wwmmd? (what would miss manners do?)

Gentle Reader, following on an earlier post about strange bathroom behaviors of people at my office, I have to comment on a new disturbing trend I’ve observed over the past several months. Granted, we live in an increasingly sanitized, disinfected, antibacterialized and mysophobic society–don’t get me started on my vision that the strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria whose evolution we’re facilitating will find us one day battling their rodent-sized descendants with baseball bats–leading to an epidemic, apparently, of people being terrified to touch a door handle with their bare hands.

OK, fine, if you want to use a paper towel to grasp the door handle in order to exit the restroom–notwithstanding that there’s a huge button to automatically open the door, so that you don’t even have to touch it with other than a shirt-clad elbow–I don’t have a problem with that. In addition to avoiding the colonies of germs you envision there, you’re also not contaminating the handle with your own. But, really, must you then throw the paper towel on the floor? Were you raised to throw your napkin on the dining room carpet after every meal? When visiting friends at their house, do you regularly toss the handtowel on the bathroom tile after wiping your hands? Are there piles of used diapers collecting on the floor just to one side of the changing table in your kid’s nursery?

I thought at first that this might be an isolated incident, a single individual on my corridor, and that this lack of concern for proper waste disposal might be a sad but forgivable manifestation of some mental illness or some childhood trauma. But I’ve noticed that this practice seems so widespread at the Institute that signs have begun to spring up in men’s rooms all across campus exhorting exiting patrons to take their door rags with them and discard them properly in a wastebasket elsewhere.

3 thoughts on “wwmmd? (what would miss manners do?)

  1. It got so widespread at my BGA that they bought little wastebaskets and put them right beside the door so you can open the door and then immediately toss the towel into the little wastebasket.
    I admit I’m guilty of tossing down a towel rather than touch a door handle, but I’ve seen so many men walk out without washing their hands, even after using the toilet rather than the urinal, that I just refuse to touch the handle. I also credit this recently acquired habit (within the last two years) with catching fewer colds during the winter months.

  2. I think Miss Manners would pick up the paper towel and hurry after the offender, calling, “Excuse me, sir, I believe you dropped this!”

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