In the comments of the Cara Delevingne Marie Claire post, one of you responded to her discussion of her interesting toilets and bathroom decor by suggesting this chat. How could I refuse? I LOVE people’s decor. Indeed, someone else posted in the comments a link to the toilet in question, as well as a feature on the entire house in which it lives. Both are worth your eyeballs.

I don’t own any interesting bathroom decor. But I did once LIVE with interesting bathroom decor. I would have sworn on my LIFE that I turned up a photo I’d taken of this item for posterity, but I can’t find it anywhere, so that would have been a very sad ending indeed. Anyway: My first apartment in Austin was a great little rental just off South Congress (between Oltorf and Live Oak!), and I was leasing it from a guy who worked at the paper. He gave me a really good deal and was an awesome landlord, AND it had a very small washer-dryer in it — one of those super narrow ones that sits in a closet — so I didn’t need to see too much other than that. When I took over from the guy who’d been living there, I finally opened the toilet lid to use it, and found a sticker. More accurately, it was an instructional sticker, using the little dude whose silhouette is the universal sign for Men’s Room. Except he had junk. On the left was a panel showing that if this man were to point his junk and shoot, urine would splash everywhere. The Universal No symbol was stamped on it. On the right, it showed this man sitting on the toilet and thoughtfully tucking his junk inside it, resulting in a contained urine stream.

Well. I was 21, moving into my first place, and fairly introverted. I didn’t love weird conversations. So I obviously did NOT ask my landlord about this. Maybe it belonged to the old tenant and I could have just peeled it off. But what if it was my landlord’s sticker, somehow? What if when he’d lived there, he’d placed this inside the toilet lid, thinking it was the height of comedy, and now I was about to offend him? Mostly, though, I thought it was a funny story, so I didn’t do anything about it other than laugh with my friends that this even existed and had happened to ME of all people — I mean, my name is Cocks, after all, so OF COURSE I’d ended up with a toilet bearing a sticker on how to use one. But then my parents came to visit, and I panicked, so I bought a fuzzy toilet seat cover and turned it around so that the fur was over the inside of the seat. I told my parents that I found it really comfortable that way, neither one of them, bless them, did anything but treat that like a weird quirk (and did not ask me, “Um so do you just never CLOSE your toilet then?!?). My parents are and were tremendous and funny people, but I still don’t swear in front of Mom and I’m on the doorstep of 42; this is exactly half that many years ago (holy shit), and I just for whatever reason got so embarrassed about the idea of my dad seeing that dumb thing, or me even giving it any breath at all. Would it have been more mature to say, “Hey, so the dude who lived here first had some random sticker on the toilet and I haven’t taken it off yet; sorry”? Yes, of course. But I was not a smart problem-solver when I was 21. (Or even when I was 23, which is how old I was when some dude called my office at Tough Enough and we had a five-minute chat before I realized he wasn’t intending to call me, and by then I was so embarrassed that I just… kept pretending I was the person he thought I was until we could get off the phone. I am much better at being an introvert now, but man, the things I would do to avoid an awkward conversation.) (And, my dad and I FOR SURE did not have a relationship built on penis jokes.) (I was completely fine with this.) (Also my mom and I do not, either.) So the sticker stayed until I moved out a year and a half later. I hope it’s still there. This might also be the first mom is hearing of it. Hi, Mom!

My parents, in fact, have one of the good bathrooms in my life: They put all their royal knickknacks, pictures, and mementos from over the years — a teapot shaped like Queen Victoria (technically this is mine), a metal Chuck and Di engagement wastebasket, their invitation to a Buckingham Palace garden party from the late 1980s — in there, and have dubbed it, yes, The Throne Room.

Your turn!