It was time for a new toilet seat.

Delicate subject, I know, but a necessary convenience and a convenience we have in common.

I started looking online since it was 110 outside, which meant the car was 120 and the leather seats were sizzling like rib-eyes on the Weber. You might think there isn’t much to consider, but toilet seats have gone the way of Fig Newtons (not just figs!) and Gatorade (with choices akin to Icy Charge, Arctic Blitz and Triple Berry).

For starter: elongated or round? That sounds like a personal question. A personal question with a personal answer.

Soft-close was a possibility, soft-close having migrated from the cabinet world where it has been delivering solid pleasure for years. Soft-close says, “I’m not in a hurry to close but when I do, I will be as quiet as driven snow.”

Everything was hard-close when we were kids. Close the seat and it would bounce twice, rattle the single-paned windows and alert the entire neighborhood — “I’m in the bathroom in case you couldn’t tell." Hard-close was both a seat and a press release.

Wooden seats? Those belong in a cabin setting. When you are wearing lederhosen, a Bavarian hat and are in the mood to yodel.

How about soft seats? The problem with soft seats is they make you think of a whoopie cushion. It might be a seat or a gag gift.

I could always get a heated seat, if I wanted to torture myself. It probably makes more sense to have a chilled seat and one whose temperature you could adjust like a wine fridge — 55 for reds and 45 for whites.

Electric toilet seats were available but what if they shorted out and delivered a powerful shock? The next thing you know you’ve set a new world high-jump record from the sitting position. Plus, electric seats are like electric cars — expensive.

Colored toilet seats? I’m not sure why you’d want to call attention to your toilet seat as if it were a prized part of the decor: “Look at my mirror gilded with sea shells, Jupiter glass vessel bathroom sink and blue toilet seat.”

You almost want toilets to be invisible. They are there but they aren’t there.

That’s what white is for. White blends in. White says I’m here when you need me but I can disappear when you don’t.

Until I trolled the Internet, I hadn’t realized it was possible to buy a used toilet seat. I already had a used toilet seat and had I realized there was a secondary market, I might have offered it as a trade-in on a new one, although I can’t imagine I would have saved much.

Buying something gently used or burnished with age is a sensible thing to do with cars, candelabras and books, but it was hard to imagine that a toilet seat would enjoy the same cache.

Used toilet seats may refer to ones that somebody has ordered and then returned for whatever reason but somewhere between the ordered part and the returned for whatever reason part is what proves troubling: You bought the item and returned the item. What was it that you didn’t like about it and when was it that you discovered that you didn’t like it?

The toilet seat arrived a few days ago. Installing it required either lying on one’s back with one’s head wedged between the sink and the toilet or dropping to one’s knees, embracing the toilet and fastening the gaskets and bolts blind.

The seat is installed, invisible and worth every penny of its $19.99 price tag.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or (661) 395-7279.

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