Fact Check

Woman Stuck to Painted Toilet Seat

A woman stuck to a toilet seat provides a physician with an opportunity for the perfect bon mot.

 (Getty Images / Bernard Van Berg / EyeEm )
Image Via Getty Images / Bernard Van Berg / EyeEm
A woman stuck to a toilet seat provides a physician with an opportunity for the perfect bon mot.

As often happens in the genre of contemporary lore, jokes become told as "this really happened" tales. The presence of a powerful punchline is a sure sign of the origin of this legend -- in real life, people don't come up with the perfect rejoinder on the spot.

[Playboy, 1954]

A few friends had gathered in Bob's basement rec room for an evening of drinks and dancing. With the party in full swing, one of the girls excused herself to go to the john. This room, it seems, had been newly painted in a charming pastel blue; it was supposed to be a fast-drying enamel, but it hadn't dried fast enough, and the young lady found herself stuck. Her shrieks brought Joe's girl friend, who, unable to do anything about the situation herself, summoned Joe. After several minutes of uncontrolled laughter, Joe managed to produce a screw driver and detach the thing, permitting the girl to stand up. But they still couldn't get it off, so they called a doctor.

"Did you ever see anything like this before, doctor?" the girl asked in embarrassment when the M.D. arrived.

"Well, yes," the doctor replied truthfully, "but I believe this is the first time I've ever seen one framed."


[Elgart, 1951]

The crowd had gathered that evening for no particular reason and were down in Joe's basement recreation room when the subject of conversation got around to most embarrassing moments.

"One time I went to visit friends," said one of the wives, "and during the course of the evening found it necessary to go to powder my nose. Now my friend had just redecorated her bathroom with a delightful new color scheme in that new, supposed to be fast drying, glossy plastic enamel. Only this batch didn't seem to have dried fast enough and I found myself stuck. I screamed and in came my friend. She could do nothing and much to my embarrassment, she called to her husband, who at least was able to remove the screws and detach the thing so I could stand up. But we couldn't get it off, so they called the doctor.

'Did you ever see anything like this before?' the doctor was asked when he arrived.

'Yes,' the doc replied, 'but this is the first time I ever saw one framed.'"

The "First time I've seen one framed" anecdote appears on a printed novelty card of the 1940s, but no matter how old the legend, it can always be modernized. Here's an example of such modernization from 1994, wherein the paint has become superglue:

A professor who used a public lavatory in Nottingham found that he could not remove himself from the seat. After making suitable efforts and wondering what he should do, he called the attendant who, once he had broken down the door, ascertained that the professor was stuck to the seat with superglue — the work of vandals. A mechanic was called in to unscrew the seat, and then an ambulance to take the prof and the seat to hospital. When the ambulance men arrived they laughed so much that they dropped the stretcher, causing the professor to further suffer a broken leg.

The "dropped stretcher" motif (porters laugh so hard they drop the patient, causing further injury) completes two other legends, the Hind-Lick Maneuver (dog cold-noses naked man in his genitals) and the venerable Blew Moon (wife throws flammable substance into toilet, unsuspecting husband seats himself on the throne, lights a cigarette, and things blow up).

Update:   In November 2005, Bob Dougherty instigated a lawsuit against a Home Depot in Louisville, Colorado, over the failure of its employees to free him in a timely manner when he sat on a glue-laden toilet seat in October 2003. Doubt has been cast on the authenticity of his claim by a Nederland, Colorado, town official who maintains Dougherty reported a similar incident in the town's visitors center bathroom in 2004.

In 2013 an incident of a superglued toilet seat was reported in Commerce, Georgia. At the Bank's Crossing Home Depot, an unnamed woman had to be removed by emergency medical services personnel from a toilet seat in that store's restroom. The woman was taken to a Gainesville hospital for treatment. Upon investigation, all the toilet seats in that restroom were discovered to have a glue-like substance upon them, and a brown paper sack containing a bottle of Loctite GO2 glue was found in that room.


Brunvand, Jan Harold.   Too Good to Be True     New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.   ISBN 0-393-04734-2   (pp. 372-373).

Dale, Rodney.   It's True .... It Happened to a Friend.     London: Gerald Duckworth & Co., 1984.   ISBN 0-7156-1759-1   (p. 82).

Elgart, J.M.   Over Sexteen.     New York: Grayson Publishing, 1951   (p. 161).

Langbein, Sarah.   "A Second Sticky Toilet Seat."     Rocky Mountain News.   8 November 2005.

Legman, G.   Rationale of the Dirty Joke: Second Series.     New York: Breaking Point, 1975.   (p. 831).

Associated Press.   "Customer Glued to Toilet Seat Sues Home Depot."     3 November 2005.

Commerce News Today.   "Woman Glued to Toilet Seat at Home Depot."     4 December 2013.

Playboy.   "Party Jokes."     April 1954   (p. 34).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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