Feb 222007
Authors: Hillary Davis

I didn’t used to be a germaphobe. I was a child who played outside, gaily wiping sidewalk chalk on my pants, flinging dirt in the air, getting germy with careless abandon! Of course, times change and I went from wiping off the sidewalk chalk to wiping off doorknobs.

I don’t mean to be weird about it, but the image of millions of little germs crawling all over everything is with me always. And it should be with you, too. Because I have recently discovered some shocking information: Men are dirty. Dirty! Is this really shocking? Eh, not really. It never surprises me when I find piles of month-old laundry in the corner of my male friends’ rooms or, sometimes, my male friends themselves, just sitting in the corners of their rooms getting germy because they are male and they can.

But then, I found out an even more shocking little secret: Women are even dirtier! Dirtier! Can it be true? Before you whip our your smelling salts, my fairer-sexed friends, consider the facts.

Researchers at the University of Arizona say women’s offices are actually dirtier than men’s. Now everyone knows women’s bathrooms are much cleaner – this is not news. Women’s bathrooms are also much cooler, what with the golden toilets and the cabana boys and all. I just naturally assumed the same went for offices. But alas, no.

Dr. Charles Gerba, the self-proclaimed “Germ Guru,” said women’s offices tend to have three-and-a-half times more germs than men’s offices.

“Women’s offices tend to be dirtier than men’s for the following reasons. First, they tend to use hand lotion more often, which gets on surfaces and traps germs. Then, they tend to be around children more often then men, and we all know how easily kids transmit germs. And finally they use makeup, which tends to absorb germs. Then it rubs off the face or gets scattered by brushes and sponges,” Gerba said.

Gerba also noted that women tend to eat at their desks while working and store more food in their desk drawers, perhaps because they are “secret snackers.”

I am not a secret snacker, I am a proud snacker. Especially now that I know the average desk, drawer or purse is a hidden minefield of staph, mold and even fecal matter.

Yes, fecal matter. Researchers found traces of poo in its bacterial form on one-third of the purses they tested. Poo on your purse is not a good way to start, nor end, the day.

So what can be done for the greasy-handed, secret-snacking, poo-toting women of America?

Start cleaning everything with disinfectant? Use antibacterial hand sanitizer? No! Here’s what you do: Make the men clean it all up for you. Because while I don’t disagree with the fact that women’s offices are probably truly disgusting for the reasons mentioned above, I resent the fact that the women of America are, yet again, the target of another June Cleaver media sweep telling us to work harder and clean better.

I say we consider germiness to be equal to productivity. While the men of the world are in their offices, eating their sterilized lunches with their dry, chapped hands, working women are up to their well-lotioned elbows in germs, getting stuff done. And if they can’t spend their time disinfecting, at least they can look forward to a golden toilet and a cabana boy to hold their poo purse at the end of the day.

Hilary Davis is a senior technical journalism major. Her column appears every Friday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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