As I took a break from the office last week on work-related errand into University City, I took a moment to leisurely cross the tree-lined walkways of the University of Pennsylvania.  I admired the old-world architecture, the stately buildings, the studious students, the quiet calming influence, the cooling effect of the shade in the 95 degree heat.  And the woman, seated on a bench by the brick path,  applying deodorant. 

I don’t need to see that.  I need her to put it on, but I don’t need to see her doing it.  In a park.  At an Ivy League school.  Eww.

Likewise, clipping your fingernails in public?  Please don’t.  I understand, as well as any girl can, that hangnails can be annoying, and breaking a nail for the 3rd time opening the door handle of the car may necessitate quick emergency attention with an emery board.  I also understand you don’t want to be gnawing at your fingers, irritated by the intrusion on an uneven edge.  I believe I learned that all “grooming” tasks which take longer than a minute should not be done in public.  And certainly not when you leave behind little crescent moons of keratin on the table, couch, floor, etc. 

Because I only wear glasses, I have not been able to understand how people apply contact lenses to their eyeballs.  I’m not completely grossed out, but it is disconcerting to see that wide-eyed, Jennifer Wilbanks look as they prepare for insertion.  I don’t like watching people put in eye drops either. Even if it meets the under-one-minute rule.

By and large, personal grooming, for those of us who partake (though, as I caught a whiff of the woman passing by me at Pathmark today, I thought she never partakes in public or private), is a practice best done behind closed doors, with friends and family close at hand, ready to catch the flecks of food careening out of your mouth as you floss.

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