The GermoPhobe

The GermoPhobe with a capital ‘P’ in phobe is a man who works on the same floor of my office building. I have seen him around the building on numerous occasions but until yesterday I never really had the opportunity to observe his peculiar habits in person.

We were both using the local lavatory. I entered the room moments before him and it became evident quite quickly that he is an avid reader of Toner Mishap, especially the post regarding Urinal Selection Strategy.

Unfortunately it is also clear that he failed that portion of the course as he opted for scenario #5 which is as follows. (Forgive me guys, but I am taking your graphic and your prose.)

Scenario 5
You’re the only one in the bathroom, and you’re standing at #1 (as is appropriate). Some guy walks in and, though #4 and #3 are both clean and available, he steps up to #2.

Some men suffer from FPS, or “Frightened Penis Syndrome.” There is a long clinical description of this in JAMA and a number of other medical journals, not to mention the classic Mayo Clinic study, but rather than get too technical here is a basic description.

In its native habitat the penis is primarily a nocturnal creature who operates with stealth and guile under the cover of darkness. Sometimes when it is surprised it attempts to hide by trying to blend in with its immediate surroundings. In a bathroom situation that involves immediately cutting of the flow of urine so as not to make any noise or leave a trail that can be followed by hunters or animals employed by hunters such as the penis hound. But I digress, back to our story.

Said GermoPhobe lined up next to me but because I do not suffer from FPS I didn’t really make note of it. I stood there and finished my business after which I headed to the sink to wash my hands where I dutifully attended to cleaning myself.

The GermoPhobe was right behind me and using a power scrubbing technique he learned from a Tibetan lama he was able to cleanse and purify himself in time to walk out with me. And that was when I learned of his fear of germs.

As I opened the door I noticed that he used a paper towel to take the door from me. Most of the time I wouldn’t even have noticed this, but there was something about yesterday. Perhaps it was because the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter was aligned with Mars, but I felt something and I stared back at him.

Mr. GermoPhobe cleared his throat and stared back at me. Our eyes were locked in mortal combat when I broke the stalemate and asked about the paper towel.

It was at that point that he explained to me that he didn’t think that I had done a proper job of washing my hands and that he didn’t want to get sick.

Me: What did you say?
GermoPhobe: You didn’t spend enough time washing your hands.

Me: Did you time me?
GermoPhobe: No, but I saw what happened at the urinal.

Me: What do you mean you saw what happened?
GermoPhobe: There was blowback, there was spray. It ended up on your hands and legs.

Me: How do you know?
GermoPhobe: I could hear the force with which you expelled your waste.

Me: The force with which I expelled my waste, what are you talking about?
GermoPhobe: It was loud and it was strong. You must have had a lot of coffee. When you pee that hard into a urinal you cannot help but be sprayed by yourself.

Me: You’re right, but that is actually a special pheromone technique that is used to pick up women.
GermoPhobe: Not clean women.

Me: Really.
GermoPhobe: No clean woman would want to deal with that.

Me: She might be kinky. Maybe she is into that kind of thing.
GermoPhobe: Not anyone you want, that is filthy and disgusting. Do you know how many germs are in a bathroom.

Me: That varies from day to day. It depends on how much work is available. It is kind of similar in format to the day laborers that hang out at Home Depot. You can’t blame the germs because it is a really effective system.
GermoPhobe: That is not funny.

Me: You’re right. If it was funny I wouldn’t be working here. I’d be on The Tonight Show and my life would be filled with glamour and fame and I certainly wouldn’t need to rely on the old pheromone trick.
GermoPhobe: You really should wash your hands better.

Me: (I stuck a finger in my ear and then responded with) You might be on something.
GermoPhobe: Don’t you mean onto something.

Me: No, I meant on something.
GermoPhobe: I find your comment offensive.

Me: Was it lost?
GermoPhobe: No, I mean that I don’t appreciate what you are saying.

Me: Neither does my wife or my boss. Did they put you up to this.
GermoPhobe: I really should go.

Me: Not yet, I feel a really big sneeze coming on and if you wait a minute I’d be happy to share it with you. (With that I reached into my pants and scratched myself and then grabbed the doorknob)

That must not have amused him because he carefully pushed by me and walked out of the bathroom. I was a bit disappointed because I really wanted to shake his hand.

Linked to Dude Write

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  1. Andrew Kardon December 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Well done! And if he was such a germophobe, why’d he choose the urinal next to you, where there’s the chance of some splashback hitting him?

  2. YoungmanBrown June 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Oh man that is awesome.  And I HATE when people choose the urinal right next to me!

  3. Daniel Nest June 17, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Hheheee well played sir, well played!

  4. Daniel Nest June 17, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Hehheee well played sir, well played!

  5. ybtgtxx June 17, 2012 at 4:35 am

    You should buy him a baby chicken for a gift and leave it in his lunchbox.

  6. Joe June 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    You should have just given him a pat on the back.

  7. wilyguy June 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I’ll be honest that I hadn’t heard of you prior to seeing you on Yeah Write, else I would count you as a certified celebrity in the blogosphere! 2005?!? Wow!

    The piece is brilliant. Being a former germaphobe I can relate to this so well. Having been reformed through fatherhood, I can honestly say this made me laugh from start to finish.

    Great post

    • TheJackB June 17, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Hi WG,
      Actually I have been blogging since 2004 and I wouldn’t expect most people to have heard of me. I stumble onto people who have been blogging as long or longer all the time. There are so many of us out here it is easy not to be discovered.
      But I am glad that we did find each other. Yeah Write has been a terrific way to discover new blogs to read.
      As for being a father, well if that doesn’t help cure people of germophobia I don’t know what will. 😉 The stuff our kids touch and make us touch… 😉
      Happy Father’s Day.

  8. bob warren April 6, 2012 at 10:35 am

    TGIF…and have a Fantastic Weekend!

  9. Liz March 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Very funny! I actually believed this was a real conversation until pheromone comment. #Gullible

    Very interesting to hear what goes on in the men’s room. Luckily, women always have the privacy of a stall. ; )

  10. Connie March 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    OMG, I am a certified germaphob but seriously, I’d have just looked at you funny and walked off…pee on his shoes? Best comment!

  11. Amy March 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

    This is the funniest thing I have read in a long time! You really should be on the Tonight Show….

  12. Victoria KP March 26, 2011 at 3:42 am

    THAT was hilarious… “the force with which you expelled your waste”? I thought common courtesy dictated (no pun intended) that you pretend the other person isn’t even there, never mind commenting on the other person’s er… stream.

    I’m so glad there are stalls in the ladies restrooms!

  13. Matty March 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Obviously, I can relate to this one. We all know the unwritten rule of etiquette in the mens room. If other urinals are open, don’t stand next to the other guy. And as for your friend there, he was clearly spying on your business. He needs to get a life.

  14. Anonymous September 24, 2007 at 1:46 am

    “BTW I use the hand towel approach when I question the cleanliness of an environment. Or if it is a push door I just avoid the metal rectangle most people use and push from 6-10 inches above it.”

    DAMN! Ill have to go for the 11-15 inch slot now!

  15. Anonymous November 11, 2005 at 12:51 pm

    I think his better answer, one that would not antagonize you even if you really were the reason for his use of the paper towel, would be that he has seen too many other workers not wash after peeing or crapping. Their germs were likely on the handle as well as, in his mind, yours.

    My guess is you washed sufficiently with enough soap lather and water. But a real germ phobe does not assess this area rationally like all phobes. However, assuming he is rational enough to think he cannot change the world or that such an affront will change your behavior, he should just do his profilactic best with the hand towel.

    BTW I use the hand towel approach when I question the cleanliness of an environment. Or if it is a push door I just avoid the metal rectangle most people use and push from 6-10 inches above it.

  16. Jack's Shack November 6, 2005 at 11:12 pm


    The world is full of interesting people.


    You may be right.


    I am not surprised.


    Vaseline should help. 😉

    Mr. HK,


  17. miriam November 6, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    I was washing my hands so often and long that they itched. I scratched them and they started to bleed. Ugh!

    Now the germs can get through the skin barrier. But my hands are clean.

  18. The Misanthrope November 6, 2005 at 4:23 pm

    I’m right there with GermoPhobe. I use paper towels to turn the water off and open the door.

  19. Attila November 6, 2005 at 1:43 pm

    You did the world a favor by engaging this guy in conversation.

  20. MC Aryeh November 6, 2005 at 9:47 am

    You can’t make stuff like this up…classic!

  21. Jack's Shack November 6, 2005 at 8:57 am


    If it made you smile then I did my job.

  22. PsychoToddler November 6, 2005 at 2:10 am

    I think I just laughed through my nose.


  23. alice, uptown November 4, 2005 at 11:06 pm

    This post was hysterical. My diagnosis is GermoPhobe is obsessive-compulsive, with a tilt toward not being in touch (oh, he wouldn’t touch, would he?) with reality.

  24. judi November 4, 2005 at 9:14 pm

    I hate myself for loving this post.

  25. Bill November 4, 2005 at 6:44 pm

    Working at the Public Health Agency of Canada and surrounded by epidemiologists and public health specialists this makes me laugh.

    Each public washroom here has a sign stuck to the mirror that says please wash your hands. The seriousness of hand washing has been stressed to the Canadian public with greater urgency since SARS hit Toronto Last year.

    And I am sorry to admit I am an inveterate hand scrubber probably learned it from the same Tibetan Lama.

    That said there is no one here as bad as your Germophobe. As I read your post I kept wondering how long it would take you to spit on the arrogant Pr-k.

    A recent study I was reading stated that there are more germs in your average kitchen sink there are in your average toilet.

    If I can find the origins of the study I will forward it.

    I wonder what his opinion on oral sex might be? LOL

    Next time, just pee on his shoes. (-:

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