You women likely know as much already, but I’m not referring to the same nasty you’re probably thinking of. You’ll have to flip over some pages to my fellow SunPoster Dr. Sonjia Kenya’s column (which is a favorite of mine, too) for the low-down on that kind of nasty.
I’m referring to the fact that I witness so many guys bypass that basic and most necessary bathroom accoutrement before exiting public restrooms.
No, not toilet paper. Rather, the sink.
As mentioned recently by both USA Today and Time magazine, an “observational report” found that 93% of American women wash their hands in a public restroom, as opposed to 77% of men.
For some of you, that figure may be alarming. For others, it may actually be surprisingly better than expected. I don’t know that “77%” is quite the ballpark figure from my own observational standpoint in local restrooms. I think it’s overly generous, if you ask me.
The national average computes to 85% of American adults who wash their hands, which is up from the 66% that was tallied in the first year the survey was conducted, in 1996.
The study was sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and – get this – something called the American Cleaning Institute (formerly the Soap and Detergent Association).
(I wonder if getting caught failing to wash your hands in the employee restroom at that workplace might be grounds for dismissal. Ya think? In the least, it might earn you the contemptuous scowls of your fellow Institute colleagues. And maybe a polite, yet stern, invitation to keep far awaaaay from the banquet table at the annual Christmas party.)
The results were announced at the “Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.” What a fun crowd that sounds like. Perhaps the slumping Miami Beach Convention Center can lure them to town for their next confab. The local hotels ought to really LOVE them. These people are likely to leave their hotel rooms so spic-and-span clean you’d hardly notice they needed serviced by housekeeping.
Or they might be the type of folks who the hotels might DREAD. I can imagine them getting back to their hotel rooms each night, whipping out their UV-light stain detector gadgets, scouring their bed blankets and sheets for blood stains and other unmentionables, then ringing up “Inside Edition” with the scoop on yet another hotel that’s treating its guests to – OMG! – dirty linen.
Then there goes the local hotel industry, followed by the region’s economic recovery – THANKS A LOT, INTERSCIENCE CONVENTIONEERS, YOU GEEKY BASTARDS!
Back to the results. You ladies might be repulsed by the numbers of “gentlemen” that I spot for whom a trip to the gentlemen’s room would not be replete without carrying out with them some souvenirs of their visit – cruddy, grody, icky, gross, microbial germs and whatnot – and toting them to the restaurant table, or to the movie theater. Especially repulsive to ponder when that hand which only seconds before was touching the urinal flush handle, or the restroom door knob, is now nestled around your bare shoulder or – worse! – clasping your hand. (“Ewww!” is right.)
Now, I’m sure that the lack of proper potty etiquette is not a one-gender-only gross-out, but we guys like to imagine that you girls are more disinfectantly-inclined than are us Neanderthals. At least, we HOPE you are.
(You had BETTER be.)
I can imagine how this might turn out to be the stuff of favorable, and successful, pick-up lines (“Hey, babe, I’m one of those 77% that wash my hands in the bathroom.”). Why shouldn’t that clinch the deal and be enough for you girls to agree, hell yeah, let’s hit the sack, get engaged, and decide how the wedding invitations will be engraved?
Anyway, where was I? Oh. Researchers in August “discreetly” observed 6,000 potty-goers in locations in four cities: Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. (The USA Today article put it this way: “Researchers staked out six locations in four cities…”. Staked out. I’m trying to imagine that. All I can picture is a bespectacled, white lab-coated research scientist surreptitiously sitting on the john in an adjoining stall, peering out a peephole or something. It’s amazing nobody is reported to have gotten mistakenly arrested in the process.)
If one of those research cities had been Miami – oh, lordy, galordy. I think the national average might easily have dropped twenty points.
No, make that more like thirty.
All right – fifty.
What I got a kick out of was the fact that the researchers also conducted phone surveys at the same time. 96% of Americans claimed they always washed. Yeah, right. Liars.
Of course, they were speaking from the privacy of their own homes. Where they were likely picking their noses, or scratching their asses, at the very moment they were speaking to the researchers over the phone.
And just what do the Institute experts consider good hand washing hygiene? Using warm water, soaping up, and getting a good lather going for at least twenty seconds.
Twenty? Uh, I think on that score, not even the most anal-retentive, touch-me-not, obsessive-compulsive types – you the know the ones who put newspapers down before sitting on a mass transit seat or buy bottled hand disinfectant by the gallon – can pass muster. Who besides a surgeon lathers for twenty seconds? Most people who do wash don’t spend even half that time at the sink.
For the sake of all, shall we please pledge ourselves to practice better potty etiquette? And leave the germs and other gross-outs in the loo?
Now that we’ve agreed on that, let’s move on to those dumbfucks who somehow escaped adolescence without having mastered the concept of flushing…
YOU KNOW YOU’VE GROWN FRETFULLY OUT OF TOUCH with this town we call home when a group of out-of-towners stops you to ask – as happened to me last weekend when I was briefly on a stretch of Washington Avenue in South Beach – where the Kardashian sisters’ store is.
And you have nooooo freakin’ clue.
Well, I at least knew they had (have) a store here. I ain’t exactly a hermit. Even if I’ve rarely ever (okay, never) seen their reality TV show on whatever network carries it (I think it’s one of those letter networks… D? E? F?).
It’s hard to miss the K gals, especially when their buxom bods are never-endingly plastered on the front covers of practically every other week’s tabloid papers gracing the grocery store checkout aisles. This has undoubtedly caused moms across the country to have to cover their tiny tots’ bulging eyes when standing in line next to such mags.
And despite all that media coverage of all things Kardashian which we have been blanketed by – in a Kardashian world in which the rest of us are only mere accessories – I must also awkwardly confess that I am unsure which sis is which. I know there is a Kim, right? And a Kourtney. And a Khloé.
It must really identify me as hopelessly unsophisticated to admit that the Kardashian with which whom I’m most familiar is their late attorney dad, Robert, the one of the O. J. Simpson murder trial notoriety.
If you asked me to play a game of “Pin the Right Name Label on the Right Kardashian Sis,” I’d likely match the wrong label to the wrong sister’s… uh… voluptuous, uh… either naturally-endowed or surgically-enhanced, uh… chests chest. Even with a one-in-three chance of correctly ID’ing all.
The sisters, that is.
But to the group of girls on Washington who asked me where the store was, all I could summon up was –
“Are you sure it’s still open?”
(Well? After all, this is South Beach, where what’s here today is gone… tonight. Perhaps, I privately conjectured, the K sisters had given up on their SoBe store after a short stint and returned to Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, or wherever.)
A quizzical look came over their faces, as if I had just told Dorothy, “No, little girl, there is no merry ol’ land of Oz, you trekked all the way from Kansas for nothing, now go home.”
“I know it used to be around here,” I pitifully (and untruthfully) offered, having not even an iota of a clue as to the store’s street number or even, for that matter, if it had even been or was on Washington.
As I turned to move on, I heard them ask someone in the shop we had been standing just outside of. Then I heard one of the girls exclaim, “Oh, this is?”
With that, I quickened my pace away from the scene of the crime of my disconcerting (as much for me as I’m sure for them) ignorance, never looking back to see if the girls were glaring at me for being either (a) some clueless dumb schmuck or (b) a local miscreant with a hatred for tourists and a deviant proclivity for supplying them misinformation.
But I have learned a lesson (actually, two) from this: Endeavor to know thy neighborhood a little better. And perhaps actually read some of those tabloid articles about the sisters Kardashian so as to know them better, rather than just stare at their pictures and marvel at their, uh….