Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Open Letter to Men Who Don't Wash Their Hands in the Public Bathroom

An Open Letter to Men Who Don't Wash Their Hands in the Public Bathroom

I know this is nothing compared to a roadside bomb, campus shootings or the health care fiasco, but why don't you stop for thirty lousy seconds to wet your hands with water? Perhaps you are hungry for some finger food? Perhaps you long to hold hands with your girlfriend? Or maybe you are giving out those leaflets outside, advertising antibacterial hand-cream and are running back to do your duty?

Perhaps you think that the human body is resilient enough to kill your germs? Maybe you are a terrorist on the path of biological warfare? Perchance you think that shutting down the water flow on the faucet will make your hands dirty again, so why bother? But the automatic faucets seem to make no difference. Perhaps you want to make a statement: real man cares less.

I would ask you why, but what if you flip me the bird? I am not afraid of you, but I prefer clean, proud birds soaring in the wind, over the filthy, flightless ones. Does that mean I am a chicken who rejects a stand on the public health issue out of fear? How do the foreign men behave? Is there a difference between the Old and the New Europe?

I hope that women wash their hands after the toilet. Why else do they spend more time in their bathrooms than men do? With that comforting thought, I open the door of a public toilet, wrapping it with the paper towel first. I am ready to hold hands with my wife. Will she finger-feed me a snack now?