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Four out of Five People Wash Their Hands.
December 20, 2007 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Four out of Five People Wash Their Hands. Don't be that Fifth Guy. While you're at it, cover your mouth when you cough and stay home when you're sick. Really, how many times do we have to tell you? Wash. Your. Hands. Seriously.

Who's the Fifth Guy? "The Florida Department of Health set out to prepare people for the potential of a flu pandemic, but they faced a tough challenge: No pandemic on the horizon ... Then they built the campaign around what does matter to people: Fitting in."*
posted by grabbingsand (155 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
and stay home when you're sick.

There seems to be some problem with this related page.
posted by cortex at 12:53 PM on December 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


The best way to cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze is to do it into the inside of your elbow. You don't use your elbow to open doors, shake hands or eat, so even if you don't have a tissue handy you can still sneeze or cough without spreading germs.
posted by Doohickie at 12:58 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is the fifth guy George Martin? ‘Cause he was just filthy.
Neil Aspinall washed his hands all the time though.

So...is today ob/com day or something?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:59 PM on December 20, 2007


That 5th guy is probably also the same one not flushing the damn urinal when he's done with it.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:04 PM on December 20, 2007


I have a co-worker with this problem(s). What has always struck me odd is that this person is a very upright, well-mannered, highly educated person from a very wealthy family of local repute. Nonetheless this person coughs with their mouth open, sneezes freely and is in and out of the washroom way too fast to be properly (if at all) washing their hands.

And yes, many people show up to my workplace while sick in order to not get fired. It's like a damned kindergarten around here - everyone always gets the same sickness at the same time. I do bet, however, that we will all survive the coming superflu that is due top wipe out 2/3rds the population because of our over-worked immune systems.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:06 PM on December 20, 2007


Two Brooklyn posts in a row, now two hand-washing posts in a row. What will be the third?
posted by itchylick at 1:07 PM on December 20, 2007


two other obvious points: sex and shellfish. having sex is just asking for it. vaginas are incredibly scary things, small primeval swamps full of yeast, don't you stick your nice clean dick in there! don't get me started on shellfish. that scampi you had last night? it was caught in a faraway place like singapore, and it spent two hours in the trunk of singapore guy's car before it was loaded on the plane to where you are. you don't know what else has been in that trunk, could be monkeymeat, rotting corpses even. don't eat shellfish unless you caught it yourself!
posted by bruce at 1:07 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


At my school they just taught us not to pee on our hands.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:08 PM on December 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


Are you insane? Who the hell are you sleeping with? I almost lost my lunch.
posted by wfc123 at 1:09 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


The best way to cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze is to do it into the inside of your elbow. You don't use your elbow to open doors, shake hands or eat, so even if you don't have a tissue handy you can still sneeze or cough without spreading germs.

Damn. I wish I had thought of this! Up until now I have been sneezing into my crotch. Mostly because I can.

That 5th guy is probably also the same one not flushing the damn urinal when he's done with it.

That, combined with being hung like a horse and being able to urinate without manual control, is why he doesn't need to wash his hands.
posted by srboisvert at 1:11 PM on December 20, 2007 [8 favorites]


Some hassatt co-worker just gave my s/o (and then me by proxy) the pinkeye via coffee-maker transmission. The workplace that never lets their guys go home on the weekends is the place that'll make them come in when they have the whooping cough.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:13 PM on December 20, 2007


At my school they just taught us not to pee on our hands.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:08 PM on December 20 [+] [!] No other comments.

Are you insane? Who the hell are you sleeping with? I almost lost my lunch.
posted by wfc123 at 4:09 PM on December 20 [+] [!] No other comments.

I love moments like these.
posted by turaho at 1:15 PM on December 20, 2007


OK. Could someone from the Department of Total Germ Paranoia come tell the sixth guy that if he must open the door to the bathroom with a paper towel (presumably to protect himself from the fifth guy) to not drop said paper towel as he walks out, leaving the towel in the corner formed by the bathroom door and the wall. His little pile grows anew daily.
posted by shothotbot at 1:20 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


JaredSeth, lots of folks don't flush urinals in order to conserve water. Heck, Georgia apparently recently had a whole "if it's yellow, let it mellow" PSA campaign.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:21 PM on December 20, 2007


I love moments like these.

I love people who don't understand sarcasm when they see it.
posted by wfc123 at 1:22 PM on December 20, 2007


Seriously, if you are sick DO NOT GO TO WORK!! Now I am spending two boring days at home because one person from work came very ill last week and spread whatever he had. People, STAY AT HOME!!
posted by dov3 at 1:22 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I smear shit everywhere I go, just out of spite for germ freaks. And it's not even my shit.

It's the quidnunc kid's.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 1:27 PM on December 20, 2007 [7 favorites]


What I find amusing is the number of people here who seem to know ,with complete certainly, when and where they got an illness.
posted by srboisvert at 1:28 PM on December 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


That 5th guy is probably also the same one not flushing the damn urinal when he's done with it.

Heaven forfend there should be urine in that urinal.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:30 PM on December 20, 2007


dov3 writes "People, STAY AT HOME!!"

Hi , I am your boss and from my iacuzi at home I do approve of your health concerns. Please remember me to bill you for lost business, not my fault if you get sick.
posted by elpapacito at 1:30 PM on December 20, 2007


I find it more amusing to track the spread of my illness after showing up to the office sneezing and vomiting everywhere. I've yet to achieve the coveted "ghost town" effect.
posted by owtytrof at 1:33 PM on December 20, 2007


two other obvious points: sex and shellfish. having sex is just asking for it. vaginas are incredibly scary things

Right. We're all named Bruce, then.
posted by loquacious at 1:38 PM on December 20, 2007


I once washed a man just to see him dry!
posted by doctorschlock at 1:43 PM on December 20, 2007 [8 favorites]


two other obvious points: sex and shellfish. having sex is just asking for it. vaginas are incredibly scary things, small primeval swamps full of yeast, don't you stick your nice clean dick in there! don't get me started on shellfish. that scampi you had last night? it was caught in a faraway place like singapore, and it spent two hours in the trunk of singapore guy's car before it was loaded on the plane to where you are. you don't know what else has been in that trunk, could be monkeymeat, rotting corpses even. don't eat shellfish unless you caught it yourself!

And God help you if you fuck that shrimp.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:47 PM on December 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


sometimes my penis is cleaner than the bathroom.
posted by CrazyJoel at 1:48 PM on December 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


Good Lord, when did people become such sissies about germs? A little uncleanliness keeps your immune system on its toes.
posted by rhymer at 1:48 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't worry at the urine in the urinal for the urine's sake, I worry about the health of that guy. I mean, a healthy person shouldn't be able to produce a smell like that.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:50 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


at my school they taught me to pee on other people's hands so that they'll go and wash their god damn hands.
posted by shmegegge at 1:53 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


wfc123: are you insane?

i have no idea, but this question has been raised in real life occasionally.

i almost lost my lunch.

not. quite. good. enough. i won't count myself a successful mefi commenter until i can get people to barf on their office keyboards. now barf for me, brothas and sistahs, barf, barf, barf!

looks like loquacious didn't get it either. for the record, i'm not really afraid of vaginas, small primeval swamps and all, but i do like doing comic riffs against the germaphobes. my thanks to o.p. grabbingsand for providing this opportunity.
posted by bruce at 1:54 PM on December 20, 2007


You know who else hated shrimp?

That's right. God.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 1:57 PM on December 20, 2007


Could the people who spray Lysol or air freshners while *freaking out* about all of the OBVIOUSLY SICK PEOPLE please pay attention: I wasn't lying about my allergies. And you're making me sneeze. This annoys both of us.

Also, to my co-worker who was putting on her makeup and generally dawdling in front of the bathroom mirror who gave me the evil eye last week when I ducked into the bathroom stall for a second to adjust my pantyhose: Mind your own business. Jesus.
posted by desuetude at 2:00 PM on December 20, 2007


robocop is bleeding exhorts us not to fuck the shrimp. apparently he wasn't paying attention about a week ago to the fpp about english signs in chinese groceries, which taught us that, at least in china, the shrimp is fucking the cabbage. i have some pride, i'll have you know, and there is no way i'd take sloppy seconds after a cabbage!
posted by bruce at 2:01 PM on December 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


And God help you if you fuck that shrimp.

And god fuck you if you shrimp the help!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:01 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Stay at home when I'm sick? And miss out on the bonus vacation days I'd get if I didn't take any sick days?

OK, my workplace doesn't offer this, but I know of several that do. It's just a WTF? world.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 2:06 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


sometimes my penis is cleaner than the bathroom

my penis is *always* cleaner than the bathroom. why do i need to wash my hands after peeing?

I fully support washing your hands a few times a day. 2-3 most, depending on how dirty they get. After peeing? I don't see a need, unless of course you like to stick your finger up your ass while you pee.

Most importantly, wash your hands after touching a dog. Your pet is definitely dirtier than my penis.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:11 PM on December 20, 2007


You're totally right about that, bruce. You fuck a cabbage's shrimp and next thing you know, the cabbage has driven its Trans-Am up onto your lawn. It lurks out there, backed up by its spinach and broccoli buddies calling for you to come out and face it like a man.

"Let it go and come back to bed," the shrimp purrs. But you can't. You know you can't. I mean, you broke the Guy Code, and you have to go out and face the consequences. The shrimp doesn't understand and tries to tempt you back under the covers, but your mind is made up.

You go outside.

Later, when you come back in - bruised, bloody, but triumphant - you look at yourself in the bathroom mirror as you wash your hands. You wonder what you have become, if this is your life now, a shrimp-fucking cabbage-fighter.

But then the shrimp is calling again and you sigh. You've come too far now. So you get back into bed and turn out the light.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:11 PM on December 20, 2007 [26 favorites]


In other words, this is more about shaming people who don't follow convention. Very high school.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:15 PM on December 20, 2007


my penis is *always* cleaner than the bathroom. why do i need to wash my hands after peeing?

because when you're done touching your penis, you're touching the flusher of a urinal or toilet that has been touched by guys whose penises are not cleaner than the bathroom after they've been touching their penises.
posted by shmegegge at 2:15 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


You can wash and wash..but you can't get the blood off. They got what you call stick blood-hounds.
posted by doctorschlock at 2:16 PM on December 20, 2007


Talk to the hand.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:17 PM on December 20, 2007


This again? It's pretty simple to me. Wash your hands so that you don't spread your ass/penis juice to random surfaces that children/elderly/others touch. I should be able to open a door without touching your penis. I don't care that you don't mind touching your balls and penis, picking your pubic hair or whatever else you do in the bathroom.

But why should I have to get your sweaty ball juice on my hands when I open a door, when I pick up a phone in a breakroom, when I touch a microwave pad or a refrigerator door, or a vending machine?

Have some common courtesy and wash your hands for the same reason you don't sit at your office in a speedo. Because nobody wants to be forced to make contact (eye, hand or otherwise) with your 'nads.
posted by cashman at 2:18 PM on December 20, 2007 [10 favorites]


So you get back into bed and turn out the light.

Look if you've crossed the line into shrimp-fucking cabbage fighting you leave the light ON. I mean. Why be ashamed of it now?
posted by tkchrist at 2:22 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I should be able to open a door without touching your penis.

Not in a perfect world.

A perfect world run by my penis.
posted by tkchrist at 2:23 PM on December 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


I used to work with a guy who refused to flush the urinal with his hand. Just too icky for him. He would instead just kick the flush toggle with his foot. I was like, great, your hands are clean, but the next person who flushes that urinal will get everyone else's hand germs plus the bacteria that was feasting on whatever fecal matter you stepped in on your way here.

What a prick.
posted by psmealey at 2:23 PM on December 20, 2007


What a prick.

Ask to use his cell phone. Then take off your shoes and attempt to dial the number with your toes.
posted by tkchrist at 2:26 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Judging by every public bathroom I've been in, it's a hell of a lot more than one in five that don't wash their hands. I think it's more important to shame the people who completely miss the urinal and piss all over the floor.
posted by stavrogin at 2:30 PM on December 20, 2007


Strategies that depend on other people doing the right thing are likely to fail.

Take 2000 IU of vitamin D, two or three Cold-Eze (or the equivalent) for the zinc, and a gram or two of vitamin C every day. Use hand sanitizers liberally. Also, be a misanthrope. Works for me, so far. (I am not a physician, this is not medical advice, etc.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:31 PM on December 20, 2007


You wonder what you have become, if this is your life now, a shrimp-fucking cabbage-fighter.

I have my new favorite insult.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:34 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I pee directly on my hands. Urine is sterile and cleaner then the sink handle and doorknob.

Germophobes unite!
posted by andryeevna at 2:41 PM on December 20, 2007


Just think about all those people that came before you at the salad bar.
posted by doctorschlock at 2:45 PM on December 20, 2007


The thing that amazes me is how many men are adamant about not washing their hands after using the bathroom. Is washing your hands occaisonally really that horrible? It's not germaphobic to practice basic established hygenie practices.
posted by agregoli at 2:48 PM on December 20, 2007


*sticks dick in mashed potatoes, washes hands dutifully after*
posted by cortex at 2:53 PM on December 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


so it's THAT kind of a party.
posted by shmegegge at 2:55 PM on December 20, 2007


GERMS! Apply directly to the forehead! Apply directly to the forehead!
posted by doctorschlock at 2:57 PM on December 20, 2007


for the record, i'm not really afraid of vaginas, small primeval swamps and all

What are you, 12? It's okay, though - you may not be afraid of the small primeval swamps known as vaginas, but I have it on good authority that they're afraid of you.
posted by item at 2:58 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish Crabby Appleton would pee on my hands; from the sound of it his pee has about $10 worth of vitamins per go in it.

The life of ID agents, trying to get god-damn doctors to wash their hands every time. Wish I was kidding.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:58 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just think about all those people that came before you at the salad bar.

So . . . that's not ranch dressing?
posted by Skot at 3:01 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Where's the OCD tag?

*washes hands*

Where's the OCD tag?

*washes hands*
posted by three blind mice at 3:08 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


One in twenty among adult males wash after a whizz here in Korea, is my observation.

However the urinals all have some kind of laser guided autoflushing which means yay no hands! but boo wasted water, so it's pretty much a wash there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:10 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Urine is sterile

Myth.
posted by srboisvert at 3:11 PM on December 20, 2007


Dude, I HAVE OCD. Washing your hands once after you use the restroom ain't it, trust me.

(And why is OCD made light of so often, I muse thoughtfully? I notice it all the time, and people often seem to use it in a casual sense too, like "I'm OCD about putting my files in order.")
posted by agregoli at 3:11 PM on December 20, 2007


people do the same thing about ADD, psychosis, schizophrenia and paranoia. I don't know why. I'd bet there's a psychology paper on it somewhere, though.
posted by shmegegge at 3:14 PM on December 20, 2007


I have to tell a ver disgusting but appropriate story. God of Metafilter forgive me. I hope you have not had lunch.

I used to be much a much more freaked out germophobe than I am now. Though I am still compulsively tidy just not as bad as I used to be.

I think it was doing Jiu Jitsu that cured it.

Rolling around on filthy mats getting tea bagged by dudes who only see this side of a shower maybe twice a week pretty much callouses you to getting grossed out. But it takes a while.

At first I used to tap out JUST becuase I was getting so grossed out. People thought they were bad asses. But it was usually because some dudes hairy belly sweat was dripping to my mouth and I thought I was gonna puke. But I had to hide this fact so as not appear a complete pussy. I thought I was the ONLY one who felt this way. I was wrong as you will see.

Getting things like ringworm or staff are not unheard of if you shower right after you don't usually have that problem. It wasn't that. It's being exposed unwillingly to the juices of other men, men who are not always conscientious of how well they bathe, that gets you.

The school we used to roll at the mats were also used for the stand up classes. So that meant bare feet and worse - shoes on the mats. Supposedly NO street shoes. Supposedly. Traditionally you clean the mats religiously. But sometimes the other instructors got lazy and would let it go. We would do a quick towel off before rolling. But that is not enough.

So one time I am rolling (free sparring on the ground). I notice that mat is particularly revolting. There is dirt and WORSE... hair... not just hair, and we don't say this word in BJJ because it freaks people out, PUBIC hair. Off of legs. Off everywhere. This is nothing that new so I just keep going. As you roll your gi makes you sweat buckets. So you're sticky. After we'd rolled for about five ten minutes we switch up. We start on our knees and face out partners.

And that is when I see it. Stuck to the side of my partners face is a huge frigg'n hairy scab. The size of a fifty cent piece.

I felt like I was caught in the light of an on coming train. I couldn't move. I could scream anywhere but in my germophobe mind. It echoes in there let me tell you.

"What?" He says.

I just point.

He reaches up and the scab sticks to his fingers and he looks at it. Not realizing what it was at first. After all it looked like a hairy spider. A WET hairy spider. A giant wet hairy spider. Then he realizes something.

It is not his scab.

And then this 180lb grappler squeals like a ten year old girl. And so do I. And we both run off the mat like it's on fire and we are covered in bees.

"oh god. oh god. oh god.oh god.oh god.oh god."

The instructor goes"What?"

We point. Then he goes...

"JESUS FUCKING KEEE-RIST!"

And he jumps off the mat. Then everybody does.

After that people not washing their hands doesn't faze me all that much.
posted by tkchrist at 3:16 PM on December 20, 2007 [20 favorites]


people do the same thing about ADD, psychosis, schizophrenia and paranoia. I don't know why. I'd bet there's a psychology paper on it somewhere, though.

Be interesting if there was. I find it really odd that these things are taken so lightly. I guess I'll take it as that person is blessed without any mental illness in their sphere of experience.
posted by agregoli at 3:19 PM on December 20, 2007


Is washing your hands occaisonally really that horrible?

It is for the germs that live on my hands.

I've grown quite fond of them, so much so that I've named them all; This one is Steve, and here is Mike, and then there is Sally (she's a bit crabby today, here and Bob just split up) and of course I can't forget about Alex and James, or Suzy and Diane, oh and of course, there is Matt. Crazy ass little germ, that one is.

You would be surprised how difficult it is to keep them all straight, at first. But in time they all become like unique little buddies.

I'll be honest though, I'm a little worried about William, he has been acting weird all week. I think he may be thinking about mutating into something virulent, but it's hard to tell, he's moody at the best of times.

Hopefully he won't kill us all.
posted by quin at 3:21 PM on December 20, 2007


I think it's more important to shame the people who completely miss the urinal and piss all over the floor.

Screw that. I want to punch that guy in the face who pisses all over the fuckin toilet seat so I get to sit on his yummy fluids. THAT pisses me off.
PUT THE DAMN TOILET SEAT UP IF YOU GOING TO PISS STANDING UP.
posted by jmd82 at 3:27 PM on December 20, 2007


I just figure if you're so freaking germaphobic that you're going to scrub your hands after you touch your own dick, you might as well flush the urinal before you do. And come off it, it's not water conservation they're worried about...it's that bubonic plague they're going to get from touching the handle, amirite?

Oh and OCD sufferers, I wash my hands maybe twice a day and not necessarily every time I pee. Haven't had more than a damn cold, much less anything more serious, in over a decade. Man up, Nancy!
posted by JaredSeth at 3:27 PM on December 20, 2007


you know, tkchrist, that scab could have come off of somebody's freshly healing hemorrhoids. if you're doing martial arts grappling on mats, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that those mats are steeped in anal secretions.
posted by bruce at 3:28 PM on December 20, 2007


Out damned spot! out, I say! Here's the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 3:31 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


ANAL SECRETIONS, people.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 3:31 PM on December 20, 2007


I used to work with a guy who refused to flush the urinal with his hand. Just too icky for him. He would instead just kick the flush toggle with his foot. I was like, great, your hands are clean, but the next person who flushes that urinal will get everyone else's hand germs plus the bacteria that was feasting on whatever fecal matter you stepped in on your way here.

Huh. I thought that those public-toilet handles were designed to be flushed by one's foot. But now that I think about it, flushing the toilet with your foot would probably be hard on someone who wasn't double-jointed and able to stand on one foot for minutes at a time. You learn something new every day!

My apologies go out to all of my less flexible sisters for the years and years of extra cooties I made you touch.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 3:33 PM on December 20, 2007



you know, tkchrist, that scab could have come off of somebody's freshly healing hemorrhoids. if you're doing martial arts grappling on mats, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that those mats are steeped in anal secretions.

Please don't ever mention that again. It's not outside the realm of possibility for me to acquire a neutron bomb a cleans this planet of all anal secretions once and for all.
posted by tkchrist at 3:37 PM on December 20, 2007


Whenever you flush the toilet or the urinal, some of the water, mixed with urine and who-knows-whatelse, goes airborne as tiny water droplets, filling the room.
How long can you hold your breath while you're washing those hands of yours?
posted by rocket88 at 3:39 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


this commentthread is diverging, unfortunately in my opinion, toward a repugnancy to male bodyjuices. in the interest of gender-evenhandedness and blocking (cockblocking, if you prefer) a boyzone, i propose that we also take female bodyjuices into account. i'll start it off with "is it enough to wipe your chin with the back of your hand after cunnilingus, or is a tissue dabbed in rubbing alcohol more suitable?"
posted by bruce at 3:39 PM on December 20, 2007


In honor of this post, I went to the bathroom and washed my hands. Twice.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:42 PM on December 20, 2007


> After peeing? I don't see a need

Because there's piss, shit, snot, blood, pubic hair, and who knows what else all over public bathrooms, not to mention all the bacteria and viruses. People are shaking their dicks and wiping their asses and then touching the faucets and door handles and all the doors between the bathroom and their destinations. You, next in line, touch the same surfaces, get it on your hands, and then transfer it to your mouth, eyes, and nose, as well as to other surfaces. And you help to spread diseases such as the flu to people who are more vulnerable than you are: kids, sick people, and old people. Admirable.

If you're honestly in favor of washing your hands a few times a day, why the hell not after using the bathroom? It takes a few seconds.

NY Times recently
:
Doorknobs, bathroom faucets and toilet flush handles are key sources of germ transmission in the home. That’s why people should focus on cleaning such surfaces regularly and always wash hands after touching them. In one study, a volunteer touched a door handle that had been contaminated with a virus. He then shook hands with other volunteers, and further tests showed he had spread the virus to six people. [...]

While it may be hard to believe that something as simple as regular hand washing can make a difference in your family’s health, consider what happened in Hong Kong during a 2003 outbreak of SARS, a severe and potentially deadly form of viral pneumonia. The outbreak triggered extensive public and community health measures promoting basic hygiene, including regular hand washing. Not only was the SARS outbreak contained, but other cases of respiratory illnesses, including the flu, dropped sharply.
posted by pracowity at 3:43 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


There is no olestra in Jiu Jitsu.
posted by maxwelton at 3:44 PM on December 20, 2007


my penis is *always* cleaner than the bathroom. why do i need to wash my hands after peeing?

because when you're done touching your penis, you're touching the flusher of a urinal or toilet that has been touched by guys whose penises are not cleaner than the bathroom after they've been touching their penises.


not if I don't flush the urinal. if it's yellow, let it mellow ...

is it enough to wipe your chin with the back of your hand after cunnilingus, or is a tissue dabbed in rubbing alcohol more suitable

Wiping your face on the woman's thigh is the conventional cleaning procedure.

Whenever you flush the toilet or the urinal, some of the water, mixed with urine and who-knows-whatelse, goes airborne as tiny water droplets, filling the room.

Exactly why you shouldn't flush urinals. Anything within 8 feet is as good as in the bowl.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:46 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


you might not need to wash up "down there" as much if you sat on senator larry craig's face for five minutes before leaving your stall.
posted by bruce at 3:47 PM on December 20, 2007


Doohickie: The best way to cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze is to do it into the inside of your elbow. You don't use your elbow to open doors, shake hands or eat, so even if you don't have a tissue handy you can still sneeze or cough without spreading germs.

QFT, and really folks, it isn't at all nasty, even in short sleeves.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:07 PM on December 20, 2007


and a quote from the stand-up (and surprisingly flexible) philosopher Rita Rudner, on Man and the WC: "If they hit anything, they think they've done a good job."
posted by hexatron at 4:10 PM on December 20, 2007


vaginas are incredibly scary things, small primeval swamps full of yeast,
Er bruce, my vagina is afraid of you. The vaginas I know are nothing like that. They are all quite clean and well mannered.
posted by pywacket at 4:14 PM on December 20, 2007


"Good Lord, when did people become such sissies about germs? A little uncleanliness keeps your immune system on its toes.'


You are right.

Ever been to the beach? You know how no matter what you do, or how well you rinse off, there is still sand in your hair or in the crack of your ass? Bathroom germs are like this times literally a billion. Washing your hands is fantastic and all, but don't think it actually protects you in any way... you have been exposed mr Hughes.
posted by hatchetjack at 4:18 PM on December 20, 2007


Whenever you smell an odor, that is streams of airborne molecules of the thing you are smelling entering your nose.

So if you smell shit, the shit is in your nose.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 4:19 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I used to get sick - cold, URI, bronchitis - at least twice every year, sometimes three or four times. Then I began to get serious about washing my hands -- a dozen times a day, usually, and if not available, then I would use the gel stuff.

I have now gone for just over four years without being sick. Haven't missed a day of work from illness.

It's awesome.
posted by davidmsc at 4:20 PM on December 20, 2007


Wild monkeys pick things off one another regularly. Sometimes they eat what they find on each other. We freak out over noseeums on the toilet seat. ...and we think we're smarter?

I won't say where or when, but this did happen to me at some point in my adult life.

I walk in to use the stall, and someone has peed all over the seat.

We're not saying it's a couple drops here or there. Someone didn't accidentally miss.

The seat is still dripping when I approached it, and there's urine around it on the floor as well. It's like he purposefully peed AROUND the toilet bowl in a circle. Twice.

Fortunately, the stall next to that one was available, and ..dry.

That experience lingers. I exit the bathroom after having diligently washed my hands, and the realization hits me. This isn't exactly a public bathroom. I work on a floor that's security monitored in a building that you have to use a keycard to enter. Then there's a keycard that opens the door to the offices on the floor where I work. I can't go to just any floor to use the bathroom: only the floors where my keycard works.

Someone on this floor peed on that seat.

Men in respectable work clothes. Some of them in suits. Somebody I may pass by every day in the hall. I have probably shaken this guy's hand. Someone I've bantered television trivia with around the water cooler.

Not some drunk guy in a baseball stadium of tens of thousands of people. Not in some dingy gas station restroom with a bar of lava soap on the sink that hasn't been cleaned in years. We're talking about a high class restroom here, that's routinely checked by the building's employees; perhaps twice a day it's cleaned by a staff of people hired specifically to keep the building clean. One of maybe a hundred people. A guy with a face I've seen and would recognize, peed on that seat.

With relish. He AIMED for it.

This I could shake off if it happened once. I worked at that place for awhile. It happened multiple times. I'd walk in, and the seat would be wet. Not always the same stall. Not always the same restroom. We had more than one on that floor.

It's like he was marking his territory. I shit you not.

And what do you do about that? Do you post a mass mail to the floor asking people to please clean up after themselves in the bathroom? No. You do nothing. There's nothing to be done. the Masked Urine Man Strikes Again, and there's no long arm of the law that will stop his rampage.

That experience lingers, and I can never be ...I don't know how clean any toilet seat actually is.

It might just look dry but be covered in germs. Short of bringing a bottle of Windex with me wherever I go or calling up a Wiccan friend to help me ward off the bad spirits, at this point I'm mostly about whether or not it's gonna be wet when I sit on it. I'm assuming I'm getting the world's germs on my ass every time I sit down.

You either run around in circles like a crazy person repeating "ew gross" to yourself until they bring the white coats, or you just accept the fact that if we can't win the War Against 'Terror' or the War Against Drugs ...germs really got nothing to worry about.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:22 PM on December 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


i stand rebuked by an internet vagina expert! one quick question: just how many vaginas do you know?
posted by bruce at 4:24 PM on December 20, 2007


Other than Vagina Woolf, 3.
posted by rasputin400 at 4:29 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Zachsmind: this is a time for AN OPEN LETTER TO WOMEN WHO WON'T SIT DOWN. Except gender-switched, obv.
posted by subbes at 4:33 PM on December 20, 2007


...In one study, a volunteer touched a door handle that had been contaminated with a virus. He then shook hands with other volunteers, and further tests showed he had spread the virus to six people...

In my opinion, the bigger problem is not door handles but that gross custom that requires that when we meet someone we exchange all the germs on our hands. The japanese have this one figured out.
posted by vacapinta at 4:34 PM on December 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


I went to an office christmas party this week. We were all sitting at a long table in a restaurant when fuckhead who was away sick came in to spread some christmas germs. He went from chair to chair clutching a tissue and wishing each of us well for the holiday.

When he left the person next to me tuned and said, 'wow, what a cunt'.
posted by mattoxic at 4:39 PM on December 20, 2007


Actually Subbes, no it was not. It was a very 'he who smelt it dealt it' kinda work environment. I woulda been 'that' guy. The guy who brought it up, which woulda been bad. I just kept my head down and tried not to be noticed. Thankfully I don't work there anymore, but other jobs since haven't been much better.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:43 PM on December 20, 2007


zachsmind, I worked with that guy too. He even once left an actual dook on the seat. Not a smear where he'd missed and done a bad wipe up job, nope a big ole log. I had to go to our receptionist to break the news that we needed a special visit from building maint because we worked with someone who'd shit on the seat.
posted by nomisxid at 4:45 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The reasons I wash my hands when I go to the bathroom are:

1) It's a good thing to wash your hands regularly, and
2) Might as well do it while you're in the bathroom, then.

If the rest of the world was as clean and fresh-smelling as my genitals, I might not feel the need.
posted by teleskiving at 5:04 PM on December 20, 2007


The only time my hands get washed is during my daily shower...and I never get sick. I come into contact with at least a hundred different people everyday.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:05 PM on December 20, 2007


Years ago I met a few celebrities through my job who were DEFINITELY the fifth guy. And I mean, BAD. But I understood it, because when someone has spent their life with everyone fawning over them no matter what, it's amazing how the little things that are expected of a normal human being can just slide right out of a person's behavior. No matter what they did, nobody ever reacted negatively so they had no reason to be introspective or work on their faults. They probably didn't even realize they were grossing people out. Why would they?

Social skills are for the little people.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:22 PM on December 20, 2007


note to self: don't touch MaryDellamorte
posted by davejay at 5:24 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


All the way to 95 comments and didn't see this. Two words: coliform bacteria.
posted by psyche7 at 5:30 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's what I know to be true: the more frequently I wash my hands and especially before eating, the less frequently I am ill.

Ergo, I'll continue to wash.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:33 PM on December 20, 2007


if you offer your hand to a stranger, you implicitly consent to having your fingers washed in penis juice and/or vagina juice. don't like it? don't offer your hand, asshole. human beings are walking petri dishes - there is no way to interact with other biological creatures and not expose yourself to germs.

take ALL your crazy pills, people. not just the grape-flavored flintstone ones.
posted by mr_book at 5:34 PM on December 20, 2007


A few years ago some anthropology grad students at Tulane spent the week in a men's room at a convention of Medical Doctors in New Orleans to see how many of the badged M.D.'s washed their hands after voiding. They counted about 2/3, not 4/5. I don't remember whether they were foot doctors or internists or what, but I recall being very very grateful they weren't _surgeons_.
posted by bukvich at 6:52 PM on December 20, 2007


The only time my hands get washed is during my daily shower...and I never get sick. I come into contact with at least a hundred different people everyday.

Wow. And your profile says you are a bartender, too. I guess they don't serve food where you tend bar? Because that could get you in serious trouble.

And all of you that never wash your hands and are never sick--thanks so much for making the rest of us walk around like the living dead. Why should you care, after all?
posted by misha at 6:54 PM on December 20, 2007


but I recall being very very grateful they weren't _surgeons_.

Even if they were, why would it matter? It was a convention, not the operating room.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:56 PM on December 20, 2007


Wow. And your profile says you are a bartender, too. I guess they don't serve food where you tend bar? Because that could get you in serious trouble.

There's more germs on money and on phone receivers than on the handles and doorknobs in a bathroom. And I've never heard of anyone ever getting in trouble for not washing their hands and if no one ever sees you, then no one would ever know.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:58 PM on December 20, 2007


A few years ago some anthropology grad students at Tulane spent the week in a men's room at a convention of Medical Doctors in New Orleans to see how many of the badged M.D.'s washed their hands after voiding.

for fun or profit?
posted by geos at 7:17 PM on December 20, 2007


Yuck! Wash those hands! Join the rest of civilized society! It's not that much to ask. Just wash them. With soap. Often.
posted by MythMaker at 8:03 PM on December 20, 2007


And why is OCD made light of so often, I muse thoughtfully?

people do the same thing about ADD, psychosis, schizophrenia and paranoia. I don't know why.

You forgot to add "unusual paraphilias":

I wish Crabby Appleton would pee on my hands; from the sound of it his pee has about $10 worth of vitamins per go in it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:54 PM on December 20, 2007


Typhoid Mary?
posted by Bort at 9:07 PM on December 20, 2007


In my office, if someone does an especially nasty job in/on/around the toilet, the maintenance people take a picture of it and post it on the door to the stall with a warning about how they're not going to clean it if it happens again.

And did I mention that I love airport bathrooms where you don't have to touch anything? Everything is IR/touchless.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:21 PM on December 20, 2007


Except Senator Craig, who is all about the touching. Sexual touching. With his penis. In a wide stance.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on December 20, 2007


When I go pee in a public bathroom, I wash my hands before I pee. 'Cuz my penis is clean, but my hands have been handling money, and god knows what else! Afterwards? No, not usually.

As for the stay-home part: Oh, yes, please. I await the day when someone finally sues the living shit out of an employer (class action, please) for making sick people come to work, where they spread it to everyone else and then their kids, too. Every time I get cold or flu, it starts with the other half bringing it home from work.
posted by Goofyy at 2:24 AM on December 21, 2007


MaryDellamorte (cool name, BTW), I'm going to assume that you're being serious here and not joking/trying to get a rise out of the overly-earnest. The fact that you're a bartender with a strong immune system who never changes out the organisms clinging to her hands throughout the day basically makes you the one-to-many germ redistribution center that never closes.

Since you never wash your hands, every germ variety on every customer who gives you an empty glass remains on your hands all shift long, and as they accumulate, you pass them, via every glass you hand out, to every customer you interact with (since you're both going to get a good, solid, damp grip on that glass). So, germy customer at the beginning of your shift = every customer for the rest of the shift being exposed to that germ, regardless of whether it's going to make you personally sick or not.

You're right that money is dirty, but you gripping a glass and slicing stuff up to go inside it followed by someone putting their mouth on the glass and frequently touching it is a way more efficient transmission system than filthy lucre, which is too dry of a surface and too rarely in direct contact with the body (and never in direct contact with the face, unless your customers are really special people) to be able to compete.

Every time you wash your hands during the day, you basically reset that accumulation/distribution process to just the people/germs that appear afterwards and before the next handwashing, which greatly reduces your likelihood of being the vector by which a baby, old person or immune-compromised person gets something threatening from one of your customers that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

This is sort of slightly a separate issue from: ew, wash your damned hands after using the bathroom for god's sake.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 4:45 AM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


There's more germs on money and on phone receivers than on the handles and doorknobs in a bathroom.

Absolutely. This thread reminded me of that scene in 54 where Mike Myers, as the Rubell character, dumped all the cash onto the bed and proceeded to throw himself into and roll around in it. It occurred to me that that was completely disgusting on at least two entirely different levels.
posted by psmealey at 4:51 AM on December 21, 2007


Your Time Machine Sucks:
Wont the alcohol MaryDellamorte spills on her hands kill the germs?
posted by shothotbot at 6:06 AM on December 21, 2007


I think people worry far too much about this sort of thing. It's always kids who come from too clean homes that seem to be ill - and there's a suspected link between the rise in asthma and the dip in exposure to dirt.

As an aside, I met a couple of US Americans backpacking round South America who were taking antibiotics prophylactically. Great: way to treat yourself like a battery chicken. They also used that stupid hand was crap all the time. I couldn't help but think they might have been happier staying somewhere they knew all surfaces biocided twice a day.
posted by rhymer at 6:18 AM on December 21, 2007


All of these mentions of ass/penis/vagina juice -- WTF is wrong with you people? See a doctor if you're that leaky.

/washes hands but apparently not as often as you people do.
posted by desuetude at 6:37 AM on December 21, 2007


Now that I think about it, I actually don't even need to wash my hands. I'm constantly manually washing bar glasses and in the third sink we add sanitizer tablets to the water. My hands are constantly being dipped into the third sink so my hands are getting sanitized about every 30 minutes.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:55 AM on December 21, 2007


Well, there's no suspicion about the link between microorganism/virus transmission and the hands of people whose job is to prepare things which a large and constantly-changing group of other people put in their mouths.

I totally agree with you that idiots abusing antibiotics = dumb to the point of evil, and that the parental obsession with creating germ-free zones around their robust and healthy kids is silly and probably results in neurotic kids even if it isn't the root of the asthma increase. I don't think everyone should try to live in a bubble, I just think people who are the big one-to-many nodes on the transmission network should take it into account.

Wont the alcohol MaryDellamorte spills on her hands kill the germs?

I dunno, she sounds like too much of a good bartender to be splashing around enough high-percentage alcohol to effectively disinfect her hands multiple times a day. But I'm laughing imagining a bartender taking a moment to flip open one of those upside-down pourers on the well vodka and give her hands a quick scrub underneath. Simple hand washing would be less expensive (but also less entertaining).

Now that I think about it, I actually don't even need to wash my hands. I'm constantly manually washing bar glasses and in the third sink we add sanitizer tablets to the water. My hands are constantly being dipped into the third sink so my hands are getting sanitized about every 30 minutes.

Cool :)
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 7:16 AM on December 21, 2007


Oh and OCD sufferers, I wash my hands maybe twice a day and not necessarily every time I pee. Haven't had more than a damn cold, much less anything more serious, in over a decade. Man up, Nancy!

Ex-fucking-cuse me? Are you fucking suggesting that someone, like me, who suffers from OCD should just "toughen the fuck up" and give up our mental illness? Would if I could, bucko, but it's not something you shrug off like a too-big coat.

I am embarassed for you, if that's the cut of your jib.
posted by agregoli at 7:20 AM on December 21, 2007


Actually agregoli, I was making light of people thinking that washing their hands is somehow going to provide some barrier to disease. (I thought the rest made that pretty clear, but yeah...the "OCD sufferers" bit was over the top.) The story and thread are about people consciously deciding whether or not to wash their hands...obviously obsessive compulsive people don't get to make that choice.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:45 AM on December 21, 2007


It's funny, all of these non-handwashing folks pointing out how rarely they get sick. That isn't surprising; you're generally interacting with people with better hygiene than yours.

I was making light of people thinking that washing their hands is somehow going to provide some barrier to disease.

You don't think that handwashing reduces transmission of illnesses?
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 8:32 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was making light of people thinking that washing their hands is somehow going to provide some barrier to disease.

In every medical article I have ever read, that's overwhelmingly agreed to be the one thing that a person can do to reduce the the likelihood of contracting a disease or infecting someone else with one. I grant you, some people may be obsessive about it, but it's not like the jury is out on this one.
posted by psmealey at 8:44 AM on December 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Isn't it great how one person's anecdote trumps years of actual scientific studies?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:52 AM on December 21, 2007


Here's a very interesting interview about bacteria and modern life, from CBC's Quirks & Quarks.
posted by sneebler at 9:37 AM on December 21, 2007


Actually agregoli, I was making light of people thinking that washing their hands is somehow going to provide some barrier to disease.

Which is really weird, as other people have noted, because it DOES help reduce the rate of disease. It's not a complete guarantee, but I know for certain that it provides more protection against common cold like germs than not washing. Making people out to be obsessive or having OCD because they follow common and sensible health practices like washing their hands once after using the restroom is ridiculous.

(I thought the rest made that pretty clear, but yeah...the "OCD sufferers" bit was over the top.) The story and thread are about people consciously deciding whether or not to wash their hands...obviously obsessive compulsive people don't get to make that choice.

Thank you for that, but I would like to point out that it's not that cut and dried. OCD sufferers who do have the "contamination" bug aspect of OCD aren't irrational. We do consciously know that our hands aren't dirty sometimes (although it's just common sense to wash your hands once after you use the restroom - no medical person is going to deny that), but the repeat-flip of the brain that can't stop thinking about it (obsessive) drives the sufferer to want to (compulsive) wash them again.

If you only knew how many times I've thought, "I KNOW my hands aren't dirty" only to want to wash them one more time (thankfully I've mostly left this behavior in the dust, although it comes back up in times of stress).

Sorry, didn't mean to be the OCD instructor person here but it seems it's coming up a lot in common useage these days - I personally blame that dreadful Monk show for making it light and cute and fluffy and part of the casual vernacular.
posted by agregoli at 10:07 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Huh. I thought that those public-toilet handles were designed to be flushed by one's foot"

You can pull it with the top of your foot too, ya know. :-)

They call 'showing up sick' the name 'presentee-ism.' People that really should be at home but show up at work just so you're supposed to think "wow, what a dedicated worker" suck. Instead I think "Go away, you vector of disease!"
posted by drstein at 10:34 AM on December 21, 2007


All this hand washing and staying home when sick talk is assuming we give a damn about our fellow man. What about us selfish, egotistical, anti-social assholes out here? What about those of us that could care less about getting you sick if it means we can't use that sick time down the road for something important like a killer hangover after atempting to score all night or making a long weekend longer? Why should I, as a self-important fuck, give a shit if you have to touch my ball grease when you open the door when it means that my hands are going to have to get dried out from all this washing?

Won't somebody (besides ourselves) think about our feelings?
posted by Pollomacho at 10:41 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


gotta tell you it was tough eating lunch during this thread, but i persevered. got a little rough during the ju jitsu scab story. good stuff.
posted by no_moniker at 10:53 AM on December 21, 2007


In public restrooms...

-I flush the toilet with my foot, whenever possible.
-If I use the hot-air dryer, I punch its button with a fist rather than press it with my fingers.
-I open the door handle with my left pinky to minimize contact.
posted by jeremy b at 11:00 AM on December 21, 2007


If I use the hot-air dryer, I punch its button with a fist rather than press it with my fingers.

What about the elbow? That's what I use in particularly gross toilets.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:29 AM on December 21, 2007


If I use the hot-air dryer, I punch its button with a fist rather than press it with my fingers.

I usually head butt it, soccer style. I keeps my hands clean, and it also intimidates the shit out of everyone else in the men's room.
posted by psmealey at 11:48 AM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Tell me that you scream samurai-style whenever you do that psmealey, and you become my new hero.
posted by quin at 11:54 AM on December 21, 2007


Pffft. I work with infants, and the occasional toddler. That fifth guy can bring it on. His germs don't scare me.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:10 PM on December 21, 2007


Ok, after the jujitsu scab, I just have to add for the sake of gross-ness that my job involves having a thirteen month old kid with a bad cold stick his hands in his mouth and then into my mouth.

Oh yeah, and I get paid in cash. Cash that I exchange for goods and services, some of which you may provide.

Remember that anyone, anywhere who spends time with an infant has mucus encrusted on their person. You can only wash your hands so many times in a day, and if you've got a baby in them, that number is not very many.

You and your immune system are welcome.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:26 PM on December 21, 2007


I once was walking down the street and saw a homeless man - a really dirty fellow with a crusty beard - remove his smelly shoes and take out a few dollar bills that he had been storing there. Which I guess he used soon after to pay for something. A store you and I might walk into a few minutes later and get change.

Whenever I start to forget how dirty money is...that image quickly brings me back to my senses.
posted by vacapinta at 12:54 PM on December 21, 2007


The hand-washers win hands down in this debate. Personally, although I wash my hands after peeing in a public place just because everyone else does, I personally feel it's more of a Victorian fetish than anything else. My dong is washed every day and doesn't get exposed to germs. It would make more sense to wash my hands each time I opened a door.

Eat stuff off the floor, my dad, the doctor, always told us kids. It'll help your immune system. I don't know if it's that or just good genetics, but I don't get sick. And my hand-washing habits suck. Just remember, kids, don't use that antibacterial shit around me, because it's like giving all those bacteria a free membership to Gold's Gym for Germs.
posted by kozad at 1:53 PM on December 21, 2007


Just remember, kids, don't use that antibacterial shit around me, because it's like giving all those bacteria a free membership to Gold's Gym for Germs.

OH YAH SRSLY.

Every time I see someone carrying Purrell in their purse I want to scream "You are breeding super-bacteria! STOP IT!" I once saw someone giving hand sanitizer to a child, and I could just see the bacteria grinning smugly.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2007


I had a talk with my wife recently about the very subject of breeding super-bacteria. (Not in the vats I have in the basement, that was a different conversation, but I digress), specifically, we were talking about our prophylactic use of things like hand sanitizers and the like causing them to mutate.

Since she is far smarter about this sort of thing than I she put it in simple terms for me: The concern is certainly real, but it comes from our use of things like antibiotics in our food. Eventually they will become immune to them and cause us grief. But the antibiotics in our hand sanitizer are just fucking toxic, we need to worry about this about as much as we need to worry about humans becoming immune to chlorine gas or arsenic.

Purell on your hands = good (mostly so), antibiotics in your food = not so good.
posted by quin at 2:20 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's funny, all of these non-handwashing folks pointing out how rarely they get sick. That isn't surprising; you're generally interacting with people with better hygiene than yours.

Who do you know who I interact with daily? I see over a hundred different people everyday and I can guarantee you that the whole lot of them do not have better hygiene than I do. And even the ones that do, they get sick. And when one person gets sick, everyone else gets sick (even the obsessive hand washers). And guess who's the one that doesn't get sick? Me.

It's funny how hand washers think they're hands are clean all the time. They aren't. As soon as you touch anything in public, which is VERY often, they are dirty again. People's cellphones are ridden with germs, doorknobs, railings, money, and the bottoms of women's purses are fucking disgusting.

Maybe I'll start washing my hands when everyone else gives up their bad habits. When all the fat people stop shoveling their faces with unhealthy food and when all the smokers stop polluting the air I breathe with their nasty habit. Until then, I will continue as I always have and I'm sure the smokers and the fatties will do the same.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:06 PM on December 21, 2007


Who do you know who I interact with daily?

Read the title of the FPP. You already explained which percentage group you're in.

I think you're operating under the wrong idea that washing your hands is only a health issue for your own health, and you're judging your approach a success because you only get data about its effect on your own health. You have a bigger obligation to others -- as you pointed out, you see over a hundred people every day and you're touching what all of them they put in their mouths, and that's something you are paid to do properly, which -- I'm going out on a limb here and making an objective statement -- means washing your hands after using the bathroom.

Maybe I'll start washing my hands when everyone else gives up their bad habits. When all the fat people stop shoveling their faces with unhealthy food and when all the smokers stop polluting the air I breathe with their nasty habit. Until then, I will continue as I always have and I'm sure the smokers and the fatties will do the same.

Ach, sorry to take you so seriously. My bad.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:50 PM on December 21, 2007


I haven't touched a door handle in about 10 years - it's either kicked or shouldered open, or I shake a sleeve down over my hand.

The milk containers at Starbucks? You couldn't PAY me to grab that handle bare-handed. Napkins, baby.

I flush with my foot (the top, I kick it upwards), turn on faucets with my wrists, punch elevator or ATM buttons with a knuckle, wouldn't pick up a pay phone if I was dying, I gag when I see someone grab the escalator rail or pole on the bus (elbows, folks)...seriously, the palms of my hands and my fingers pretty much never touch anything that's public.

Damn, I sound nuts, but I never get sick unless my nephew wipes his snot covered nose on me.

(The thought that my bartender - my favorite person - might regard washing their hands as anathema makes me almost want to quit drinking. Almost.)
posted by tristeza at 5:14 PM on December 21, 2007


Bacteria always wins. And.
posted by Minus215Cee at 5:38 PM on December 21, 2007


Micro-organisms always win. Fixed. My bad.
posted by Minus215Cee at 5:41 PM on December 21, 2007


I don't understand this not-touching-the-lever toileting behaviour. Presumably if you're the sort to flush with your foot, you're also the sort to wash your hands. Whatever germs you pick up off the lever, you're gonna be washing off.

Besides which, you still have to unlock the stall door. It's gonna be every bit as fecal-contanimated as the flusher.

I noticed that nearly everywhere i went in the USA this last trip, there were toilet seat cover dispensers in most of the washrooms. Presumably there are people who are afraid to sit on an unprotected toilet seat. This strikes me as very odd: unless one has open wounds on one's thighs, how the heck is a toilet seat going to transmit much in the way of germs? Of all the illness-spreading vectors, I should think toilet seats are near the bottom of the list.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 PM on December 21, 2007


Strangely, as anal as I am about not touching pretty much anything in a bathroom, I haven't a clue what seat covers are for or how they're supposed to "help" anything. It makes no sense to me.

(Oh, and although I do wash hands afterwards, I just don't want to put my hands right in the filth of the toilet handle, and who says I touch the lock on the stall door? Sleeves/back of hand/wrist. I'm a bacteria ninja.)
posted by tristeza at 3:28 AM on December 22, 2007


I didn't think they let bacteria be ninja. Glad to see the ninja union is more open minded these days.
posted by shothotbot at 5:24 AM on December 22, 2007


quin, I don't know so much about hand sanitizers but I do feel compelled to take a slam at antibacterial soaps. The active ingredient, triclosan, was once thought to be a universal bactericide and it has since been determined not to be true. So this triclosan is turning up everywhere from ground water to women's breast milk and there are bugs it will not be able to kill. Super bugs, sooner or later.
posted by pointilist at 6:44 PM on December 22, 2007


quin and grapefruitmoon, what hand sanitizers are you folks talking about? Purell and its ilk are active ingredient ethyl alcohol, not triclosan or antibiotic.
posted by desuetude at 8:25 PM on December 22, 2007


Besides which, you still have to unlock the stall door. It's gonna be every bit as fecal-contanimated as the flusher.

Open it with a nice clean piece of toilet paper. Use the same paper to turn on the tap, drop it on the counter for the moment, and then use that piece of paper to turn it back off. Dry your hands with a clean paper towel, then open the door with it. Drop the paper towel in the next waste basket.
posted by pracowity at 9:27 AM on December 23, 2007


Despite it being in the comments, I'm slightly irritated that OCD is a tag for this FPP, since it has nothing to do with basic hygeine.
posted by agregoli at 9:48 AM on December 23, 2007


Open it with a nice clean piece of toilet paper. Use the same paper to turn on the tap, drop it on the counter for the moment, and then use that piece of paper to turn it back off. Dry your hands with a clean paper towel, then open the door with it. Drop the paper towel in the next waste basket.

Or simply not worry about all that until after you've washed your hands. Hell, you just had your fingers rimming your asshole: the time for fastidiousness is long past. Wash hands, then start thinking about how your hands are going to stay clean as you escape the washroom.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 AM on December 23, 2007


I guess what I don't get is the fixation on germs that live in public toilets, and the obsession with touching things in there. I suppose some pretty nasty stuff lives there, but I think you're probably much more likely to contract illnesses, catch colds, etc. from regular old stuff like office doorknobs, subway handrails, being coughed or sneezed on while waiting on line somewhere etc.

If you are going to be that obsessive in the bathroom, you should probably be just as vigilant elsewhere, otherwise it's all for naught. I mean why not wear a goddamn surgical mask?
posted by psmealey at 11:23 AM on December 23, 2007


Like they do in Japan when they're ill, out of consideration for others who don't want to get sick during the morning packed-in-tight trainride to work.

Wash before handling anything that's going to go in your mouth or eye, that's the ticket.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:37 AM on December 23, 2007


There is one's own shit and there is the shit of others. There is the avoidable and there is the unavoidable. What's in me or on me to begin with, I can't do much about, but if I can avoid getting other people's shit on myself and getting my shit on others, I'll avoid it.

I also avoid touching other door handles and railings when possible, and I'm not thrilled about using communal coffee pots and the like. I wash my hands when I do anything in the kitchen at work.

But people think about washing hands most after using the toilet because that's where the public sinks are--between the toilets and the rest of the world--and, obviously, I hope, because shit is just about the last everyday thing people want on their hands.
posted by pracowity at 11:43 AM on December 23, 2007


Forgive me, but:

Metafilter: There is one's own shit and there is the shit of others.
posted by agregoli at 2:50 PM on December 23, 2007


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