‘Pretty’ girls are quite gross

Leslie Arntz

My dorm room is directly across the hall from the bathroom — convenient in one sense, amusing in another and disgusting over all.

In my various lavatory observations, the various hygienic habits of my fellow residents amaze me. Girls hover over the sinks each morning applying a pound of makeup and return at night, scrubbing and scraping it off with 10 pounds of products. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Shampoos, conditioners, exfoliators, hydrators, scrubs, masks, pastes, patches and every kind of topical cream the mind can fathom fill brightly colored plastic totes.

Girls who lug in appliances and probes and all types of utensils for the daily embellishment of their hair and faces are the very same ones who repeatedly neglect to give their hands a cursory dash under some running water.

I guess I was falsely informed that much of the civilized world, age 11 and up, takes the time to clean its hands. I don’t understand how a group of people so preoccupied with smelling good, feeling soft and looking great could neglect such a standard procedure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection.” Everywhere you look, a fellow student is sniffling or sneezing or coughing the deep, chest-straining cough. It’s cold and flu season.

Washing your hands will prevent the spread of both of these ailments. Why wouldn’t you want to prevent further infiltration? It’s a seasonal epidemic that is no surprise to anyone, and hand-washing isn’t a new concept.

It’s amazing what can be passed on when you neglect to scrub your hands after leaving a bathroom stall. Strep throat, the flu, pneumonia, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, pink eye and vaginitis are just some of the diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and germs living on your hands. Most are passed through fecal-oral contact.

Think about the handrails you touch while walking up the stairs. Think about who touched that door handle. Actually, fecal matter is one contaminant found on keyboards. Think twice about eating while doing research at the library’s computers. Who knows what else might be on that computer?

I became so disgusted with my floormates that I decided to address the problem head-on. Thoughts of conducting floor meetings in which the guilty were publicly pointed out have crossed my mind. Each then would be presented with a red “V” to wear for two weeks or longer (depending on the severity of their infraction) — thus marking them as vile accessories to disease. Instead, I opted for a nameless, faceless public awareness campaign.

I have created, for public distribution, a series of four signs to be strategically placed around the bathroom. Each serves its own purpose: raising awareness, providing proper washing technique and even shaming gross people into the practice. If you have noticed a growing trend of non-washers in the bathroom you use, contact me and I will send you the files containing the aforementioned materials printable in whatever quantity is needed.

Ladies are supposed to be the kinder, gentler, cleaner of the sexes. So, please remember this: If you can remember to wipe, you can remember to wash.

Leslie Arntz is a freshman magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].