This article originally appeared on VICE Spain
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention thinks you should wash your hands after you pee. The World Health Organisation has spent millions on global campaigns pleading with you to scrub up after you touch your junk. Every year, the United Nations makes little cartoon illustrations trying to convince the world that our germ-riddled genitals and urine spread diseases.
Despite all that, I've met a surprising number of people who don't see the point of washing their hands after they pee. So instead of just silently judging them for the rest of my life, I decided to ask them "why".
"What's the point? Most penises are clean, right? And girls don't even touch their vaginas at all when they wee, so again, what's the point? I honestly don't think anyone does it when they're alone. It actually makes more sense to wash your hands after taking the underground, seeing as the city is full of filth and germs. But washing your hands after pissing just seems silly."
"I normally wash my hands before I pee because they're always dirty due to my job. I only wash my hands afterwards if I splash myself. And, to be honest, I've stopped worrying about contracting things down there."
"I refuse to believe that anyone washes their hands when they're alone at home. The skin on your genitals is a lot less exposed than that on the rest of your body; it's better protected. So, in theory, it should be cleaner. I think people just do it because it's drummed into us at school. The only times when it's important to wash your hands are before you eat and sleep."
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"I don't have time to be constantly washing myself. I actually think we all clean ourselves too much – it can't be good for our skin. Our society is too sterilised and it's not natural".
"I think it's different when it comes to pooing – even though I don't come into contact with my bum when I poo, to be honest. But in that case, I do wash my hands, sometimes. At home I don't, though, but when I'm out, I definitely do."
"I have always been a bit of a slob, and for years I didn't wash my hands after taking a piss. I think I still don't – at least, not always – but I try to take a bit more care nowadays; I even sometimes wash my hands in restaurants after eating now. In fact, I was never in the habit of shaking my penis after peeing either, until my ex-girlfriend got angry at me a few times for not doing it."
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"I very rarely wash my hands. But sometimes when you're drunk and in a rush because you're desperate for a piss it can ricochet and splash all over you. When that happens, I'm the first person to run over to the sink and wash up. But in more mundane pissing situations, I only touch half a centimetre of my own skin, which is clean. I refuse to waste valuable resources – water, soap, paper, electricity – and punish the environment just because I've touched a tiny bit of my incredibly boring penis. I pick up more germs in a handshake than I do in a basic trip to the loo. But I always wash my hands before I eat. That's very important."
"It's a fact that washing our hands is just something we do to fit into society. This morning, while I was using the urinal, a colleague who had just finished peeing started thoroughly washing his own hands. So when I finished, I had to do the same so that the guy – who continued to wash and dry them as if he had just come out of a mine – didn't think I was some filthy urchin. So here's to wasting water and soap and a disposable paper towel just because I can't be bothered to explain my toilet habits to my colleagues."
"People just wash their hands because that's what they see in films. I sometimes do it in front of people who I saw just washed their hands – I suppose it's out of respect for others. I guess I don't do it for myself, but for them."