Today, I thought we'd discuss hygiene. I think that all of us have these weird little quirks about cleanliness and our bodies that seem completely normal to us behind closed doors, but that we would never actually want to share with anyone out loud. I figure since I'm already pretty awkward, I might as well just let you further into my twisted little world.
My freshman year of college was my first experience ever with shower shoes. Having always walked around my house barefoot, I didn't really see the need, but I trusted my mother's judgment that "dorms are dirty and you need to wear sandals." It wasn't until the fourth week of school though when I bemoaned the futility of this product to a friend, that I learned that these flip-flops are not just used for walking to and from the shower, but are actually to be worn while showering. My eyes widened in disbelief. "It makes a lot more sense now," I said. .
When we got back from the bars one night my friend Saadon was hungry and headed straight for the campus center. He ran into a girl he knew who happened to be eating fried rice. When he asked for a bite, Saadon could tell she was reluctant so he blurted out, "It's OK. I just got tested." Not knowing what tests he was referring to, the girl gave him her rice anyway and said that she would be right back. He took a few bites and when he wasn't hungry anymore decided he would throw it in the trash. When the girl returned and asked where her food went, he simply shrugged his shoulders, smirked, and ran home.
It really bothers me when people ask for a sip of my drink and when I give them some they flip my straw so the part where my mouth touched is inside the drink. Hey, buddy, my beverage, my sanitation regulations.
I think all college students are selectively germaphobic. I say this because we are capable of playing a game where the object is to throw a ping-pong ball that has been rolling around on a wet, dirty floor, into a cup of three-day old beer, and if it lands inside, chug the beer. And yet when we have a taste of our friend's calzone we make sure to eat the side that he hasn't bitten yet.
I have this predisposition toward a unibrow but I have never shaved it off. Living with two younger sisters has taught me the importance of tweezing. I'm not embarrassed to share this information with you, although I will say that the first time someone walks in on you using a small, metal tool to pull hairs one-by-one off of your forehead, you do feel like less of a man, even if just for an instant.
At two in the morning once I tried to buy a slice of pizza from a vendor in Faneuil Hall. I was excited because I got the last slice, but when I went to pay my friend Eni pointed out that it "looked bitten." I told the vendor I wasn't going to take the slice and he flipped out. "It's not bitten. That's how it came out," he said. I tried my best to reason with him, but he just kept shouting at me, until finally he yelled, "OK, try getting out of Faneuil Hall without paying. Just try." When I mentioned that we could bring a police officer over to the stand to settle the whole thing the guy just looked me square in the eyes and said, "I am a cop." I walked off, got into a cab, and drove home. I think he won the argument, but I still believe he was the worst undercover cop ever.
I hate shaking hands with someone right after I've washed my hands in the bathroom. I always feel the need to justify the wetness by uttering that "it's just water, I swear." And in reality, this is the cleanest handshake most of these people will have all day, since I just took the time to antibacterialize. Still, I think from now on though, whenever I get into a situation like this again, I'm just going to say, "It's OK. I just got tested."
Writing a column about being awkward at Tufts, has led many students to approach me with awkward situations they've been through themselves. If you'd like to see these in print in the "Man, YOU'RE Awkward," edition, please email me at Neilpadover@gmail.com And let me know if you want to be anonymous. Because if I say you're name and you didn't want me to, that could get awkward.