Ask Him on Manners

What if he picks his nose in public? — Anonymous


nose goes.

nose goes.


His finger will eventually stretch out his nostril so that he looks like a pink quadruped or Adrienne Brody (minus the aquiline dignity). That’s what my mother told me anyway, and it kept my fingers out of my nose until I went through my rebellious phase. Funny how nose picking and hookahs go hand in hand…

Anyway, all parental deception and experimenting with your body aside, there is one good reason to keep your digits out of your oinker: you might poke your brain and become paralyzed. Also, it’s really unhygienic. Boogers (teeheehee) are one of the many express routes out of the body for all kinds of germs, and unless he’s one of those compulsive hand sanitizing basket-cases, he’s subsequently spreading those germs on door handles, counter tops, steering wheels, and any part of your body you might be giving him access to. Not only that, he’s bringing all the germs from all of these places (not saying you have germs in places) back into his body via the tiny abrasions he’s raking across the inside of his nose. Ew.

If you have a bit of a mean streak, go ahead and point these facts out in public and maybe the emotional scarring from that humiliation will be motivation enough to rid your relationship of at least one nasty habit, provided he doesn’t run out of the room crying and stop returning your calls. In case you’re the nurturing, diplomatic wuss type, I’ve paraphrased some alternative techniques from the pro’s over at

1) Teach him to use a handkerchief. Or a tissue, or even a newspaper, just be sure to interrupt him in the middle or his excavation so your point is made, if not subtly.

2) Encourage him to wash his hands. Or to avoid sounding like his mom or a school nurse (unless he’s into that), keep the sanitizer on deck and spring it on him once he’s disposed of the offending nose-crystals. The smell of that alone should be enough to trigger flashbacks of college binge drinking and invoke a Pavlovian aversion.

3) Make him wear mittens.

Basically, picking your nose is sometimes a necessary source of relief when you’re in the semi-sterile confines of the bathroom equipped with the right means of sanitizing. However, picking your nose in public is gross and it makes you look like a mouth-breathing Neanderthal. So assuming he has some other saving graces worth the effort it’s going to take to curb this hobby, I would suggest shame, subtle or cruel, to help bring his self awareness to an adult level. — Chris Brown

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