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  #1  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:04 PM
evolutionbaby evolutionbaby is offline
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Is washing your hands after using the restroom entirely peer pressure??

Just realizing: that of most of the people I know intimately enough to know their bathroom habits, don't wash their hands after using the toilet at home (yes *sigh* this includes myself) but whenever we are out at a public restroom the hand-washing becomes compulsary.

Is it entirely so that the other people in the bathroom don't think you're gross?

Do you all wash your hands at home? in public?

And what's the big deal about handwashing anyway? I can understand if you are going '#2', because at least then there are potentially dangerous microorginisms involved, but urine is sterile folks. And I'm not a messy toilet-user anyhoo. I don't get anything on my hands.

Just curious.

Oh, and who uses those annoying paper toilet seat covers? I never do unless the place looks really iffy. I remember reading somewhere years ago that those flimsy things don't protect you against anything anhhow and it is just wasteful to use so many of them.

Evo
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:07 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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The master speaks.

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_220.html

In short, wash your hands, or you'll spread E. coli to others, who could get sick from it. If you just peed on your hands, they'd be cleaner than they are from touching any part of the pubic area.
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  #3  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:29 PM
evolutionbaby evolutionbaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
The master speaks.

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_220.html

In short, wash your hands, or you'll spread E. coli to others, who could get sick from it. If you just peed on your hands, they'd be cleaner than they are from touching any part of the pubic area.
ah, okay. BUT, being a girl, I don't touch my "pubic area" when I pee. Maybe I over-use toilet paper but I usually have a big enough wad in my hand that there is no skin-to-skin contact.

True, us girls can't pee gracefully standing up, but we also don't have to come into physical contact with that nasty 'pubic area' as you call it.

Evo
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Old 08-24-2002, 03:30 PM
RexDart RexDart is offline
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I think in public restrooms, often we're there under circumstances that make it wiser to wash. Usually, 9 times out of 10, if I'm at a public restroom it's because I'm out for dinner. Certainly, if you took a restroom break during or just before dinner, you'd wash your hands then?

As for Qadgop's remark there about touching the pubic area....well, sure us guys touch the pubic area, but I suppose ladies could #1 without touching it.
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Old 08-24-2002, 03:35 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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Peer pressure? ummm, nope. Bathrooms are dirty places - even the cleanest ones are dirty. It's inevitable. I always wash my hands after doing dirty work, whether it's gardening, petting my dogs, cutting raw chicken, or using the toilet.

The thought of eating food prepared by someone who didn't have this basic grasp of hygiene disgusts me beyond words. It's the main reason I refuse to participate in pot-luck events. ugh.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:45 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by evolutionbaby

<snip> we also don't have to come into physical contact with that nasty 'pubic area' as you call it.
How does one wipe without coming in contact with the pubic area? Is there a device on the market I'm unaware of??
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:46 PM
evolutionbaby evolutionbaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
The master speaks.

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_220.html

In short, wash your hands, or you'll spread E. coli to others, who could get sick from it. If you just peed on your hands, they'd be cleaner than they are from touching any part of the pubic area.
ah, okay. BUT, being a girl, I don't touch my "pubic area" when I pee. Maybe I over-use toilet paper but I usually have a big enough wad in my hand that there is no skin-to-skin contact.

True, us girls can't pee gracefully standing up, but we also don't have to come into physical contact with that nasty 'pubic area' as you call it.

Evo
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  #8  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:49 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by evolutionbaby
I don't touch my "pubic area" when I pee.
What about the stall door? You realize that if you latched it, you touched the same part the person before you touched when unlatching it, right?

Did you flush? Same thing.
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  #9  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:51 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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Heh. A 17 minute double post gap.

I'm with QtM on this.
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  #10  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:52 PM
evolutionbaby evolutionbaby is offline
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Sorry for the double post, my screen said that it couldn't contact the server and so I assumed it hadn't been posted. My mistake.

FairyChatMom... I am confused now. how DO you come in direct contact with your "pubic area" when wiping with TP after urinating?

Again, maybe I use too much TP but there is always a large 'buffer zone" between my hands and anything I'm wiping.

hmmmm.

Okay, yes I wash when preparing food, etc. But I ALWAYS wash my hands before I begin food preparation, having gone to the bathroom or not.

Having just awaken when I wrote the original post (yes I'm on the west coast but that is still no excuse for sleeping past noon--is it? ) I guess I was thinking mostly about all my middle-of-the night trips to the bathoom (being 12wks pregnant makes them way more frequent) and I'll still admit I don't wash my hands after I tinkle, heck, I barely open my eyes, and I don't turn on the light either.

Evo
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  #11  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:56 PM
evolutionbaby evolutionbaby is offline
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Ringo---ah the bane of doing homework and posting at the same time. I wrote the 1st post and it was taking forever to go through so I started working on my paper. When I finally checked back it said it 'coudlnt' contact server' so I made the error of just posting it again. Curious, though, what does Qtm mean?

KneadtoKnow. Good points. Okay, so I guess all that peer-pressure handwashing I thought I did really is worthwhile. Although I usually flush with my foot Like I said, I do wash in public restrooms, I just don't wash when I pee at home.

Now that everyone thinks I'm the germiest girl on the planet, I guess I'll go finish my paper.

Evo
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:01 PM
Ruby Ruby is offline
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I used to be a selective hand-washer, too. But now, there's a resounding YES from Ruby's household. Absolutely positively we all wash our hands after using the facilities, no matter where they are. In public restrooms, I also use the paper towel that I dried my hands on to open the door. I can't tell you how gross it is to watch someone just use the bathroom and leave, touching the door handle, without washing their hands.

Evo, once you or anyone you know have ever been through a bout of hepatitis from some "asswipe" (no pun intended) with poor hygiene habits preparing your food in a restaurant, you will never see germs the same way again!
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  #13  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:03 PM
xash xash is offline
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evolutionbaby, i'm with you on the issue... i don't wash after at home, but i do at public restrooms... i guess it's just habit or maybe conditioning...
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  #14  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:06 PM
xash xash is offline
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ofcourse i'm talking only about #1.

#2 i better be washing anywhere, coz we don't use much toilet paper around these parts
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  #15  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:13 PM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by evolutionbaby
Having just awaken when I wrote the original post (yes I'm on the west coast but that is still no excuse for sleeping past noon--is it? ) I guess I was thinking mostly about all my middle-of-the night trips to the bathoom (being 12wks pregnant makes them way more frequent) and I'll still admit I don't wash my hands after I tinkle, heck, I barely open my eyes, and I don't turn on the light either.

Evo
Just a warning... you may want to start washing after every trip to the bathroom. There are some nasty critters that you can have on your skin that you can transmit to your genitals. At least one of these bacteria can be fatal to a newborn baby. I don't mean to be an alarmist, but I lost my firstborn child to an infection that was likely spread by skin-to-genital contact.

Yes, I know urine is sterile, but handwashing does keep germs to a minimum on your skin and helps stop their spread to other areas of your body, and to your baby once you deliver.

Robin, whose handwashing probably kept her baby from getting VERY sick with RSV.
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  #16  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:14 PM
xash xash is offline
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ofcourse i'm talking only about #1.

#2 i better be washing anywhere, coz we don't use much toilet paper around these parts
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  #17  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:35 PM
evolutionbaby evolutionbaby is offline
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Interesting and informative MsRobyn.

Nice to have someone acknowledge that with all the stuff we touch in our daily lives, it may be that our genitals are much cleaner than our hands!

So now I have to start washing my hands BEFORE and after I use the potty! yikes!

Evo
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  #18  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:43 PM
Enderw24 Enderw24 is offline
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I'm going to comment on the other half of your question:
Do people wash their hands out in public so that others don't think they're gross?

No. I find that peer pressure, social pressure, and a sense of good hygeine have very little effect on public restroom users. I am amazed that there's a very high and consistent rate of non-handwashing after using urinals or stalls.
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  #19  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:50 PM
The Mermaid The Mermaid is offline
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Good and consistant handwashing is your number one defense against infection. You may not think you are contaminating your hand when you wipe with paper even when the paper is dry but you are.

And so is everyone else who is using the bathroom, picking their nose, sneezing, coughing, touching wounds, picking up dog poo or touching surfaces that have been touched by other people who have been wiping, picking, coughing,etc.

Now go wash you hands right now and let's not have this discussion again.
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  #20  
Old 08-24-2002, 05:01 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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QtM = Qadgop the Mercotan

Is urine always sterile?
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  #21  
Old 08-24-2002, 05:57 PM
masonite masonite is offline
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It's not just about touching the "pubic" area. It's about touching any part of your body between, say, mid-thigh to mid-belly. That entire area is just covered with e.coli and other assortied nasties. (You're soaking in it!) I get this information, of course, from Cecil's column linked above, which should be mandatory reading for all schoolchildren.

Of course handwashing doesn't kill 100% of everything (after all, the germs that live permanently on your mid-section don't wash off when you take a shower) but it goes a long way towards thinning the population of what you just transfered from, say, your hips to your hands, just by the act of pulling your pants down.

I myself keep a mental list of all guys at work whom I have ever seen not washing their hands, and remember never to touch anything that belongs to them if I can avoid it. If I was a mean guy, I'd leave anonymous notes all over the office pointing the finger at the Unclean One. When I see a guy leave a stall after doing a groaning #2 (or any stall activity, for that matter) without even bothering to "pretend-wash" his hands if only for my benefit -- well, let's just say I have a pretty low opinion of that person thereafter.

Of course it's because of these "pretend-washers" that you have to use paper towels, or your elbow, to turn off the taps after you wash your own hands. Think about it: guy smears himself with god-knows-what, guy operates the taps without using soap, guy rinses hands for exactly one second, guy operates taps again, guy dries hands on guy's pants, guy opens door (inevitably a design where the bathroom door opens in, note, office architects*). There is now e.coli smeared all over all the surfaces I need to touch, after washing my own hands, just to turn the water off and get out of the bathroom. You better believe I'm gonna protect myself with a paper towel, ineffective as that probably is. At least I'm doing something with my hands besides wringing them.

*Bathroom doors in public places should open out, preferably with no mechanism to turn the latch, so you can just sort of lean out of the bathroom, shoulder-first. Either that, or post armed guards inside the bathroom trained in handwashing enforcement.
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  #22  
Old 08-24-2002, 06:39 PM
evolutionbaby evolutionbaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ringo
QtM = Qadgop the Mercotan

Is urine always sterile?
no, but it should be. When urine is not sterile that means you have a kidney/bladder/urinary tract infection.

Qadgop the mercotan does not ring a bell to me!

Evo
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  #23  
Old 08-24-2002, 06:42 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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Qadgop the mercotan does not ring a bell to me!
The first poster to respond, and he is a physician.
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  #24  
Old 08-24-2002, 07:56 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ringo
QtM = Qadgop the Mercotan

Is urine always sterile?
Unless dysfunction or disease exists, it should be sterile, when obtained freshly from the bladder.
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  #25  
Old 08-24-2002, 08:43 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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"peer" pressure.
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  #26  
Old 08-24-2002, 09:01 PM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by evolutionbaby
[B]how DO you come in direct contact with your "pubic area" when wiping with TP after urinating?
Typically the sides of my hands brush against my inner thighs. Loads of bacteria there, too.
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  #27  
Old 08-24-2002, 09:22 PM
nashiitashii nashiitashii is offline
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Well, for starters, I always wash my hands after I use the bathroom...
Secondly, most public bathrooms are cleaner than your bathroom at home. Either way, washing your hands [with or without soap: the soap mainly acts as something to add friction and take off any residues/stains] for at least 30 seconds is the suggested time for killing germs.
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  #28  
Old 08-25-2002, 02:37 AM
dwc1970 dwc1970 is offline
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I am quite lax about washing my hands at home and will usually only do so if I am going to be eating something right away. At work I always wash my hands partly because I am concerned about the perceptions from my co-workers. Most people at my place of work wash their hands, and I tend to notice when someone does not. Now, in a public public restroom, I usually don't notice or even care if the other people wash their hands, but for the same reasons (other people's preceptions, and that often times I am in a place where I am eating). I also try to use the same paper towel to open the door when leaving as long as a receptacle is handy for me to toss the paper towel in once the door is open. If this is not possible or practical then if I have to pull the door open I will use my pinky finger to at least keep contact to a minimum. If pushing the door is necessary I will use my arm to push it open.
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  #29  
Old 08-25-2002, 11:30 AM
Hanna Hanna is offline
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I almost hate to ask this, but what about oral sex? Is that a big no-no? I mean, that is direct mouth to genital (and usually the surrounding area) contact. Totally unsanitary, I guess?
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  #30  
Old 08-25-2002, 11:56 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Boscibo
I almost hate to ask this, but what about oral sex? Is that a big no-no? I mean, that is direct mouth to genital (and usually the surrounding area) contact. Totally unsanitary, I guess?
Of course it's unsanitary, that's why it's fun!

Actually, early in a relationship with lots of body fluid exchange, both parties may get gastro-intestinal illnesses as they get exposed to the bacterial strains of their new partner. Eventually it gets evened out and people adapt (or die). In family groups, most people share the same strains of E. coli and other intestinal/genito-urological bugs.

It's getting exposed to a strain that's new to you that'll make you sick. Of course, rare individuals carry some extremely toxic strains of E. Coli or other bugs, and pass them around themselves, without getting ill, a la Typhoid Mary. But that's the exception, not the rule.

QtM, MD
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  #31  
Old 08-25-2002, 12:00 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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...and people adapt (or die).
I guess that's pretty much the whole story.
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  #32  
Old 08-25-2002, 01:10 PM
Peta Tzunami Peta Tzunami is offline
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Actually the oral sex question is also discussed in Cecil's column linked up at the top.

And...his answer explains a bit of why, like a few others have admitted (I suspect others do but won't admit), I wash less frequently in my own home (especially, as mentioned, following those "midnight runs" to the lavatory when even turning on the light is a big deal). So here it is: Public restrooms (no baths in them so not "bathrooms") are uses by the public, which means more germ variations. Specifically I refer to this passage in Cecil's follow-up to the column:

Quote:
... the truth is you can catch lots of bugs via oral sex. Many of them are transmitted by, or have their transmission facilitated by, coliform or other fecal bacteria or, for that matter, fecal viruses. There's no point in stopping now though. You can catch most of the same germs from intercourse, kissing, or simply holding hands...

The question is how much risk. The answer is probably not much, unless they're unusually out there sexually. A key factor in gay bowel syndrome and in the spread of STDs generally is multiple sex partners, which exponentially increases your exposure to infection. In contrast, monogamous couples, whether gay or straight, soon achieve "homeostasis"--they've swapped germs, didn't come down with anything, and thereafter coexist in a state of microbial equilibrium. Emphasis mine.
In other words, in an apartment with just me and hubby residing, who share germs in much more intimate ways already, I assumed that one or both of us failing a handwash after a quick, late-night tinkle is not going to be a probable cause of death for us.

Also, I have greater control over my own lavatory so I know how clean or unclean it is as compared to any public (anyone can access) or semi-public (office facility where access is limited to select group) facility. After all, even a public restroom which is clean in appearance can be full of nasty germs. At least we're learning more here and now, and I'm sure it will have all of us washing more frequently SOON!
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  #33  
Old 08-25-2002, 02:13 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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evolutionbaby:

Outcast, unclean!
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  #34  
Old 08-25-2002, 03:17 PM
Haywood Haywood is offline
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My female co-workers all warn the guys about another lady at work. This lady goes into the stall, does her duties, and then exits the rest room. She never washes her hands. In addition, this lady frequently complains of upset stomach and nauseau. (I wonder why) Whenever any of has has a bag of cookies, chips or pretzels and Ms. No Soap wants some we quickly shake out some for her. If she manages to get her hand in the bag we say "You know, I think I have had enough of these, why don't you take them." Potlucks require someone to watch to see what she brings in and then inform everyone else what dish she brought. She always has loads of her own food to take home.
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  #35  
Old 08-26-2002, 05:15 AM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Peta Tzunami
So here it is: Public restrooms (no baths in them so not "bathrooms") ...




That term, of course, being more appropriate, because I like to take a nap sometimes on public stalls.

What is this, the misnomer switching game?

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  #36  
Old 08-26-2002, 11:14 AM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
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Considering all the nasties in the world around us, why not take the opportunity to wash your hands when it arises? Sure, the nether regions are germ-filled, but so is that dallop of pus on the cube wall that you accidentially and unknowingly brushed your hand against. Somebody sneezed on that door handle. A teenager thought it was funny to spit on that handrail.

Your hands are too involved in this world, keep em clean.
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  #37  
Old 08-26-2002, 11:49 AM
CRorex CRorex is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by evolutionbaby


ah, okay. BUT, being a girl, I don't touch my "pubic area" when I pee. Maybe I over-use toilet paper but I usually have a big enough wad in my hand that there is no skin-to-skin contact.

True, us girls can't pee gracefully standing up, but we also don't have to come into physical contact with that nasty 'pubic area' as you call it.

Evo
If toilet tissue was a bioligical impermiable material I'd be wearing safety gear made out of it, and not latex and plastic coated polymears.

...

That being said, your underwear is covered in bacteria its a nice warm moist enviroment down there, same as underarms. Now throw fecal bacteria into the mix and it gets nastier.

Now lets mix in what's on the toilet seat and what's in the toilet water...

FYI, each time you flush the toilet you are spreading bacterium around in an 8 foot radius. Which means, yes fecal bacteria are getting in your hair when you flush (unless you put down the toilet seat, or are using your ass as a plug).

Also FYI: If you flush the toilet with the lid up in your bathroom and your tooth brush is out in the open: Guess what!?

In short: Remind me never to touch anything some of you touch
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  #38  
Old 08-26-2002, 08:16 PM
masonite masonite is offline
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I think I'm just going to stop going to the bathroom. Seems easier.

Masonite, who covers his toothbrush and turns quickly AWAY from the toilet just after flushing it....
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  #39  
Old 08-26-2002, 09:32 PM
Peta Tzunami Peta Tzunami is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by SenorBeef
That term, of course, being more appropriate, because I like to take a nap sometimes on public stalls.

What is this, the misnomer switching game?

Ha ha. Actually I wrote an article on public and semi-public facilities, and the designers I interviewed emphasized that terminology.

Of course, if we use older terminology, this thread would be utterly unnecessary...as my gramma used to call them "washrooms." Certainly you would always wash if you were visiting the washroom.

The term restrooms developed since public facilities used to include a small area with chairs or sofa for women suffering from "the vapors" (i.e. faintness due to tight corsetry) or otherwise requiring a rest.

So, I take it that a lot of people in this thread would like the 'wave of the future' technology which is becoming very popular in design, namely touchless fixtures.
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