I guess this is sort of a bleg addressed to readers with a medical,
bacteriological, or epidemiological training. This morning’s New York
Post carried an item — it’s on page 3, but I can’t find it in the online
edition — about a survey of people using public rest rooms. Apparently 20
percent of men don’t bother to wash their hands with soap after using the
facilities. Women are more punctilious; only 7.4 percent skip the hand
Now, I have been thinking for years, and occasionally arguing the point with
friends (you know, when the stock of conversational topics gets really
low) that this entire business of washing the hands after number one is
dumb. (Number two I have no argument with.) Under modern standards of
personal hygiene, and especially in a place like New York City, the average
American, at an average moment in an average day, has way more germs on
his hands than he has on any body part that has been safely tucked away
under layers of clothing since the morning shower. The sensible thing,
therefore, would be to wash the hands before touching other body parts.
Am I wrong?