America: Land of Pussies?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 12:29 AM GMT
    At my supermarket in Southern California they recently installed a Handi-Wipe dispenser next to the shopping carts, so you could wipe down the handle of your cart before touching it.

    On a recent visit to my family in Ohio, I read a local newspaper column that was entirely devoted to people complaining about how the doors of public restrooms are designed so you actually have to touch the handle to exit.

    Most of the guys at my gym shower at home. But a lot of them wash their hands before leaving the gym in case they picked up anything from the equipment.

    What the fuck? Why is everybody suddenly so neurotic about germs? Have we all turned into Howard Hughes? Or have we become such pussies that we get sick whenever the wind blows?

    A few years ago I read about something called the Hygiene Theory. It was devised by some medical researchers who were investigating why children these days seem to have more allergies. They claimed that the human immune system needs to be kept busy; otherwise it will go looking for something to do, like a Siberian Husky left in the house alone. So by raising children in a sterile environment, we're increasing the chances that the immune system will overreact to something that isn't really a threat - in other words, they'll develop an allergy. They came up with the theory after someone noticed that in the extensive journals kept by Lewis and Clark (over a million words) while exploring the American West, there was not a single mention of any member of the expedition suffering from hayfever.

    So, how about it, guys? How neurotic are you about cleanliness? And do you think that's a good thing?

    (And by the way, if you're afraid to use a shopping cart without wiping it down, I better not read in your profile that you're into casual hookups and love rimming)
  • metalxracr

    Posts: 761

    Jun 21, 2008 12:42 AM GMT
    I took microbiology one time and the teacher talked to me about this one time.

    I used to be a real germaphobe! She told me that it's not very good for the immune system, and that my anal retentive rituals were pointless, because my body can take care of itself, and that I can still end up sick if I kept everything clean.

    But it was because of her class that I became that way in the first place.

    For instance washing my hands: Not just in public restrooms, but at home too..

    1. Get a paper towel
    2. Get another paper towel dispensed hanging with the first towel
    it would be waiting for when i got done washing my hands.
    3. Turn on the water with the first towel, then throw it away.
    4. dry my hands and turn of the water with the 2nd towel,
    5. use it to open the door then throw it away.

    That's not the worst at all.

    It was ridiculous, but I had a phobia about them since I was little, and it just got worse as I grew older. And even some friends of mine picked up on my habits, and they hated me for it after a while. hahaha

    I completely grown out of it now.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 12:46 AM GMT
    I don't think I'm neurotic at all about cleanliness, but I do NOT, do NOT, do NOT touch door handles of public bathrooms. Why? Because they're really, truly gross. Think about it. And I've heard health professionals recommend against it.

    After washing my hands, I grab a paper towel, put it around my fingers and open the door with it.

    And I do wash my hands a lot. Not excessively, but frequently. Read any article about avoiding colds and they say the number one thing is to wash your hands frequently. . . before eating, after working in the yard, after attending a meeting and shaking hands with lots of people, etc.

    First thing I do when I get home from work is wash my hands.
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    Jun 21, 2008 12:50 AM GMT
    My practice is to wash my hands when I get home.

    After being out in public and touching the door handles, and the cart handles, and the credit machine pens, I have no qualms about giving my hands a good scrubbing.

    So let's see...I try to open doors with the part of the handle or door that is least touched.

    I look for shopping carts that havent been used for a while or have been in the sun.

    There isnt much I can do about those damn credit machine pens...those are just the perfect vehicles for mass transmission of contagion and just waiting for SARS or Bird Flu to get here.
  • HereNBoston

    Posts: 221

    Jun 21, 2008 1:11 AM GMT
    I actually get really really annoyed when I see soccer moms with those little cute purel hand sanitizer bottles on their key chains, or people who need antibacterial everything. There's an entire market for plastic toys coated with an antimicrobials and such its insane and so not necessary. and yes, all this cleanliness is contributing to more childhood allergies it seems. The immune system basically needs a work out. Especially when the kids growing. kids need to roll around in the dirt, stick random objects in their mouths and wander around with mommy and daddy to build up their immune systems.

    I'm exposed to tons worse at work. so my scrubs and my shoes go in a plastic bag, wash my scrubs in hot water and my shoes don't come in any further than the door mat because I don't want to bring anything home. But if i'm not at the hospital, soap and water works just fine for everyday stuff.

    I definitely wash my hands a few times a day before i eat, when i get home, etc. but I don't think carrying around hand sanitizer is necessary.

    so yeah... i think its a horrible thing, and the next generation is going to pay for it with more resistant strains of bacteria and weaker immune systems and kids literally allergic to everything.
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    Jun 21, 2008 1:19 AM GMT
    Agree totally with HerenBoston, I think he has the right perspective re: use of sanitizers and how we could be doing more harm than good.

    As I said earlier, I wash frequently. . . but I rarely use the antibacterial sanitizers, for the reasons he cited.

    That said, in my work, I do a lot of on-location video shooting (documentry producer) and sometimes we're in strange places like the Everglades LOL. Or sometimes more mundane places but you're not near a sink, much less soap and water, so I try to have a sanitizer with me then. But that's about it.

    But I STILL won't touch a public bathroom door handle icon_eek.gif

    (In fact, HerenBoston. . . if you read this. . . what do you think about the practice of not touching public bathroom door handles. . . curious to know what you think)
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jun 21, 2008 1:22 AM GMT
    I always use a paper towel to open the bathroom door once I have washed my hands.

    I shower at the gym, but I wear shower shoes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 1:25 AM GMT
    One thing I have no problem with doing. . . I kiss dogs. Right on the lips. Always have. The dog I had when I was a child got it 'smack' on the lips every single night.

    Hey. . . that's an idea for a separate thread. . .
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 2:17 AM GMT
    Can you say, "MRSA?"

    Mayo Clinic - MRSA

    I'm anything but a neat freak, but the gym is where many a MRSA infection has been contracted. Not too thrilled about that nasty little microbe.
  • HereNBoston

    Posts: 221

    Jun 21, 2008 2:19 AM GMT
    LittleDudeWithMuscles said

    But I STILL won't touch a public bathroom door handle icon_eek.gif

    (In fact, HerenBoston. . . if you read this. . . what do you think about the practice of not touching public bathroom door handles. . . curious to know what you think)



    I tend not to touch them because it's just gross to think about since most people don't wash their hands or even wash them properly if they do. big thing is just not to touch your face or rub your eyes and stuff.. wash your hands real well and obviously do it before you eat too. Pretty standard stuff that most people should've learned by the age of five... but then again, you'd be surprised.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 2:31 AM GMT
    I'm sorry I took so long to reply.
    I was excavating a MAJOR booger from my nose.

  • Jun 21, 2008 2:52 AM GMT
    Agree on the opening public restroom doors thing with towels but what do you do if the dispenser is out of paper towels or there's only the dreaded hot-air blower? Do you risk going into a stall for toilet paper to open the door? Or do you just say "to hell with it" and make peace with the germs and viruses who are going to be your new best friends?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 2:56 AM GMT
    Thanks, HereinBoston. . . and yes, that is also a good idea-- not touching your face with dirty hands.

    A Better Tomorrow: When they're out of paper towels, I take my wallet, put it between my hand and the door handle and then open it.
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    Jun 21, 2008 3:50 AM GMT
    Hey, I'm in contact with so many people daily that I cannot go without a frequent hand wash. It cuts down on my colds.

    Yes, it's because I'm a nose-picker. Thanks JPrichva, for drawing attention to this unsung pastime.
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    Jun 21, 2008 5:04 AM GMT
    I hate hand sanitizer. I think that it is gross, and it feels weird. I also, in my mind, think that the bottle that the hand sanitizer is in is full of germs.

    But to answer the question about no paper towels, I have seen some people use the bottom of their shirts.
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    Jun 21, 2008 5:17 AM GMT
    I try to be practical and reasonable. I won't exactly eat with my hand after holding the rails on the subway, but neither do I freak out as if my body is utterly defenseless.

    I grew up in a rural environment, with pets in the house, and spending significant time outside and in a chicken coop, harassing the birdies.

    I wasn't exposed to people with the "allergy of the week" until college, when all of a sudden everyone had asthma, nut allergies, milk allergies, etc.

    Speaking of Land of Pussies - how about the irrational hysteria about tomatoes? We have nothing else to report on in the news. Last year it was Spinach. Yeah. I can walk into a restaurant and order raw tuna or beef carpaccio, but heaven forbid I want a tomato. Or spinach. Meanwhile, there are probably a thousand people right this minute over a toilet with food poisoning from Aunt Mathilda's cooking.
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    Jun 21, 2008 5:26 AM GMT
    BTW - in response to the ending remark - "(And by the way, if you're afraid to use a shopping cart without wiping it down, I better not read in your profile that you're into casual hookups and love rimming)"...

    Some of the biggest germ phobes I know are also rather uninhibited when it comes to hooking up. I've always found this fascinating. I don't get how someone can practically have convulsions when running low on Purell, while apparently having no concern at all for herpes simplex.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 5:26 AM GMT
    The hysteria about the tomatoes IS a little extreme, but the threat is real: my BF had acute food poisoning after a tomato binge week before last. Before he knew about the hysteria.

    It wasn't pleasant, but he's young and strong.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 5:52 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidreal: my BF had acute food poisoning after a tomato binge week before last.
    your boyfriend looks like Nicolas cage in the picture of him.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 6:05 AM GMT
    I notice that a lot of guys do not even wash after pissing or crapping? Dirty Bastards!

    I never use rest rooms ever! At the hotel where i swim on the beach I use a paper towel to flush and open the door!
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    Jun 21, 2008 6:31 AM GMT
    The human race has survived thousands of years but some of us are now reduced to using anti-bacterial wipes. How pathetic.

    I thought you could only catch MRSA if you had open wounds or were recovering from an operation in hospital. I don't think healthy people can catch it from touching shopping trolleys or toilet door handles.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 21, 2008 11:01 AM GMT
    I always thought that Bob was a stoner.

    Remember to spay and neuter your pets.
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    Jun 21, 2008 12:01 PM GMT
    So soon people will become sick from being to clean. There are good germs too. I am around germs all the time, and don't get sick all that much....
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jun 21, 2008 12:30 PM GMT
    I think we have plenty of women, yes.

    With snarkiness over, the Hygiene Theory is pretty much out of favor. What *isn't* out of favor is the idea that, especially as children, our immune systems have to be challenged with common diseases and allergens. If they don't, then the body never learns how to mount a measured response and so it "freaks out" at allergens, and not enough at actual invasive organisms.

    The problem, I think, is not a nation of "pussies" but a national media that makes it's money off sensationalism. People are terrified of "avian bird flu" (ignoring that ALL flu is bird flu, and "avian" is redundant). People are scared shitless of multiple resistant staph. Etc. All without any actual understanding of the diseases, how they're spread, and how you can and can't catch them or treat them. Because the media is so busy jumping up and down yelling "booga booga boo!" that they never bother to explain anything.
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    Jun 21, 2008 12:50 PM GMT
    I was going to write something very clever about needing to be exposed to germs in order to build up the immune system, but DiverScience did a much better job (as usual). I am not neurotic about touching bathroom door handles or putting my hand on escalator rails, etc.. I wash my hands after going to the washroom and shower once or twice a day, so I am clean but I think one can go overboard.