GOOD

Confession: I Didn't Always Wash After Peeing; Now I Will

Let's settle one of man's greatest debates: You really should be washing your hands after you pee.

I'm going to be straight with you: I used to not wash my hands after peeing. Before you write me off completely, you should know that I've always washed my hands after shitting (I'm not a monster!), just as I've always scrubbed up if I'm about to eat food. But for as long as I can remember, chances are that if I were taking a quick break at the urinal at a bar or movie theater, I would zip up and breeze right past the sinks when I was finished.


Sound gross to you? Maybe, but my perspective was that if a man showers regularly, wears clean underwear, and doesn't pee on his hands, then what does he have to wash? It's not like I'm dragging my penis through the gutter, so theoretically it should be as clean as my chest or neck. In 2009 I worked in the same building as a leading climate scientist who would never wash his hands after peeing. When I asked him why, he said it was to save water and paper. "It's not like I'm peeing all over my hands," he said. "Exactly!" I responded.

On top of all this, I gave up using soap and shampoo (save for my armpits and crotch) back in January. In the ensuing weeks, during which I've suffered no adverse effects, I've grown more and more skeptical of the Sanitary Industrial Complex we've created in America. The one that tells us to use "face wash" to stay pretty, to rub sanitizer over our hands at every free moment, and to take so many antibiotics as to make our current medicines useless.

As children, we were told time and again to always wash our hands after using the bathroom. Growing up, that made sense to me. But as I got older and stopped touching filthy things like the monkey bars or other mouth-breathing children, washing my hands all the time started to seem archaic—something boys do, not men. In fact, on a recent list of things men shouldn't do, Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes made number eight "No Washing Your Hands After You Piss."

"This is always a crowd pleasing conversation in my microbiology classes," says Pat Fidopiastis, an assistant professor of biology at Cal Poly. Fidopiastis says he's heard all of my hand-washing protestations before, and to all of them he has the same response: "Perianal sweat."

The perianal area is the small patch of flesh just outside the rectum, a spot on the human body that "inevitably becomes loaded with fecal bacteria," according to Fidopiastis. ("Frankly, toilet paper only satisfies your visual senses into thinking that you're clean"). When you start to perspire, even a little, sweat from the perianal area starts dripping around in your underwear, eventually getting into the fabric and moving onto your genitals.

"The point is that simply touching the penis in an effort to direct your urine flow can be more than enough to transfer harmful microbes to your hands, and then on to the pretzels sitting in bowl on the bar," says Fidopiastis.

"But what about oral sex?" I ask. "We never tell people to clean their crotches before oral sex the way we tell them to wash their hands before they eat." Fidopiastis says that's because the human mouth is actually far less hospitable to bacteria than, say, chips and dip at a party.

"The mouth is a well-protected place," he says. "Your saliva is full of antimicrobial compounds and saliva mostly ends up being swallowed into you highly acidic stomach full of digestive enzymes. So the levels of microbes someone is likely to get into their mouth straight off a typical hygienic penis more than likely won't be enough to breach these formidable barriers."

Lest you think I'm totally gross, Fidopiastis adds that there may be instances when we needn't wash our hands after peeing. "If you can urinate in a hands-free urinal and pee without touching you penis, can you not wash?" he says. "I guess my answer there would be a half-hearted, 'Sure, why not?'"

Fidopiastis says that a 2003 American Society of Microbiology study found 30 percent of the people using bathrooms in New York City airports weren't washing their hands when they were done. If that tells us how most Americans go about their daily hygiene, there are a lot of dirty hands out there. And yet most people are able to avoid horrible illnesses. "If not washing your hands every single time we use the bathroom were as bad as it seems," he says, "we would definitely have found out by now, just as we've come to realize just how bad smoking is."

Articles
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
Business