Sometimes we just give ourselves away without intending to. This is the idea behind the projective techniques; as the psychoanalytically-inclined individuals have suggested, whether it's through responses to inkblots or making up stories to pictures, or performance on drawing tasks. In each case, if there's ambiguity, the personality may be injected into a person's responses. It impressed me lately that how people respond to and use toilet paper (TP) may be one of these projective occasions. Consider: this necessary product is marketed in a number of forms: one-ply, two-ply, colored, patterned, and so forth. Also, some people have definite views of how the paper in roll form is to be displayed. Then, toilet paper (TP) has been pressed into service as a nocturnal decorative item, as a fashion accessory, as a simple wipe, as well as in other ways. If psychologists are to get a complete understanding of homo sapiens, including discovering that in some cases we are sapiens, it is necessary to consider these finer points as well. Very clearly, toilet paper constitutes a type of adaptation: whether based on natural selection or social progress has not been fully delineated.
Undoubtedly, future research will reveal this. However, I think that the cause of the assessment of personality through personal TP use might be furthered by specific hypotheses. Accordingly, I offer the following:
1) Preference for one-ply, institutional stock TP should be associated with a practical, no-nonsense outlook that is somewhat penurious and does not engage in self-indulgence. Therefore, the one-ply users tend to be hurried, insensitive to nuances, and are not likely to indulge in long bubble baths. Those who select the coarsest institutional tissues would have worn hair shirts during lent and are probably very inclined to engage in excessive exercise.
2) Two-ply users are comfort lovers who indulge themselves. Two-ply women should favor spa treatments, pretty lingerie, Sephora, chocolate, and bunny slippers.
3) Users who employ only white TP paper may be cost-conscious; or they might be obsessed with matters of hygiene or even chastity. They are inclined to be introverted.
4) Colored TP users would tend to be narcissistic or artistic. Those who prefer their TP in bold colors should also tend to be extraverted.
5) Patterned TP users are high in openness to experience. Those who enjoy toilet paper with witty sayings are irreverend; while those whose legible TP has adages on it probably tend towards conservatism.
6) Users who stuff their bras with TP either either have anxieties regarding perceptions of their bodies, or they live in third-world countries where often there is a shortage of TP in public facilities.
7) We should address the "over-the-roll" versus "under-the-roll" issue. Those who express a strong preference for "over-the-roll" placement are conformists and are high in conscientiousness. The "under-the-roll" individuals may be feckless, radical, or even psychopathic. The people who have "no preference" may be high in agreeableness; or they are simply wishy-washy. P ersons who express very strong preferences in either direction are probably self-righteous habitués of MSNBC or FoxNews: they are not loath to express their loathsome opinions unbidden and are the primary source of chronic buttocks pain.
8) TP nocturnal decorators are individuals who are high both in extraversion and neuroticism, but low in agreeableness and conscientiousness. Police officers should be advised that this is an age-limited disorder.
Keep these hypotheses in mind: they can lead to a research career in personality research. Furthmore, any significant results are sure be be picked up widely by credulous mainstream print or televised sources, leading one to the exalted status of being a psychological pundit.
Hmmm . . . . I better get a sexy new lab coat to enhance my image before I start this research.
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