Have you ever stepped into the wrong toilet
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Important and sensitive topic: hygiene in love relationships. (iStock)
The man was a real eye-catcher: charming, intelligent and humorous. We'd gone out together a few times and I could well imagine getting to know him better. Only one thing irritated me: When Rolf * went to the toilet during our meetings, I could hardly take a sip, he was already back at the table. I thought nothing of it, even felt a little flattered that he wanted to be back with me so quickly.
The relationship grew closer. And when he got up one evening at dinner together and sat down again within 20 seconds after going to the toilet, I said jokingly: "Hand washing is clearly overrated." He didn't laugh, just said seriously: "You are absolutely right, pure waste of time."
Suddenly I realized: the hands that caressed me were often unwashed. I'm definitely not a cleanliness fanatic, but not washing my hands after using the toilet is a no-go for me. Since I was so in love, I tried to hide the whole thing first, each of us has his own specialty, I told myself. For Rolf it was just not washing hands.
My tactic didn't work. When we sat at the aperitif and my lover reached into the peanut shell after going to the toilet, I was terrified. The bowl may contain traces of urine from male diners in half a restaurant. Whenever I looked at Rolf's hands, it started to "greet" me a little; just a little, but it was enough to make him lose his fascination with me.
And I started to keep a record of myself and counted how often Rolf showered, cut his toenails and washed his hair. I wasn't proud of it, but I couldn't help it. In short: he had plenty of room for improvement when it came to hygiene. And no, I didn't ask Rolf about it. If a man in his forties only changes his underwear twice a week as a matter of principle, I couldn't do much. I wasn't his mom. But I asked myself more and more why a man who looked so neat on the outside was so (negligently) careless about his own cleanliness.
The passion died like the flame of a burned candle. It may also be that I was a little neurotic about this, but I couldn't get rid of the thought how many bacteria and germs stuck to Rolf.
When we are talking about bacteria and germs, here is a small insert with a few impressive facts on the subject:
• There are 400 times as many bacteria on a computer keyboard (including a mouse) than on a regularly cleaned toilet.
• Up to 500 germs can frolic on a smartphone. This is what the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene in Marburg found out. Even the smallest scratches on the display are enough for germs, fungi and bacteria to hide and grow.
• One in five office cups is soiled with faecal or E. coli bacteria.
• The fact that public toilets are disgusting and hygienically questionable is nothing new. Nevertheless, 16 percent of women and 40 percent of men sat on the toilet seat in public toilets, even though diseases such as hepatitis A, herpes, salmonella and pubic lice lurk there.
• More than 7 billion germs sit on a dishwashing sponge.
(Source: Doris Preissler, «Terrible Knowledge», Riva-Verlag)
Of course, I didn't tell Rolf that the reason for separation was his poor hygiene. I just said I fell out of love. Which of course was also true. The separation went on cool and emotionless. As he said goodbye, Rolf said: “By the way, you snore when you have a cold. That really bothered me. " For a moment, I wanted to say: "And you bisch en Grüsel." But I left it. Sometimes it is better to be silent.
* Name changed
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