Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Personal grooming on the subway. Necessary? Really?

I have a few hang ups about the subway-- the most obvious one is a distaste for hands/germs. I don't want to touch anything, and I CERTAINLY don't want anyone to touch me. There are a few particularly distasteful scenarios which involve fake nails touching me, or people accidentally grabbing my hand when reaching for the center pole.

I also categorically do not hold on to the railing on the stairways, though I do like to lean on them for balance, which I imagine makes me look like an amputee or an elderly person, since my "hands-free" technique involves sliding my forearm up or down the banister-- I'm tall enough for this to require a severe diagonal bend at the waist. I would go so far as to say that it distorts me to the point of quasi-quasimodo-dom.

A few times Drake has made the terrible mistake of trying to hold hands with me on the subway. I squirm and writhe as if I had just unwittingly submerged my hand into a vat of monkey brains or something. Not even his hands are safe since I know he takes no precautions whatsoever insofar as avoiding touching things in the subway.

I haven't always been like this... not even since I lived in NYC-- I think it all started with the chicken bone incident of 08. I've been doing rather well this winter since most people are required to/choose to wear gloves, and I was beginning not to worry so much until I sat next to someone yesterday who plucked her eyebrows all the way across Manhattan on the L. Really? Must you remove dead bits of yourself and scatter them to the wind in an enclosed space? I find makeup application on the train slightly questionable (again, ANYTHING could get on your hands in the subway, and then you're touching your face... bleh) but that's your own life you're taking into your hands. You are applying things TO your face, not removing things FROM your face and letting them fly about on to other passengers.

I wasn't able to track what she was doing with the eyebrows, so I have to assume that several landed on me. Why does this bother me?

1. I don't like to have such easy access to other people's DNA-- I'm not so sure that I've earned strangers' trust not to misuse it.

2. I've decided that people who pluck their eyebrows in public are in the category of compulsive-eyebrow-pluckers. You know, the ones with the tiniest threads of eyebrows who look like malformed factory versions of grown doll babies.

3. I wish that people would shed and groom themselves at home. At home where I don't have to watch and then come up with terrible things to say about the perils of public over-plucking to "make peace" with being unwittingly covered with dead bits of you on my evening commute.

Also, why is the woman in this vintage mag ad wearing what appears to be a carnation/parsley arrangement on her head? Love it. clean hands too...

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