In my previous life I was a preschool director in North Carolina. I know you are questioning why I would work in a germ-ridden environment like a preschool, when I am such a germ-a-phobe? But maybe, this is the reason I have this phobia. Kids are gross.
One fine day, years into my stint as director, a parent came into school bearing a homemade thank you cheesecake, of which the likes you have never seen. This was huge for us at school because A. we rarely got good gifts and it was nowhere near Christmas, 2. I knew the cook very well, had been to her house, and trusted her and her cooking completely and C. it was the most beautiful chocolately pan of scrumptious goodness I'd ever seen in my life, and finally 4. I was really freaking hungry.
I was known at school for my over abundant usage of hand sanitizer and penchant for hygiene. All my staff knew of this craziness and teased me relentlessly, offering me bites of their lunch after licking it in front of me, coughing on spoons before handing them to me or having the grubbiest kid in school hand me the left over birthday cupcake.
The cheesecake walks in. Gratitude is given, the bearer departs, and drooling commences. Immediately the staff scatters to find plates and utensils. We all gather around the pan deciding how to cut this masterpiece of chocolate into equal pieces, when I get called away to the phone. Upon my return, I see my friend and fellow Mysophobe Mamie, staring at the person cutting the cheesecake in pure horror. I look around the room and actually, all the teachers and our secretary are staring at this fellow teacher (the cheesecake cutter) in silent horror.
Words cannot describe her actions. She is in a zone. She is cutting the cheesecake, picking up the cheesecake WITH HER HANDS, running her index and thumb over the knife to get the left behind cheesecake matter, LICKING HER FINGERS, picking up the crumbs that have fallen onto the sides of the plates with her bare hands, LICKING HER FINGERS, running her fingers around the outside rim of the pan, LICKING HER FINGERS, and the piece d' resistance? She ran her tongue up the flat side of the knife and cut and plated more pieces, licking fingers or the knife at each use. She was basically making out without with the knife and getting some form of her saliva over each and every piece.
As each one of us was handed a plate we looked at the others around the room. Everyone of us walked to the nearest garbage can and immediately threw our plate into the trash and went into the bathroom to wash our hands with boiling water. Sadly, not one of us except for the cutter, ate the cake.
Strangely, all the "spoon coughing" and "food licking" teasing stopped.