A few years ago I witnessed something at the Costco gas pumps that I have not been able to forget. A middle-aged woman stood by her car as she waited for her tank to fill and flossed her teeth. Right there in front of all the Costco gas pump patrons and the attendant, she flossed her teeth. Her entire set of teeth. Is this normal? I’ve been thinking about her for years. What kind of person must she be? What might she be doing right now? Wearing a facial mask while she grocery shops? Shaving her legs at the public swimming pool?
I’m a firm believer in keeping one’s personal hygiene in the bathroom. I’m okay with a woman pulling hand lotion out of her purse and using it in public, or reapplying lipstick in the car using the little mirror on the visor. Anything else needs to stay at home.
I have a friend who once told me her pet peeve is people clipping their nails in church. Which means she has actually seen people clipping their nails in church. Who would do that?
I have a young college-aged friend who recently admitted to me that she has washed her hair in a Wal-Mart sink. But she was on a cross-country road trip. Under cross-country-road-trip conditions, I might have been tempted by a Wal-Mart sink, myself.
But all of these examples of public grooming – flossing, nail clipping, hair washing – are nothing compared to what I saw last summer while stopped at a red light. I just happened to look over at the car alongside me, and there was a twenty-something-year-old woman washing her armpits. I’m not sure what she was using. It could have been an actual wash cloth, a moist towelette, a diaper wipe. Whatever it was, she was scrubbing furiously with it. And when she saw that I was looking her way, she quickly stopped and looked at me like she was trying to figure out if I had seen what she was doing or not. I politely turned away. After about five seconds I looked again. She was scrubbing away at the same pit. Again she quickly stopped and looked at me with a worried expression. I politely turned away again, with a big grin on my face. This was getting to be rather fun. I jerked my head back in her direction. Down came the arms. Unfortunately the light turned green and I was forced to give it up. Hopefully she did, too.
I am all in favor of a thorough personal hygiene regimen. I like it when people are clean and well-groomed. I’m glad the woman at the Costco gas pumps has a flossing habit. I just find it odd when people commit acts of personal hygiene in public. Please, floss, clip and scrub regularly, but do it in the privacy of your bathroom!