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No offense, but I really don’t want to shake your hand…

April 8, 2009, 9:22 PM

Those who know me in person know that I place a high value on personal hygiene. I make sure that I am very clean in the morning, and attempt to maintain that level of clean throughout the day. Likewise, I think I probably wash my hands on average about once an hour, or whenever I think that my hands are starting to feel dirty.

Seriously, at work alone, I think I probably wash my hands about seven or eight times a day. Then outside work, I still wash a lot – after using the restroom, before eating, after eating, after sneezing, after riding public transportation (one of the first things I do when I arrive at work is wash my hands post-Metro), after driving the car, after shopping, plus if I just generally feel like it needs it.

And thus we come to the part of our culture that I absolutely hate – the handshake. Skin to skin contact with a part of someone’s body that handles a lot of things, and not all of it something I would want to touch. In my 27 years in this world, I’ve seen too many people in many, many men’s rooms either leave the restroom entirely without washing after doing their business, or putting their hands under a faucet for about half a second and considering their hands washed. And people wonder why I don’t like shaking hands with people. Seriously – if you go to the restroom, touch your crotch as part of the normal course of things in there, and then leave the restroom without washing (or do the aforementioned poor excuse for washing), don’t even think about offering to shake my hand. I don’t want to go near your hand.

And even for people who do wash their hands after using the restroom, I still don’t know where that hand has been, and don’t want to go near it, and it’s nothing personal against anyone. It’s just kind of like yuck. Often times, after I shake hands with someone, I will make moves toward a sink to re-wash my hands as soon as it is possible to do so without offending someone (it would be rude to greet someone, shake their hand, and then immediately go wash).

Let me say this, people: wash your hands, and wash them a LOT.

And interestingly enough, I won’t use hand sanitizer gels. You see, those things don’t make me feel clean, because while they may (read: may) kill bacteria, all the dirt and whatever other gunk was on your hands before you “sanitized” is still there, plus whatever residue from the hand sanitizer is now on there as well. I’m sorry, but that’s not enough for me. It has to be soap and water to make my hands feel clean. This is why low soap levels in public restrooms really annoy me, too, since it is preventing me from being as clean as I want to be. This is especially bothersome in restaurants and any other place that serves food, because then I cannot get whatever gunk is on my hands off before I eat something. And then what’s on my hands is possibly transmitted over to the food, and then all of that ends up inside of me. Not good. I have been known to pop open soap dispensers with low soap levels in public restrooms to get at the residual soap that’s stuck in whatever nooks that the regular dispenser can’t reach. And if I can’t get any, I will find another restroom that does.

The quest for cleanliness in a dirty world… Needless to say, cleanliness is way up there on things I value highly. Please… wash your hands, and wash them often. Maybe then I’ll be willing to shake your hand.

Web site: Proper hand washing - read it, follow it.

Song: Video on proper hand washing

Quote: And for those wondering, if I know I'm going to get my hands dirty for whatever reason, like if I'm doing something messy, that's fine. But there needs to be adequate hand-washing facilities for afterwards. It is a must.

Categories: Myself