I guess a good place to start is the way I often begin…with a definition so that we are all on the same page about something called The Five Second Rule.
Definition of The Five Second Rule:
An unwritten law dictating that if a food or another consumable item is dropped onto the floor, it may be picked up and eaten within five seconds. The reasoning behind this is that dirt and germs take six seconds to transfer from one surface to another.
Relaxed and eating my breakfast in the sunshine this morning, I was thinking about The Five Second Rule.
The Five Second Rule Eating Story
A couple weeks ago while out of town, I was at a restaurant in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, that offered a buffet breakfast. Watching people at a buffet is one of my favorite past times. Yeah, I’m weird like that, but people never fail to baffle, amuse and shock me. On this particular morning, I once again was not disappointed.
Sitting at our table against the wall, I had a perfect view down the whole length of the buffet and the aisle that led to the section where our table was located. As I ate strawberries, bananas, kiwis and cantaloupe, this one particular gentleman in the buffet line was piling his plate full of eggs, toast and bacon…lots and lots of bacon. I had eaten bacon earlier and I have to admit, it was quite delicious – not too crunchy and not too limp.
Finally the man who was about my age had piled his plate as high as he dared with a mountain of bacon on top of eggs, hash browns and a biscuit. He turned toward our section and started walking very carefully with his mile high plate. Unfortunately, he didn’t walk smooth enough because a piece of bacon fell off his plate.
Please make a mental note of the following…
- This restaurant had carpeting. Only God knows if it has ever been shampooed.
- The restaurant was in a tourist area. I can’t imagine how many thousands of shoe soles have walked through those front doors.
- The man was MY age, so he had some life experience under his belt.
Now let’s go back to the story. So a piece of bacon fell off his plate onto the carpet about two feet from the buffet area. What do you think the man did? He immediately leaned down, picked up the bacon, flipped the bacon over and looked on both sides, gingerly placed the bacon on top of all the food on his plate, and proceeded to walk to his table.
I couldn’t stop watching him. My OCD nature kicked in and I was truly OBSESSED with knowing what he was going to do with the bacon. Luckily, his table was next to us, so I watched him sit down. He chatted a minute which made sense because he was with a party of twelve family members all bustling with activity and conversation.
By now I had almost completely quit eating in anticipation. I started subconsciously holding my breath because I just KNEW that the guy was going to eat the dropped bacon. I could feel it in my bones.
Finally, there was a lull in conversation at his table, so he picked up the previously dropped bacon on the very top, looked at both sides and then pushed three fourths of the slice of bacon in his mouth and started chewing.
OH MY GOODNESS!
I thought I was going to throw up.
The man happily chewed his bacon, stuffed the last little piece of it in his mouth and without skipping a beat, proceeded to eat another piece of bacon off his plate. All I could think about was the germs that he just stuck in his body. They were probably crawling all over his mouth by now.
The man in the restaurant apparently believed in The Five Second Rule.
The Five Second Rule Research
Is The Five Second Rule true?
Is five seconds a magic number for germy critters?
Most everything I read about The Five Second Rule claims it is a myth or an old wives’ tale. However, a new study by Biology students in their final year at Aston University under the tutelage of the Professor of Microbiology, Anthony Hilton, researched the transfer of bacteria from floor to food with contact ranging from three to thirty seconds.
What do you think they discovered?
The findings were thus:
“Time is a significant factor in the transfer of bacteria from a floor surface to a piece of food; and the type of flooring the food has been dropped on has an effect, with bacteria least likely to transfer from carpeted surfaces and most likely to transfer from laminate or tiled surfaces to moist foods making contact for more than 5 seconds.”
Well that information wasn’t really a surprise. The longer a piece of food is on a surface and the more moisture in a food, the greater the likelihood of germy critters leaping onto it. That totally makes sense to me.
Since “bacon” is not really a very “moist” food and the restaurant was covered with “carpet,” maybe there weren’t too many germs taking a free ride at the man’s expense.
The surprising part of the study is that:
- 87% of people surveyed said they already have or would eat food dropped on the floor. That statistic isn’t all that shocking to me.
- 55% of the people that would or have eaten food dropped on the floor are women. Huh?! Women?! Okay, THAT is a bit shocking. The delicate gender doesn’t mind eating potentially germy or dirty food.
- 81% of the women who would eat food from the floor would follow The Five Second Rule.
(shaking my head)
I mean, WOW!
The Five Second Rule Meeting And Deciding
There’s no scientific research that I’m basing the next bit of information. It’s simply Sherry, The Redhead Riter life experience based.
I don’t eat food that has been dropped on the floor. I’m a bit of a germaphobe and the thought of dirt, hair, bugs or microscopic critters crawling on food that I’m putting in my mouth just grosses me out. The Five Second Rule as it pertains to eating isn’t for me.
There is another five second rule, however, that I use often. I call it the The Five Second Rule Of Meeting And Deciding.
Within the first five seconds of meeting and greeting a person or the first five seconds of thinking about a choice, I have already decided if the person is arrogant or sincere and I have a gut feeling about the choice I am about to make irrelevant of the topic and subject matter.
You may be thinking that I’m a very judgmental person, but that isn’t really true. I make excuses for everyone when they fall short of proper etiquette or human decency. If the person is a habitual heart breaker, eventually I cut them loose.
Let’s think about what I just said for a minute. Let’s pretend we are about to meet each other face-to-face. What’s the first thing we are going to do? Yep, extend our hands towards each other for a handshake. I’m going to know so much about you by just that one gesture and your facial expressions while we shake hands.
Is your hand large, warm, soft and delivering a firm shake?
Or will you extend an icy cold, rough hand with a puny limp hand shake?
Are you smiling – grin, smirk, full smile showing teeth, or no smile at all?
What are your eyes looking at – past my head, in my eyes, at my boobs, roving up and down my body or shifty?
What is your body stance – within my comfort zone, slouched, chest stuck out and shoulders back, leaning towards me softly or half facing me and half turned away like you’re going to run at any moment?
Is your hair disheveled and greasy or shiny and clean? Or is your bald head dripping beads of sweat into your eyes?
Does your perfume or cologne overpower my nostrils because your sense of smell has almost disappeared or are you trying to cover body odor?
Do you have jewelry hanging around your neck, arms, ears and stacked on every finger?
Are your clothes wrinkled, neatly pressed or starched to perfection?
What about your voice – loud and booming, soft and delicate, mid-range and normal?
Are your fingernails neatly trimmed, dirty and jagged, or are you trying to be in the “Guinness World Book” for the person with the longest nails?
Am I close enough to smell your breathe and if so, does it smell like stale cigarettes, alcohol, chocolate, mints, unbrushed plaque covered teeth or no smell at all?
The brain is a magnificent organ and within five seconds it answers all those questions. Am I ever wrong with my conclusion? Well, of course, but that is why I make excuses for everyone when they fall short of proper etiquette or human decency even at the expense of my own happiness. I’m improving on that last bit though, but I think it will be a character trait I will have to work on all my life. Old habits die hard.
As far as the decision making process goes, usually the first five seconds is based purely on my gut reaction and somehow, it often ends up being the wisest choice of all because it takes into account my own personal happiness. Funny how that all works.
By the way, I DO believe in The Five Second Rule In Eating when I’m at home. Of course, that’s only if I’m able to grab the food before Bella gets it. Believe me, that’s a rare occurrence.