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11 Points

The 11 Grossest Things People Do in Public (According to a Study, and According to Me)
written by Sam Greenspan

Back in March, I wrote about a study that determined the 11 most annoying sounds in the world. I also included my own subjective list of the 11 most annoying sounds in the world. I got a lot of positive feedback, much of which centered on how the list I made hit much closer to home for most people than the list generated by "science." Fully emboldened, I've now endeavored to be judgmental on another subjective subject: Disgusting habits.



A study from 2014 asked Americans which gross things they do at least once a year. There were some gems in the results (three percent of people shower or bathe less than once a week; seven percent pee in the shower every time they take one) but I just plucked out the things that covered public behavior.

So here are the gross things people do in public, ranked by the percentage of people who do each one on a frequent basis...
  1. Cut your finger/toenails, five percent.
  2. Not wear shoes in public places, eight percent.
  3. Eat with your mouth open, 16 percent.
  4. Pee in the street, 19 percent.
  5. Spit in the street, 23 percent.
  6. Not wash your hands after using the bathroom at a bar or restaurant, 24 percent
  7. Burp loudly, 25 percent.
  8. Bite your nails, 28 percent
  9. Pee in the swimming pool, 36 percent
  10. Pass gas around others, 36 percent
  11. Pick your nose, 42 percent
And now, my personal list of the grossest things people do in public...
  1. Eat fish or something equally stinky. I was recently on a plane next to a woman who was eating tuna fish out of a Tupperware container. It was my first flight with my baby. Going in, I was worried that he would cry and it would really disturb the other passengers. Thanks to this woman, I no longer had any fear of being the pariah. (Then again, I also had to deal with the fish smell from the closest proximity, so this was the pyrrhic victory of all pyrrhic victories.)

  2. Pick your nose then roll it between your fingers and haphazardly drop it. I don't hate this move that much, but this one's here for my wife. It might be number one on her list.

  3. Peeing on the toilet seat.

  4. Removing a bandage. With 100 bonus points for leaving the used bandage behind.

  5. Pop pimples. Ever walked into a bathroom and seen someone popping their pimples, squirting little droplets of pus onto the mirror? I have, more than once.

  6. Scratch your genitalia under the pants. I don't really mind it over the pants. That's just natural and not gross at all. But when you reach in and really start digging, that's unsavory.

  7. Hack up phlegm in your throat but never getting rid of it, just continuous hacking.

  8. Cut nails and leave the clippings. There are few things in life I find quite as repulsive as other people's nail clippings. I don't even like my own nail clippings. Which is why I cut my nails so infrequently.

  9. Pick dead skin off your feet.

  10. Touch things with Cheeto fingers. Especially when the sequence goes: (1) Put hand into bag of Cheetos, eat Cheetos (2) lick orange dust off fingers (3) put wet hands back in bag, remove Cheetos, eat them (4) touch public surfaces with wet fingers covered in Cheeto dust.

  11. Watch 2 Broke Girls.


This post was originally published on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Personal.

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