Monday, June 9, 2008

For You Guys Out There...

Voodoo Hygiene

I am a very clean guy. I shave every morning. I shower thoroughly every day, sometimes twice a day in the summer. I use deodorant and aftershave lotion. I brush my teeth twice, often three times, a day. I floss and gargle most days. I keep my nails clean and clipped. I am a very clean guy.

It is from this perspective that I ask you to consider this question; why am I expected to wash my hands after I pee? It is my long-considered contention that a man should wash his hands before he pees and not after.

I know all the reasons for restaurant workers washing their hands after using the restrooms. I understand about teaching our children basic hygiene. And I don’t necessarily agree that Americans have an obsession with cleanliness. What I object to is the assumption that I am unable to avoid peeing on myself.

I mastered the fine points of continence and of not urinating on my hands about 50 years ago. I have had the few, normal “splash-back” experiences that all men have had. I am fully aware that a restroom, private or public, is an inherently unhealthy environment. But 999 times out of 1000, I don’t need to wash my hands after I pee. Let’s be logical here for one minute.

Every day I enter the shower and wash my entire body, top to bottom and all the terrain between, front and back, with good soap and hot water. I dry off with freshly washed towels. I put on freshly laundered, clean underwear and clean clothes over them. At that moment in time, few things outside of a sterile operating room are cleaner than my unit. It is freshly scrubbed, lovingly dried and safely tucked away in spotless garments. Off I go to start my busy day. Are you still with me?

OK, now let’s talk about my hands. As I go about the first dozen or so of my daily tasks, I am likely to touch a daunting collection of filthy, bacteria-infested, microbe-ridden door handles, shopping carts, money, pens, papers, telephones and other seemingly harmless objects. Add to this the number of hands I may have to shake, (and who knows where the hell they’ve been?), and my hands now qualify for an EPA Super Fund cleanup operation. My hands couldn’t possibly be more contaminated and I feel the urgent need to pee.

Logically speaking and from the standpoint of good personal hygiene, does it make any sense to put those dirty, dangerous hands on another part of my body? (Especially one that I know to be absolutely squeaky-clean, nestled in its cozy cotton nest?) Would I put even one fingertip in my mouth or nose? Would I make a sandwich with those crummy, nasty hands? Of course not. My crank is clean. My hands are toxic.

Ergo, according to the accepted rules of hygiene, men should wash their hands before they pee. Touching a clean ween with dirty hands is the very essence of poor personal hygiene. Washing your hands after you pee should depend on whether you’ve touched the flush-handle or the doorknob…or in the unlikely event you have urine on your hands.

And don’t get lured into the pathetic theatrics of turning on the faucet for the sole purpose of making the people outside the bathroom think you’re washing your hands. How many times have you started out of the bathroom and thought, “I better make a show of washing my hands so they don’t think I’m some kind of barbarian.”? So you turn on the water and let it run for 20 seconds while you admire yourself in the mirror or poke around in the medicine cabinet.

You’re not fooling anybody, pal.

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