Like Children, Men Need to Be Told to Wash Their Filthy Hands

Illustration for article titled Like Children, Men Need to Be Told to Wash Their Filthy Hands

Germaphobes, you're going to need to exit the building. Gone? Great. Poop smear butthole gunk! Aha, I knew you were still here, and I think I just taught you a lesson. Goodbye.

Now, everyone else. Researchers from several American universities conducted a survey during which they asked men to self-report their hand washing ways. According to their findings, men claim they wash their hands 75 percent of the time after going to the bathroom. But this sounds suspiciously high.

Let's be honest: I would've guessed guys washed 30 — maybe 40 — percent of the time. If that hunch is correct, then the two times most men wash their hands after visiting the bathroom are probably after taking a crap and getting some unpleasant material on their hands mid-wipe, or if they're in public and they take a survey and they're liars.


Certainly that's not true of all men, but in an informal survey of some guys on GChat (the control group of the future!), the overriding sentiment was, "Lots of dudes don't wash their hands. Men are disgusting. Except me." One individual said, "I knew a guy who would pee, handle his penis, and then touch the faces of ladies. Not as, like, a thing, but because it was all whatever." He paused and added, "Make sure to quote me as someone who washes their hands after every trip to the bathroom, even if that trip was only to wash my hands."

But maybe the men surveyed just randomly find themselves around unclean dudes (all of the time)? It could also be that.

Also, what kind of washing are we talking about here? Is it briefly running your hands under cold water, or are you soaping them up in hot water and singing "Happy Birthday" two times? Point is, this needs to be documented on a hidden camera.

Accepting the men's self-reporting, the researchers visited bathrooms the world over in Michigan to see if signage that tells men to wash their hands would push the 25 percent of pig pens to clean up.

This led to a field experiment in which signs were posted in bathrooms that read "4 out of 5 Males Wash Their Hands," with pictures of students wearing Michigan State University hats and a guide to effective hand washing.

Researchers in the bathroom then recorded hand-washing behavior and marked how well the guide was followed. When the participants exited the bathroom they were approached by experimenters and willing participants filled out a questionnaire.

The hand washing increased to 86 percent, the researchers said.

It's almost lovable that 11 percent of these guys weren't ashamed to say they didn't wash their hands. Isn't this the kind of thing you unreservedly lie about? Maybe these men are the grown-up versions of the kids who failed marshmallow test — their poor impulse control probably forced them to drop out of school to sell marshmallows in a gutter and then not wash their hands.


Whether you trust the research or not, it's good that something is aiming to encourage people to wash their hands. Flu season is here, and lots of weaker, older, and younger folks are vulnerable to all sorts of nasty germs. Please learn to wash your hands properly so your feces fingers don't kill us all.

Signs in Bathrooms Increase Male Hand Washing [UPI]
Update: Here's the report

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Stone me if you will, but I almost never wash my hands at home. It seems pointless, since I use enough TP to protect my hands in the first place. There's a George Carlin clip about only really needing to wash your hands if you get stuff on your hands, and I'm inclined to agree.

In public or at work, yes, I wash my hands every time, partially out of consideration for others and partially because of the increased amount of nastiness I encounter there (I teach so I'm surrounded by snotty ill children all the time). But at home, why bother? My darling BF who obsessively washes his hands gets sick 10x worse than I do. Anecdata, yes, but I think it's important. We are way too hyper-sanitary, it's killing our immune systems.