I'm a Gross Person #3472: My Handwashing Etiquette is Questionable

So, handwashing? Is that something we're doing, like, religiously?
Publish date:
February 1, 2013
hygiene, germs, gross people, hand washing

We're all gross people here, right? Like, we blow our noses on dirty laundry and we've all pooped ourselves? Can we talk privately about something?

It's this headline: "Like Children, Men Need to Be Told To Wash Their Filthy Hands." I read that and before I even read the story I was all nervous and like, "Heh ... heh... Yeah ... men. Men sure are gross. Gotta go!"

The story is based on a study in which men self-reported that they wash their hands after using the bathroom 75 percent of the time. 75 percent! That's pretty good! Oh, uh no, I mean, "Yuck, men!"

(I don't know why this report was even gendered in the first place, but I'm glad it gives us all a chance to be casually disgusted by men, because honestly, THEY'VE DONE OTHER THINGS.)

So. OK. I pretty much usually wash my hands at home these days now that I am a mom because A) I don't want whatever daycare vermin is on sale this week and B) I touch poop. The other day, a diaper was flung and I literally caught poop in my bare hand, like some sort of disgusting, amazing superhero. (Which, come to think of it, is a pretty good description of moms everywhere.)

But pre-baby, I hardly ever bothered to wash them after using my own bathroom. To be honest, it never really occurred to me. When I examine that, I think the underlying belief is that any germs in my home, including I guess pee and vagina germs from my own body, are somehow of me and can only make me stronger.

The soap dispenser is there so guests don't know I'm nasty.

Public restrooms are a different story. I hate being in the bathroom with anyone else period, and often do that thing where I wait for the coast to be clear before I exit a stall, but the worst is when you hit the sinks at the same time as someone else.

I was probably going to wash my hands, but I just don't like feeling like I have to, you know? Ask Corynne how fun it is to try to get me to do anything someone tells me to do, like schedule a performance review.

Anyway, I guess the fact that I do it when people are watching shows that I know I'm supposed to be washing my hands. Like, in a court of law, they'd be like, "She tried to cover it up, your honor, thus proving she knew right from wrong." A few times, I have actually turned the faucet on and pretended I'm washing my hands for the purpose of tricking someone in a stall. You guys, that takes EXACTLY AS LONG TO DO AS ACTUALLY WASHING MY HANDS WOULD HAVE. Why do I hate hygiene?

Or I wait a few minutes before leaving the bathroom so the person who left before me won't be thinking, "Out so quickly? No way she had time to wash her hands." Or I just use hand sanitizer. Is that the same thing?

I've have gotten better since I read this awesome/terrifying book "Spillover" about how we're basically just waiting for the next big global pandemic to kill us all. Nice try, avian flu, I've got DIAL.

Don't get me wrong -- I know there are times you really NEED to wash your hands -- like after going number 2, or when you pee on yourself a little or actually touch your vagina or you're about to put in your contacts. But what about when you've touched nothing but toilet paper and your own zipper? Or when you're totally in the middle of watching something in the other room but decided to race the commercial break instead of pausing?

Am I the only woman person who is averaging 75 percent and feeling pretty OK about it?