Foot flushers outnumber hand flushers and boys are grosser than girls, according to recent bathroom habit study
We've all been there, driving on Route Whatever, when the need to go outweighs our fear of the horrors of the roadside restroom. It matters not, the reason we find ourselves scooting toward the pimply-faced teenager at the register and begging for a restroom key, one that is almost always attached to something ridiculous ... a two-by-four previously wielded by Hacksaw Jim Duggan ... a naked Barbie doll with singed hair ... a prosthetic limb; nor does it matter that we often feel as if we are taking a Walk of Shame, carrying that obnoxiously decorated key. What matters is that we have found a place to download the Brown File other than in our pants.
Afterward, as we revel in our success, relieved to still be sporting pristine underwear, we are faced with two options: leave our creations for the next guy or flush. If we choose the latter, we again face a choice: foot or hand? Do we actually touch that flush handle? Might we use a piece of toilet paper to protect our delicate digits, or do we forgo the effort and kick the handle with a worn in and well-loved Chuck Taylor?
According to recent data collected by the Bradley Corporation, a Milwaukee-based plumbing fixture company, over two-thirds of us choose the prissy way out. That's right: sixty-four percent of those polled in the Healthy Handwashing Survey stated that they use their feet to flush in public restrooms.
Representatives from Bradley collected this year's data from over 1,000 peeing and pooping participants between the ages of 18 to 65 roughly equally split in regard to gender. What else did these participants tell us about our nation's bathroom habits? Seventy percent of us only use water to rinse our hands, and four out of five of us have seen someone leave a public restroom without washing. Ew.
Our habits go farther than in what we do, too; we also react to what others do, or do not do. Those of us who do wash our hands regard the non-washers with what I secretly deem the Cootie Response; we avoid these people, what they touched, and wash our hands with even more vigor, lest we catch what they're leaving behind. When leaving the restroom we share with the Unwashed, half of us open and close the bathroom door with our hip, and three out of five of us use a paper towel. Who can blame these people, when one remembers that 80 percent of the communicable diseases in our country can be transmitted by touch? Not I. I hate being sick!
In addition, gender makes a difference in our hand-washing regimens. Men report seeing more non-hand washers and leaving the restroom without washing more than women do. Either men are lazier or women are better liars. Or both. (I vote for both.)
We also follow our noses before our eyes. Eight-two percent of the participants stated bad smells are the worst offense in a restroom. Stinkiness edged out unflushed toilets and an unkempt appearance. But beneath the smells and appearances, more importantly, runs a thread of blame leading, in our opinions, to management. If the shitters looks like shit, then management is shit and has a shitty business practice. We take into account that the restroom reflects the ethics that sit at the heart of whatever chain, office, or franchise set before and around us.
Bradley has been conducting the survey since 2009, and the results of all the studies since can be found here.