Thursday, May 30, 2019

Celebrate National Bathroom Reading Month

June is National Bathroom Reading Month
A marketing gimmick--an amusing one--the month-long celebration declared by the Bathroom Readers’ Institute is worth considering for a couple of minutes. The Institute publishes the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader books, collections of fun facts and trivia. Publications include The Best of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, Uncle John’s UNCANNY Bathroom Reader, Fake Facts and Flush Fiction.

The Bathroom Readers’ Institute proclamation:
Since 1988, the Bathroom Readers’ Institute has led the movement to stand up for those who sit down and read in the bathroom. National Bathroom Reading Month celebrates the 66 percent of Americans who proudly admit to this time-honored pastime.

I’m thinking: What do the other 34% do in lieu of reading in the loo? What do YOU think they do? If a member of the non-reading crowd, what do you do?

I suppose the Institute conducted a poll to arrive at the 66% statistic, but were people honest when asked about such a sensitive topic? I bet people say they read to appear smart and literate. If the answer is no, people might consider these non-reading-bathroom-beings boring.

Bathroom reading is apparently an American pastime, like shopping, eating out, and watching TV. Speaking of an episode of the iconic sit com Seinfeld, “The Bookstore” George Costanza is forced to buy a book he takes into a Brentano’s bathroom to read while doing his business. 
A 4-minute YouTube clip of the Seinfeld bathroom episode.

Reading in the bathroom is not, however, strictly an American pastime. Two thousand years ago Roman baths contained libraries so folks could borrow books to read while doing their bathroom business. With the invention of the printing press (thank you Gutenberg!), reading material proliferated. Folks used the pages of finished items as toilet paper (and thank you Sears for all those catalogues). 

The invention of the smartphone increased the numbers of folks reading on the toilet. Verizon Wireless conducted a study and discovered 90% of people with smartphones used them while on the toilet. That begs the question: how sanitary are our phones? I think we all know the answer...

Why do folks read while pooping on the potty? Probably as a way to pass the time until their bathroom task is flushed finished. Sitting on the toilet can be a wasteful use of precious timeWhat does one do? Look around a (usually) uninspiring space. Most bathrooms are not decorated with interesting artwork, decorative furniture or unique accessories. How often do you see towels that spark your imagination, catch your eye and keep your attention for more than a couple of seconds?

On the potty, immersed in a book, newspaper or magazine--on a favorite electronic device or an old-fashioned paper edition--time passes quickly. For the reader – not necessarily for others waiting their turn. Ever notice some individuals take tomes into the bathroom and do not emerge for...a very long time. 

In summary, do not feel guilty when perusing magazines or books in the bathroom, either at home or away. A good host will supply reading material for guests. 

What’s in your bathroom?
Reading material found in one room of my house.


  1. A whole month devoted to this topic? Bizarre, if you ask me. I don't read in the bathroom, so I guess I am in the minority. :-)

  2. Reading while in the bathroom is ok. Funny that there's a whole month dedicated to it and not just a day. But what gets me are the people who talk on their cell phone in the bathroom. I don't want to hear someone peeing while they're talking to me on the phone.