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The Number One Fear…

At least where public restrooms are concerned, PRWeb tells us that touching the door to exit the restroom is our biggest fear related to using public facilities. Then in their PR flack kind of way they are pleased to announce that the problem has been solved by their client. But first, some reputable firm data:

According to Kimblery-Clark over 55% of the people surveyed feared the door handles in Public Restrooms. Now thanks to ASC Hygiene the problem has been resolved with Germ Free Door Handles.

The technique, if you must know, is that “ASC Hygiene BioGuard is employing AgION Technologies silver ion based antimicrobial science to produce a new protective finish for door pulls and plates that minimizes bacterial growth on the surface of the finished product. BioGuard is now available on ASC door pulls, push bars, and protection plates.”

Then, to assure us that our other fears are being addressed, they invite us to “learn more about Touch Free Hygiene such as Self Cleaning Toilet Seats and Touch Free Restrooms.”

Leaving the restroom for a second, The School for Champions tells us that “There are two major types of fear in humans. One is the fear of physical harm. The other is the fear of looking foolish in the eyes of your peers and being ridiculed because of it.”

While I was on the subject, I also found out what is bugging Olivia Olsen, a 72 year-old accountant from Koppom, Sweden:

“I hesitate to admit this, but my greatest fear has always been water, water of all kinds, but particularly the open sea. So great is my fear of water that I bathe only once a week, and only in the form of a brief shower, never in the bathtub. I wear a heavy perfume to disguise my body odor.”

This has been another random trip along the information highway. Thanks to Google, we can see whose opinions on their greatest fear do best in a search engine.

About John Vinturella

Retired businessman and professor.
  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    Here’s a random comment. Your post reminded me of a scene in The Aviator where Howard Hughes gets sort of stuck in the bathroom with no towels and is afraid of touching the door handle. I was busting out laughing because I completely related to him at that very moment (even though I’m no where near the germaphobe he was).

    Anyway, I don’t know about the germ-free door handles. Even though it’s supposedly self cleaning, something about it still seems dirty to me.

  • Eric Olsen

    great, logically randomized post: who says they all have to be horizontal? Frankly, it has never occured to me to fear a bathroom door handle, perhaps I should. But if it swings out and does not require some kind of knob-turning, I believe I would open it with my shoulder anyway.

    Maybe the unfortunately-named Swedish woman has rabies, which would explain the hydrophobia. Perhaps someone should mention to her that she is 97% water – stupid Squareheads.

  • http://www.thebeautifullull.com Tom Johnson

    According to Kimblery-Clark over 55% of the people surveyed feared the door handles in Public Restrooms.

    The other 45%? The assholes who can’t be bothered to spend 10 seconds washing their hands. And that lady who’s afraid of water.

    I’m with Eric: outward-swinging doors. That’s the solution, not some surely ultra-expensive anti-microbial door handle.

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    Great, thanks!

    “The other is the fear of looking foolish in the eyes of your peers and being ridiculed because of it.”

    This reminds me of a novel I read about the holocaust years and a master torturer who sized up his victims well and didn’t believe in using ‘force’ if at all avoidable.

    It’s the scene where the secret agents or whoever pick up an elderly lady who is a bit rotund. He realises her weakness for food, offers her lunch that she eats at a desk in a very busy office. He stays with her to ensure she eats and enjoys several glasses of wine with her meal.

    He then starts to ply her with questions, the answering of which will put a female friend or relative in jeopardy.

    She refuses to answer. He continues to offer her wine.

    Finally she requests to be allowed to use the ladies room. He tells her he is very busy or some such thing and that she needs to answer him before she can go.

    When it gets unbearable, she begs him beseechingly, ‘Please, I need to use the bathroom.’ She keeps looking around, embarrassed to wet herself in public, not realising that the agents and staff in the room have all been instructed to go about their normal business.

    They walk her to the bathroom, she’s inside, the lavatory just beyond the door she stands in front of. He continues to ply her with questions and insist that she needs to answer first.

    She lets down her friend and is allowed to urinate in the ‘correct’ place.

    Up to last week I remembered this novel fragment and asked myself again why didn’t she just wet herself? And would you really have done that, Angie? ;-)

  • Eric Olsen

    fascinating Angela: it IS all in the head one way or another

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Sounds (a bit, remotely) like a new Monk episode this season in which his assistant tries to blackmail Monk into paying her expenses by withholding “wipes”.

  • Eric Olsen

    “withholding wipes” – I like that phrase, is it in the tax code?

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    According to Kimblery-Clark over 55% of the people surveyed feared the door handles in Public Restrooms.

    The other 45%? The assholes who can’t be bothered to spend 10 seconds washing their hands. And that lady who’s afraid of water.

    I wash my hands, but I can’t be bothered to fear the door handles in Public Restrooms. Get a real fear.

  • http://www.aschygiene.com Paul Schmidt

    First let me say to Roy Smith, the minimum time you need to wash your hands is 30 seconds not 10. Second to Tom and Eric, it would make sense that the doors open outwards. But since they are all designed to open inward due to fire codes and the cost of changing a door frame is more expensive than door handles, it is far cheaper to change the door handles.

    Since over 30% of the people don’t wash their hand and there is a very good chance that they have urine or feces on their hands in some form, there is a good chance you will pick up this bacteria and transmit to yourself or worse if you have a child to them.

    According to the CDC and FDA there are over 22,000,000 cases of food borne illnesses a year related to poor hand hygiene.

    The best way to prevent the spread of germs is good hand hygiene, well since 30% of Americans don’t feel its important to wash their hands and another 35% think running water on their hands for 5 seconds does the trick, we have to design products to protect the part of the public that does care.

    Next time you eat out or go to the doctor do you expect your doctor, cook or server to have good hand hygiene. And even if they do, the still have to touch the door handle to get out of the restroom.

    I guess it all comes down to what do you want to end up in your mouth and body.

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    All I said is that I wash my hands – I didn’t specify 10 seconds or any other time frame.

  • Eric Olsen

    I wash my hands too, but soap is for pussies

  • http://www.thebeautifullull.com Tom Johnson

    I was the one who made the comment about being too lazy to spend 10 seconds washing your hands. I was unaware that 30 seconds is needed to properly wash your hands. I have learned today. Still, my point remains: no one should be such a rush that 10, or even 30 seconds is an issue. Wash ‘em. As I’ve jokingly said to a coworker in response to this issue, “Do you want to touch my penis? No? I don’t want to touch yours either! Wash your hands!”

  • Dawn

    I use straight rubbing alcohol and bleach, combined with boiling water.

    And I don’t think I want to touch your penis, but would you like to touch mine?

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    My daddy gave me words to live by: “It’s okay to pick your nose and scratch your ass at the same time. Just don’t switch hands.”

    Washing your hands does nothing if any person who went out through the door ahead of you didn’t wash theirs. So it’s the classic Prisoner Dilemma.

    I carry Purell and redo my hands after I leave the restroom. Then I can pick my nose in peace.

  • http://www.scs-seats.com Eric Bergman

    Hey Roy you said 10 seconds

    The other 45%? The assholes who can’t be bothered to spend 10 seconds washing their hands. And that lady who’s afraid of water.

  • http://www.scs-seats.com Eric Bergman

    Hey Dr. Pat

    Thats why they are making germ free door handles.

    Washing your hands does nothing if any person who went out through the door ahead of you didn’t wash theirs. So it’s the classic Prisoner Dilemma.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Roy didn’t say 10 seconds. He was quoting Tom from comment 3.

    I’ve always wondered why public restroom doors open inward. It seems to me any rational fire code would specify the exact opposite.

    Think about it. If a crowd of people is trying to escape from the bathroom during a fire, a door that opens outward would allow them to escape easily. A door that opens inward will make it impossible for the people nearest the door to pull it open when they are being crushed by the weight of the panicky crowd behind them.

    There. Now we can all fear burning to death in a public restroom, instead of worrying about germs on the door handle like a bunch of wimps.

    Okay, time for me to go to sleep. Pleasant dreams, everyone.

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    after tear-jerking laughter….

    I don’t have a penis for anyone to touch, nor do I think soap is just for pussies but I KNOW that after dousing with rubbing alchohol, bleach and boiling water, there won’t be anything left to touch with, much less open, inward yielding entranceways…

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    eyes still laughing too much… sorry.. ‘alcohol’
    ..still looks strange ;-)

  • Scott

    I can’t believe I just spent the last 10 minutes reading about 10 seconds of hand washing. Surely we all have something more urgent in out lives to talk about. Except the penis thing…

  • Eric Olsen

    i have thought more about bathroom doors and they DO open out when there are two of them. They open in on he way in and out on the way out. I knee, kick, shoulder, head butt, lean, etc. open these things all the time without touching them with my hand(s).

    Obviously they open out or I couldn’t do this, and like Victor said, what possible logic would there be for them to open inward anyway?

    And with all that tile, porcelain and water in a bathroom it would be difficlt to burn to death, although smoke inhalation is always a possibility

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    soap is for pussies

    But not the soap with perfumes. That makes pussies itch or burn. Ivory works well down there, although some women swear you just need to rinse with water and use no soap at all.

    When the bathroom door opens in, I try to open it with one or two pinkies to put the least hand surface on the door handle. If it opens out, I do what Eric does and use a shoulder or forearm to open it.

    I sometimes carry the liquid anti-bacterial hand cleaner, the type that you rub on but don’t rinse off. But that doesn’t get rid of any poo or pee you might have gotten on your hands; it just kills the germs they contain, so it strikes me as an insufficient solution.

  • Eric Olsen

    very incisive analysis, bhw, just sort of denatures the offending material rather than banishing it to waste treatment oblivion, just waste treating it on your hands, as it were.

    And re pussies, I was referring more to entire wussy entities rather than delimited anatomical regions

  • JG

    There is now a product that can take care of these problems. http://www.footflush.com for under $30.
    This is an item that can easily be installed on your toilet to make it hands free!!! I bought one for each of my four bathrooms and they are fantastic. My kids love them and the product helped teach my youngest son to use the bathroom properly.