Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Guilty!; Pass the Hand Sanitizer

William Saletan's Human Nature column in Slate, where he excerpts highlights of science and technology news, had this bit of information today, under the brilliant headline, "Edward Whizzerhands":

Only 64 percent of men wash their hands after using bathrooms at New York's Penn Station, compared to 92 percent of women. On average, in several cities, 83 percent of Americans using public restrooms do so. "Harris Interactive observed the behavior of 6,336 adults (3,206 males and 3,130 females) in public restrooms … Observers were instructed to groom themselves (comb their hair, put on make-up, etc.) while observing."

Trust me, my private parts are cleaner than the sinks in Penn Station. I touch as little as possible in there. I doubt I was observed, unless my covert Harris Interactive observer was disguised as a smelly hobo.


Matthew said...

Restroom handwashing is a big deal for me too. The trick is figuring out how to make it out of the bathroom without touching the door handle.

Anonymous said...

Yes, same here, Matthew! Protecting my hand w/ a wad of paper towel, I open the door, then use my foot as a door stop while I contort my body into a position that will allow me to throw the paper towel into a trash can upon exiting. But I'm screwed when a restroom has only the hand dryer, which aside from foiling my get-out-of-the-bathroom-without-touching-germy-door-handle plan, proves to be thoroughly time-consuming and ineffective. After two doses of "drying", I always have to just wipe off my hands on my jeans. Gross. Does anyone have a statistic on how much less environmentally-unfriendly the dryers are than paper towels? I'd love to start a coalition to dissolve the presence of those stupid dryers.


Esther said...

I like it when the company that built the restroom is smart enough to realize that the door should open out instead of in. Then you can just push on it with your arm or body and not get your hands all germy.

Matthew said...

I'm surprised it's as high as 64%. All too often I've witnessed men come out of the stalls -- the stalls, people, not the urinals! -- and immediately exit the restroom! No stop at the sink whatsoever! This is after they've just dookied!


Anthony said...

"Dookied"? What a fabulously quaint euphemism!

It seems the paper towel vs. hand dryer debate can be argued either way. I was under the impression the latter were more hygienic (and infinitely more so than cloth towels). Do they really consume that much electricity?

Nathan said...

The key is not to piss on your hands in the first place, and to use your foot to flush in the second place. Elbows work remarkably well for activating faucets and dryers, and I've never seen anyone get an elbow in their own mouth.


Anonymous said...

Actually, more people should probably piss on their hands.

Urine is bacteriostatic. Unless you have an infection of some sort, it's a great way to clean a wound or cleanse/condition surface skin, like hands or feet. It's also a sure-fire way to get rid of just-started cases of athlete's foot. In europa i've been in more than one post-football or work shower room and seen men piss on their feet or hands. It's fairly common. And, anyone whose laboured in rock or concrete knows the same.

As to hand-sanitizer; You'll all die a horrible, diseased death one day if you keep buying that crap.

Instead, trust nature. Lick a railing at GrandCentral (well, maybe not there -- try a doorhandle at one of the heradi electronics stores nearby) in small bi-weekly doses; It'll probably save your life come the next plague.

Immunity is always an acquired attribute, always.


Andy said...

You know, I worried I wouldn't get any comments on this one other than, "Ew, you're disgusting!"

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