People who don't have hand towels in your bathrooms: What do you think your guests dry their hands on?
Photo by Mason Bryant
Do you expect us to use your bath towels? Do you think we know which part of the towel you use for your face, or your own hands? Or do you know that we might grab the part of the towel you rubbed all over your arse?
Do you want us to flail our hands wildly in the air, sprinkling water all over your bathroom? Do you want us to commandeer your shower curtain or your toilet paper or our own pants? Do you think we just don't wash our hands?
Do you realise the chaos you're causing? The shame, confusion, and sense of betrayal? The mass panic taking place in your bathroom every time you host a party?
If you don't want hand towels for yourself, that's your prerogative. You're just swapping your cooties (and your dead skin flakes) back and forth on your own body.
But forcing your guests to use your bath towels, which were last washed god knows when, conveys a carelessness bordering on hostility that you definitely didn't intend. It should be a move reserved for movie villains establishing dominance, like forcing a cowardly character to shave them.
It's also unpleasantly intimate. A bath towel is used in the nude; it is applied to your intimate places. A guest rubbing their hands on it is groping a ghost of your freshly showered morning self. If the towel is still damp, we are immediately reminded that this dampness came not from your own hands, which we gladly grasp in greeting or farewell, but from parts of you we've never seen, much less caressed. You may as well ask us to use your toothbrush.
Finally, sharing towels is a health hazard. The germs you pass to yourself are less harmful than the germs you pass to others, whose bodies haven't always developed the same immunities. This is, of course, still a risk with hand towels, but less so, as those towels haven't rubbed the exotic petri dish of your genital orifices before hanging limply to "dry" in the wettest room of your home.
Your hand towels can be cheap. They can be ugly. No one cares, so long as they can be clearly identified as hand towels — not a bath towel, not a floor towel. To that end, they must be smaller than these other towels. Other than that, go wild.
And please, wash your hand towels now and then. Ideally every week, but at least as often as your other laundry. Anything less, and your guests may as well wipe their hands dry on your mouth.