a person with an extreme fear of germs and an obsession with cleanliness.
Hello, my name is Nicola and I am a germaphobe. A chronic one. So much so that when my son was born, I made my mother-in-law wear a surgical mask so she wouldn't breathe her germs on him. It was two days before my partner plucked up the courage to ask if she could take it off. I said no.
After flying all the way to Sydney meet their first grandchild, there was even talk of my parents spending an undisclosed amount of time in quarantine before meeting him, such was my level of anxiety over 'plane germs.'
People put my bad behaviour down to the fact that I was a new mum and being a new mum can make you a bit bonkers. But the truth is, being a germaphobe is something I struggle with daily. For example, I will never, ever let you take a sip from my water bottle (as if!) and if you offer me your hand to shake, there's a good chance I won't take it.
Trying to strike the balance between keeping myself germ-free and not offending every single person I know is, quite frankly, exhausting.
But I know I'm not alone. If you can identify with any of the below, there's a good chance you're a germaphobe too. Welcome. Take your shoes off at the door, wash your hands - wash them again for good measure - and make yourself comfortable.
You washed your hands, right?
1. Hand Sanitizer is King
You live for the reassuring sting of hand sanitizer on your skin. The heady smell of pure alcohol is a comfort non-germaphobes could ever appreciate. When you're not squirting it on your own hands, you're squirting it on the clammy palms of others. You've always got several bottles handy and sometimes you actually sanitize the bottle of sanitizer for extra protection.
2. You Feel Genuine Rage At People With Colds
Oh, you have a stinking cold? Thank you for waiting until we're sharing the same air before telling me that.
3. For Us, There Is No Five Second Rule
4. You Dread Taking Deliveries
When the postie plucks a warm biro from his pocket and proffers it to you to sign for that dress from ASOS, an internal struggle ensues. You would like nothing less than to grasp his sticky pen, but British manners will always prevail. You smile, you take the pen, you sign for that damn dress that you know won't fit and then you scrub your hands with a nailbrush.
5. You Use Your Knuckles For Everything
So much so, you look like you have advanced arthritis in your hands. Opening doors, pressing the pedestrian crossing button, using the cash machine... why contaminate your clean digits when a knuckle will do?
6. Small Change is Evil
Why is it always so hot?
7. You Love Cleaning Your Desk
You always keep a packet of Dettol Anti Bacterial wipes in your desk drawer and can wile away long, glorious minutes wiping down your workspace, paying particular close attention to your keyboard.
8. Usain Bolt Ain't Got Nothing On You
When the door to that public bathroom is swinging shut, you move like an Olympian to jam a foot in before it closes.
9. Buffets Are To Be Treated With Caution
Who? Where? When? And did they wear gloves? Answer me that and then I'll eat your cheese and pickle sandwich.