I’m not a germ-a-phobe but …

Some women love winter because they can wear an array of coats. Others have different hats for every day of the week. I relish this time of year because I can wear gloves, which to me serve a dual purpose. Not only do they keep my hands toasty but reduce the number of germs I’m exposed to by touching a pole on a subway. I just wish I could get away with wearing gloves indoors as well.

I am flabbergasted at how insensitive people are when it comes to extending their hands to someone. They think it’s a kind gesture but actually it shows their stupidity when done at wrong times. I was at an ESPN, The Magazine party in Manhattan, munching on Garrett’s world-famous caramel corn when I was introduced to someone. The man had the audacity to extend his hand to me, as if I was going to shake it in between stuffing handfuls of caramel corn in my mouth. Other times I’ve been pulling bread apart at the dinner table when someone comes over and expects me to shake their hand. Or even worse yet, enjoying a sticky Krispy Kreme doughnut. There is no way I am shaking someone’s hand then go back to eating from hands. I’m sorry.

Being that I seldom hold my tongue, I have gone so far as to tell people why I will not shake their hands at that particular moment. I’m sure they take offense but they shouldn’t. I’m not necessarily calling them dirty but there is no way of knowing by looking at someone who didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, who just picked their nose and who may have just picked up flu germs from the last person’s hands they shook. Why should I subject my hands and mouth to their germs just to appease them?

I traveled with the Lakers for four years during my sportswriting career and in the beginning seemingly had a cold every month due to my body being worn down by the heavy travel. Finally the Lakers trainer, Gary Vitti, suggested I quit shaking hands with people. And I did. Ever since then I’ve been more cognizant of shaking hands on my terms.

I hope the fist-bumping, which has been going on for quite some time but which was put in the spotlight by the Obamas, becomes an acceptable alternative to hand shaking. It’s not just that it looks cool but it’s more sanitary. Or we could bow like the Asians. Otherwise, I guess I could keep my gloves on indoors, rock a big cocktail ring on the outside and call it my style trademark. But that doesn’t solve the problem of when I eat with my hands. Only others can solve that by being more conscious.


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Filed under Health, President Obama

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