Are Americans Overly Concerned with Personal Hygiene?

Week of August 25, 2004

John Nash
Co-Owner, The Wine Merchant
"I think we're overly concerned with appearance. Everybody's got to wear the logoed clothing and drive the right car. Hygiene, well, I think everybody should brush their teeth more -- too much bad breath out there. People should floss more and wear less Ralph Lauren."

John Wike
Pastry Chef, Harrah's Casino
"Yes. You want to look good, but some can take it too far. It's unhealthy to take a shower more than once a day; it's proven that washes all the good stuff off your skin and your hair. Women, especially, are overly concerned. We were just on a camping trip, and all the women had to shower constantly. We're on a camping trip; why do you want to wait in line to take a shower? I don't get it."

Mona Thompson
Waitress, Harry's Bar & Grill -- Manchester
"Yes! There's lots of important, fun things out there to do, and if I hear one more time, 'I can't go out with you; I have to shave tonight,' I'm gonna kill myself. Chicks, you'd think they spend all their time in the bathroom, you know: 'Can't, gotta go home and shave. Can't, gotta go wash my hair.'"

David Sullivan
Chef, John D. McGurk's Public House -- O'Fallon, Missouri
"Oh yeah! Way too. We're afraid of the way we smell. Most people smell okay, but some people need to be concerned. I've questioned my own freshness. But we shouldn't confuse appearance with health. Obsessing over sweat stains on your shirt is one thing; regular brushing is another. Fighting tooth decay is more important."

Rodney Jackson
Sales Team Leader, AT&T
"I think most Americans really pride themselves on keeping good hygiene. Today we've been out for the last five hours, me and my wife, and every person we came in contact with seems like they had good hygiene. Of course, there's no reason to let yourself go and get skanky. We've all got access to the basic necessities: soap, water, Q-tips, everything you need for basic grooming. People tend to take it for granted that you should know these things."

Karen Hornig
Bartender/Waitress, Chuy Arzola's
"Not concerned enough. I was on a motorcycle trip recently, and, in the rural areas across Missouri, I noticed a lot of people with missing teeth and bad teeth and that must be from not practicing good hygiene, because there's nothing hereditary about being toothless. And then you see a lot a people who haven't showered, who haven't washed their clothes, there's sort of a grungy aura about them...maybe that's just in my neighborhood."