Feeling Naked


Of course, I’ve been in many locker rooms in my life.  Some with separate showers, some “gang” style.  In middle school, I went through the typical 12 year old “mooning” stage, a male, pre-teen rite of passage where you bare your bottom in an effort to garner outrage from girls of a similar age.  I have no qualms going to the bathroom outside on a camping trip – seems like a natural, comfortable thing to do.  But this past weekend, I was shocked at the troublesome feelings conjured up while in a Smithfield’s Bar-B-Q restaurant off I-85 in Henderson, NC.

We were on our way to Lake Gaston with friends for the Memorial Day weekend.  Although I like North Carolina Bar-B-Q, I always feel a bit grease laden after visiting Smithfield’s.  Perhaps it is the fast food nature of their establishment or the fact that the nearest thing to a vegetable I see on the menu is a French fry.

After ordering, another adult on the trip decided to wash her hands prior to partaking in the meal.  Considering all I had touched since my last scrub, I followed her lead.  Instead of walking all the way to the bathroom, my friend stopped at a wall right beside the ordering counter.  As she rolled up her sleeves, I noticed there was a sink, like the one in your bathroom, attached to the wall… in the middle of the dining area.  Catherine pumped the soap dispenser and commented that it was weird to scrub with others around.  When she finished, I stepped up.  As I turned on the water, I immediately had the sense that I was doing something extremely inappropriate.

I reasoned with myself, Danny, you’re just washing your hands, there is absolutely nothing wrong with what you’re doing.  And yet, I felt as if I was exposed.  Naked.  Visually sharing a private piece of me that no one else should see.

The water ran over my palms.  I glanced around.  I swear a burly dude with a huge eagle tattoo on his forearm was eyeballing me.  I’d been looked at that way before – by a big cleavaged woman in Vegas.  She was looking for dollars.  I’m not sure what he wanted.

There are just certain things you shouldn’t do in front of others and not only the obvious.  You should not iron in front of those unrelated to you.  It is personal.  You should not pluck your eyebrows in public.  Cutting toenails is private, although I did that once in an airport on an unexpected flip flop day.

And apparently, washing hands is a no-no outside the comforts of a small enclosed restroom.  If I were Catholic, I would confess.  I just feel like I did something wrong.

Leave a comment


  1. Mel Ham

     /  June 1, 2016

    It is one leg of the three legged stool to keep Smithfield’s from making us sick. Handwashing so that the public can see employees washing their hands post restroom. In truth you only get a 3 log reduction in handwashing (10 to the minus 3) in best handwashing. That said if you are shedding a disease you still run the chance of contamination. Hence, the other two legs No bare hand contact of ready to eat food and an employee health policy (don’t come to work sick or diagnosed). There will be a test at the beach.

  2. Yes! I had to do this once at a skating rink. The Cub Scouts were having a party at a rink where there ARE NO SINKS in the bathrooms — so you have no choice but to skate out of the bathroom and wash up in front of God and everybody. It felt weird, especially in front of a bunch of kids.

  3. Yes I could see what you are getting at albeit said in a slightly humorous fashion! I do like your blog!

  4. Mom

     /  June 1, 2016

    You have my permission to wash your hands in public, Bruce. I don’t think you and Katherine have sinned greatly. No penance required. Her mom, Sue, and I would make you two do penance if you didn’t wash your hands. I think you’re ok on this one. Some other things the two of you do….I’m not so sure!

  5. Anne Cooper

     /  June 1, 2016

    Ironically, our family stopped at the Smithfield’s BBQ on Monday in Leland on Hwy. 17, and I kid you not, I announced to my family over the meal, “My favorite part of eating at Smithfield’s BBQ restaurants is that they all have a hand-washing sink in the dining room.”

  6. Dee

     /  June 1, 2016

    Many elementary school kids line up to wash their hands prior to lunch daily ( or hold out their hands for a dollop of hand sanitizer) . Just pretend your back in school 😀

  7. Aunt Susan

     /  June 3, 2016

    at least you washed your hands! see you soon at the beach

  8. you cut your toenails at the airport?

    • Danny Tanner

       /  June 11, 2016

      Just once. It was an outside airport in Hawaii – not like RDU!!


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