This one’s the subject of wild speculation, mostly, and not a lot of scientific fact, but the notion that a communal bowl of countertop bar snacks might contain traces of urine surely has a germ of truth to it.
In one study, trace amounts of 27 different people’s pee were found in a bowl of bar nuts.
Think about it. The guy’s at the bar, yuckin’ it up with his buds, when nature calls. He heads for the WC where he, er, takes matters into his own hands. Thus relieved, and anxious to get back to the main-event festivities, the guy returns to his seat. And digs those hands he didn’t wash right back into the bowl.
It’s well known that folks who patronize pubs don’t invest a lot of time on personal hygiene during bathroom breaks. One study suggests one in three men don’t wash their hands after relieving themselves—a statistic that may be generous. Twelve percent of women, meanwhile, were found to be similarly remiss. What’s more, the numbers are on the climb: the same study conducted two years earlier revealed that one quarter of men and 10% of women didn’t wash up in the can.
And even if the drinker in question does run his hands, ever so cursorily, under the faucet, the dripping digits he returns to the table are still problematic. The snack, after all, is intentionally chosen: the salt acts as a sponge to a fella’s drippy fingers, absorbing the excess water and serving the practical purpose of decreasing the likelihood that he’ll lose grip of his beer glass.
Alarmed, a Frenchman dubbed “the Leonardo da Vinci of the loo” has invented a new device that locks toilet users inside until they've washed their hands.
They don’t call them peanuts for nothing.