June 15, 2010

so fresh and so clean.

On a recent trip to a public restroom I was shocked to find a 30-something, well dressed man walk right out of the freshly flushed bathroom stall and back into a restaurant with out washing his hands. I thought, "Snap! The nerve it takes to see a person standing right there and say to himself, “You know what? Fuck it. I’m not going to wash my hands."

Maybe in a perfect world this guy didn’t twosie, maybe he just had to change his clothes or perhaps he just needed some privacy for a moment. But, even so, he has the social duty, relieved or not, to wash his hands. I understand if he was in the restroom alone without any witnesses and he just said “screw it, I better get back out there, my pasta is getting cold.” But to be so brazen, so bold that he can just walk right past a person without feeling slightly obliged to wash is unnerving. If he’s not washing in front of people, I can’t imagine what he’s doing in private.

Perhaps he was in a hurry and didn’t have time to wash his hands. But nothing is so urgent that he can’t just do me the favor of even fake washing his hands. Just to show me that he cares. The issue here isn’t about germs. It’s about appearances.

Let me clarify, this post is not about touching soap to hands. It’s about fulfilling the unwritten (and sometimes written) social rule that we need to wash our hands after using a public restroom. He didn’t even really need to wash his hands to make me happy. I would have been satisfied with a fake wash…Just turning on the water and placing his hands near it. Just some effort to show me he respects social etiquette.

Of course we all should wash our hands after we use the restroom. Especially a public restroom. But, I will admit there are times when I just don’t feel like washing my hands for a couple of reasons. 1. My sleeves are long and washing would result in wet discomfort. 2. I’m in a hurry to get back to the movie. 3. Having maneuvered my way around the bathroom with my elbows, washing my hands would almost be redundant.

But, as a respectable member of society I will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS wash my hands when someone else is present in the restroom, long sleeves or not. And, if there is a person in the stall, unable to see me while I’m at the sink, I will turn on the water just to ease their minds.

Catching Swine Flu, or T.B., or Lady Gaga isn’t what motivates myself and other kindred spirits to wash our hands in a public restroom. What motivates us is social pressure. It’s like recycling: You don’t always do it because you want to. You do it because someone’s looking.

The dude who just couldn’t wait to get back to his pasta may have not contracted H1N1 but he has caught something far worse, flack from PWeekly.


Anonymous said...

hahaha "catching Lady Gaga."

Jennifer said...

I try my hardest to never actually touch anything in a public bathroom.

PWeekly said...

Including yourself?

Luke said...

i never wash. ever. well sometimes before i touch my junk just to keep it sanitary down there. who is changing in a public restroom? are you regularly shitting when superman is needed?

joven said...

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PWeekly said...

Thanks Joven.

Nick said...

I don't trust this Joven character.

As for washing, wouldn't it make more sense to wash our hands prior to using the urinal? I mean, my wee-wee is all covered up all day in a nice clean place (i.e. my pants) whereas my hands are lord-knows-where all day long.

Luke said...

nick. exactly!

Taylor said...

Great stuff here. I'm nervous IT guys never wash their hands then touch my keyboard.