David Moseley

Facing a finger fetish

2013-06-26 10:11

David Moseley

I remember laughing at a friend once when he told me of his aversion to touching the handrails on staircases and escalators. He lives in London so I could understand his reluctance to swipe his hands across surfaces that millions of sweaty, sick, dirty people paw at every day.

Still, perhaps because I wasn’t in daily contact with packed stairwells or clambering out of a Tube station on my daily grind, I thought it was an odd thing to be worried about.

That being said, his comment stuck and over the years has transformed my previously devil-may-care approach to escalator and stair interaction.

No longer do I caress the sticky rubber handholds while going down the levels of shopping centres, or slide my hand over freshly polished staircase handrails in musty hotels.

Instead, I keep my arms akimbo and wonder why people would want to become so intimate with object that gets felt up by every filthy hand in the city.

More than that, though, the simple “don’t touch the handrail” philosophy has opened my eyes to the one thing in the world that makes me squirm more than any other. Fingers. Specifically, fingers dipped in, clasped around, slightly touching or anywhere near anything that may come into the vicinity of my mouth.

Just yesterday, in fact, I ordered some soup for lunch. As the steaming beef goulash shimmied towards my table through the lunchtime crowd, all I could see was the blue-plastered thumb of the café manager resting on the lip of my bowl. Not just a finger this time, but a grimy, ill-fitting, disease-coated plaster-covered digit, blaring like the siren of a government official late for his tender hand-out.

Had he looked into my eyes he wouldn’t have noticed their usual cool blue intensity, but rather blood-shot bulges protruding on exasperated stalks more commonly seen on a cartoon coyote in utter shock that his latest rocket launcher has failed to fell the Road Runner, and instead now races back towards him promising nothing but misery.

My hunger fled the scene, replaced with a desire to kick the soup into the air, the waiter in the head and flee the establishment with my hands over my eyes screaming at the horror.

Honestly, he might as well have stuck in his hand and pulled out the soup, dripping it fistful by fistful through his testicle-dust coated fingers into my mouth, pubic hair fibre totally optional of course.

In fact, why stop there. He could have just stirred in the beef cubes with his dick. That would have affronted my senses as much as his grotty plaster.

It’s not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last - waiters, friends and family all showing similar bravado with my personal hygiene and good manners when handing over drinks glasses at restaurants or home, with their greasy fingers clinging tightly around the glass rim or, if you’re lucky, just touching the surface or your drink, like an uncertain swimmer testing the water temperature with a rotten big toe.

You know where your hands have been during the day. So imagine for a second where someone else’s hands have been. In their nose, scratching their nuts, finishing off a happy ending in the parking lot before running into work, shaking hands with some bubonic monkey-plague-carrying UN cameraman who’s just come home from documenting the unsanitary conditions in Syrian refugee camps on the Turkish border.

Now take that sip of cool, lemon-scented ice water. I dare you. The zest is not from lemon. I can promise you that.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

Send your comments to David

News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24



24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.