Hands. Touching Hands. Touching Me. Touching You… And the Loo.

If you’re unwilling to put your hands in your mouth, wash your hands before using the bathroom.

I don’t understand it why we, as a culture, prioritize hand washing at the conclusion and not at the beginning of bathroom excursions. The genitals and surrounding areas have to be the cleanest parts of the body. Shower-washed and wrapped in clean cotton for most of the day, it’s a pretty sanitary place. The world at large, not so much.

Paradoxically, we handle our most sensitive bits with our most promiscuous body part: our hands. Hands that have rubbed public railings, opened doors, manhandled money. Hands that have tied shoes, rode the subway, scratched butts. Hands that have touched nearly everything in reach. These hands store all that residue and apply it directly to the most bacteria-friendly area of the body: the crotch.

And yet, we’re trained to wash our hands only after we use the bathroom as a courtesy to the rest of the world. Though the world thanks you, this makes no sense.

So, I’m declaring the Mouth Hand Rule: handle your naughty bits only if you’re comfortable, at that very moment, with putting your hands in your mouth. (For those with special friends, think also about why this is a courteous gesture.)

In general, you’ll fail the test. So, wash your hands, use the toilet. In that order. If applicable, wash your hands again.

4 comments
Selina
Selina

A friend linked this to me, and alas, tis you, Mr. Gruen.

After many years of ridicule, and claims by her labeling me "a germ freak," because I am an avid pre-loo hand washer, she's beginning to realize:

So. very. necessary.

Dave Johnston
Dave Johnston

I think we share a part of the brain.

I am a pre-washer, and don't understand why more people are not in our club.

Excellent.

Robin
Robin

Different cultures have different standards of cleanliness, most people don't bother thinking about how they might spread germs, they just follow their culture and what they are told. People in various cultures do things that I consider disgusting but would be disgusted at some thing that I do.

Hygiene should be based on biology, not culture.

Kath
Kath

I always wash before and after. That's how I roll.