’ benefit.

Today my husband was sitting on our porch, so he witnessed this theater.

We then discussed whether or not they might be having an affair.

My husband said that maybe Stan realizes that this looks incriminating, and he’s overcompensating for our sake.

Or maybe he IS having an affair.

I’ve lived long enough to know that sometimes things are just the way they seem. Why does this woman show up every time Susan leaves town?

I have kept my mouth shut for a few years now, but I would feel terrible if my suspicions turned out to be true. Should I say something to Sharon, and if so, what could I say that would not cause harm?

Or should I accept that this is none of my business? She is a warm, loving person and I value her friendship.

– Too Close for Comfort

Dear Too Close: “Sharon” has already told you that “Jocelyn” is an occasional presence in their home. As her husband’s long-time business partner, you might assume that if suspicions were to be had, Sharon would have already had them.

Ask Amy: Should the toilet seat be left up or down?

You should not draw any further conclusions.

The next time Jocelyn comes around and “Stan” makes his overly loud pronouncement, you and/or your husband should give a hearty wave, introduce yourselves to Jocelyn, and put Stan out of his awkward misery.

Dear Amy: Many new coffee shops and other small businesses have non-gender specific bathrooms these days.

Assuming that half of the customers are men and half are women, should occupants put the toilet seat up or down after using it because they don’t know the gender of the next occupant?

I get yelled at when I’m at home if I leave the toilet seat up, because I’m the only man in the house. Please advise.

– Got to go in L.A.

Dear Got to Go: It is most considerate to treat a public restroom with the same forethought toward the next user as you would treat your bathroom at home.

Men as well as women do sit on the toilet. Falling into the basin because the seat is raised is a definite safety hazard for the next user.

Because you don’t know the purpose and necessary positioning of the next person into the loo (male or female), it seems wisest to always leave the seat down when you exit.

I’ll be happy to take an informal poll of readers who email me on this topic, and report on the results in a future column.

Dear Amy: Every time I see someone in your column comment on the damage that will be done to someone who sleeps with their stuffed animal or blanket into adulthood, I chuckle.

I was given a stuffed puppy for my first birthday, and that puppy went all the way to Vietnam with me 17 years later. It was with me through most of my adult life.

He was finally replaced 20 years ago with a similar puppy that is with me to this day.

Yes, I am happily married, and my wife understands and supports the attachment I have to needing something tucked under my arm at night.

I was a successful businessman, now retired, and at 68, I can tell you, it never caused me any problems.

– Glenn

Dear Glenn: Real men love lovies!

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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