“Wash your hands before eating.” Who hasn’t heard that admonition throughout childhood and beyond?
But is this common hygiene routine also an issue of common courtesy?
Don’t manners basically boil down to consideration of others? With that premise in mind, it would seem that hand washing represents a handy way to stop germs from spreading to others and a sign of proper etiquette.
Consider this scenario.
Suppose a host or hostess passes a basket of steaming dinner rolls, a tray of fancy hors d’oeuvres, or even a bag of chips. Would a polite guest stick an unwashed hand into the shared vessel to grab a serving, if he or she stopped to ponder how this thoughtless action might pass dirt or germs along to the next taker?
What if a guest returns to the dinner table, the appetizer bar, or the buffet after using the bathroom, stepping outside for a coughing fit, or changing a baby’s diaper? Who wouldn’t appreciate that guest’s hand washing before rejoining the festivities?
At the risk of sounding germaphobic, we might contemplate how a quick hand washing might protect the health and feelings of those around us. After all, wouldn’t we like to think others would offer us the same politeness and precaution?
Maybe hand washing is a matter of manners, after all.
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