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The Evolution of Men’s Hand Washing

The Evolution of Men’s Hand Washing

By Gary Chalk

Men and women. We can’t even get on the same page when we wash our hands.

Women are from ‘Planet: Invigorating Eucalyptus Moisture-Rich Cleansing Bar with Essence of Soothing Organic Free-Trade Mexican Vanilla Bean.’

Men are from ‘Planet: There’s Hand-Soap???’

For men, washing our hands is a simple straightforward process.

First, we yank the tap handle open with enough force to replicate Yosemite’s Old Faithful geyser! Water gushes throughout the entire bathroom–an amount equal to when football players douse the Gatorade cooler over their coach. After we wash our hands, we dry them—on our pant legs.

University-trained archeologists–who are thankful Uber came along so they can find steady work–have unearthed evidence tracing men using their pant legs to dry their wets hands back to Fred Flintstone. To be honest though, Fred wiped his hands on his animal print dress—the one he topped off with a tie featuring a Windsor knot the size of Utah! I’m just saying.

Think about it. It was the Stone Age…

People lived in dingy, filthy caves–sort of like your kids college dorm room. But instead of drinking cheap beer and eating pizza, our ancestors spent their time drawing stick figures on walls. This was the start of graffiti.

Back in those days men wore long pants to protect their legs when they bent down to clear rocks from the living room floor; remember this was before shag carpeting was invented.

Then the Pre, Pre-Oprah Era arrived…

It was the 1860’s and men continued to wear long pants so their legs wouldn’t stick to the benches on the trains they rode to the factories. Remember, this was the industrial revolution when workers perfected centrifugal force so every home in America could have a salad spinner.

Then the 20th century dawned: the Pier 1 Era. And decorator towels were invented.

Cable television decorating shows convinced women to place these chic, ultra-soft, Egyptian cotton towels– ‘available in an array of sophisticated colours to enhance any bathroom decor’– alongside little bowls of dead leaves and twigs called ‘potpourri.’

Everything was well and good. But then it happened. Men began to–get this!–actually dry their hands using these towels that were placed beside the sink!

Faster than you could say ‘elegance and practicality meets two-sink bathroom vanities’– middle age, beef-jerk eating men were in deep doo-doo.

At dinner parties men would go to the bathroom to clean the shrimp sauce we splattered on our relax-fit khakis with slightly tapered legs. Then, we’d remember the last thing our wife said when we were standing at the front door: “Dear, remember if you go to the bathroom, DON’T dry your hands on the decorator towels! We want to be invited back again.”

Today, it’s the Netflix Era and manufacturers have developed the next great invention for men to dry their hands: the electric hand dryer.

These electric hand dryers are mounted on the wall of public washrooms. Standing in a pool of water dripping from our hands, men smack the livin’ bejeebers out of the heavy-duty start button to begin the drying process.

Ladies, you probably haven’t been in a men’s washroom since the time you saw the lineup to the Women’s Room at halftime at a football game, so let me describe how powerful these hand dryers are…

Imagine a blast of air equal to the amount of thrust when NASA launches their rockets! Picture your husband wearing noise-eliminating headphones and flailing his hands under the hand dryer like he’s on the deck of an aircraft carrier!– only to witness ‘firsthand’ (Ha! Ha!)– two fingers blown off!

‘On the other hand’ (Ha! Ha!) these electric hand dryers aren’t created equal. The units come in two designs:

  1. Useless, and
  2. Heavy-duty AKA: dries your hands down to the bones, which is what you have left when the dryer stops!

Some public washrooms insist on providing the older ‘Useless’ technology: when you place your hands underneath the hand dryer– it slowwwwly groans getting up to speed.

Other public washrooms have hand dryers that instruct you to place your wet hands in them and slowly move them up and down. Of course these dryers stop before your hands are dry. This leads to Plan B: you quickly give your hands a quick wipe on your pant legs. That’ll have to do.

But here’s the problem…

Inevitably, just as you leave the washroom you meet someone who offers to shake your hand. OMG!

Immediately we tuck our hands into our armpits–and sort of scrunch them around in a circular fashion–which makes us look like a silverback gorilla in a L.L Bean golf shirt sending out mating signals!!

“Um, err, Jim. It’s not what you’re thinking. The water on my hands was leftover from the hand dryer.”

This post was originally posted on Living Retired and was reprinted with permission.

Gary Chalk is a retired baby boomer and has written for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and a member of the Humor Writers of America. In his weekly column ‘Living Retired’ he pokes fun at everything he’s gleaned from learning, laughing, loving, and living life fully with thousands of readers across North America.  His keynote presentation ‘I Don’t Have Wrinkles, I Have Laugh Lines’ gets audiences roaring as he relives his on-air bloopers as a radio announcer and brings his authentic robustness that seasons and sparks his writing to life. You can reach Gary through his website.