Please Don’t Do THAT in Public

Yesterday I saw a woman at the bus stop. She was dressed like a model. Fluffy, faux fur hat. Designer coat. Boots up to her thighs. Sitting on the bench. And yes, folks, she was cutting her fingernails. All ten of them. With nail clippers.

I would love to have seen any CCTV footage of myself as I realised what she was doing. I would have seen a very thinly disguised expression of displeasure. Even with a frozen face, I managed to frown and let my lips frill. Surely her day wasn’t so busy that she couldn’t do that at home? Come on, lady.

Travelling on public transport in London, I have seen and heard things that no-one should have to see or hear in public. I’ll spare you the graphics of what I have heard. But I have seen someone cleaning out his ears on the bus. I have also seen a woman pluck her eyebrows on the bus. Seriously? That couldn’t wait? I know I’ve had long waits to get on the bus, but not that long that my eyebrows needed plucking by the time I boarded.

I have seen women doing their make-up on the tube, the whole business from foundation to eyeliner. I haven’t seen anyone wax their legs on their daily commute, but I’ve no doubt that’s a forthcoming attraction in the spring. Or maybe I just haven’t travelled the right tube lines for that.

I have watched people eat their breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, elevenses, on the buses and tubes. Some people eat surreptitiously, sneaking morsels of food into their mouths and then darting their eyes around to see if anyone’s watching. I always seem to catch their eyes. Others stuff their faces like they’ve just finished a diet.

I once watched a young woman sitting opposite me on the tube lick her fingers – all ten of them – and smack her lips for a good five minutes after she’d finished eating whatever it was she’d just tucked into. After that little performance, she applied layer after layer of BRIGHT RED lipstick (caps to emphasise how red it was) on to her lips. She pouted and pouted as she checked in the mirror that her lips looked just right. She then put all her accoutrements back into her handbag, sat back and within two minutes, she had slumped sideways into an ugly, dribbling sleep.

Probably the most gross public display of toiletry (PDTs, as I call them) was a few years ago in Cape Town, when I was at a conference. As the afternoon session began, a woman came and sat next to me. She fidgeted and fidgeted. Now, I’m not a difficult person, but I hate it when people fidget next to me when I’m trying to stay awake concentrate on a graveyard shift at a conference. She dug in her handbag, she rustled sweet papers, she chewed sweets loudly and she sobbed and sighed as she dug further into her handbag for more hidden treasures. She chewed and fidgeted and chewed and fidgeted. I did my trademark shielding of my eyes … what the eye doesn’t see the heart can’t grieve over. However, it didn’t block out the sounds.

After an epic fiddling in her handbag (now you can tell how much I was concentrating on the conference subject matter), she sat still for a few minutes. And flossed her teeth. Seriously. She flossed her teeth. Don’t get me started here, but I don’t even like to be anywhere near the bathroom when my husband flosses his teeth – that’s just private. That’s a one-on-one affair. Him and the mirror. Nobody else’s business. Ever.

And this dear woman was flossing her teeth. At a conference, in a huge theatre, in Cape Town. Get a bathroom, already.

That PDT truly took the biscuit. I really don’t want to encounter anyone trying to top that. Thank you.

Sunshine signing off for today.


354 thoughts on “Please Don’t Do THAT in Public

  1. A good chuckle, but it really isn’t funny. Last year – at the ballet at the Johannesburg Theatre – a woman in the seat behind me painted her nails during intermission. I was aghast, my husband had to tell me to close my mouth.

    1. This is so funny … and gross. Probably the most interesting thing I see out here is called the “farmer’s blow.” In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s where a guy (yet to see a woman do this), covers one nostril and blows snot into the air from the other one. Usually done right before entering a building.

  2. LOL This was a great laugh! I’m amazed at how unselfconscious people can be. As you said, those are things you’d not even want a family member to do in front of you. Except for the eating thing, of course.

  3. Ha! very funny post indeed, Sunshine! All human life is on the tube, isn’t it? We call people like that Badgers, I don’t know why. I’m sure badgers are much better mannered than that. Wouldn’t catch them plucking their eyebrows or doing their nails.
    Next time I see one (a PDT, that is , not a badger) I shall think of this post.

  4. OMG, how absolutely gross!! I’m so glad to live in a far-flung land where I only have to watch the sheep displaying PDTs. Love your blog!
    Thanks for dropping by my blog, it’s so nice that you have a North Uist connection. In fact I’m moving off to the mainland for a while for work reasons, but I hope you’ll continue to drop in. Mr Mac will be keeping the home fires burning in Uist.

    1. Thanks for coming by my blog! So lovely to connect – I’m definitely going to follow your blog. I have blogged a few times about my husband’s Scottish connections, so please check those posts out in the archives. Keep warm – you must be having SO much snow up in Scotland.

  5. Ewwww…I think I’ll be sending this link along to my friend, Amy, who does an etiquette blog…

    I have excellent peripheral vision on my left side…if anything distracting happens over there, I’m going to see it! If that woman at the conference had been sitting next to me (on the left side), I’m sure I would have found an excuse to move to a different seat! Yuck!

    Hope your day today is PDT-free!


    1. Shielding my eyes usually works a treat! It was SO yuck, Wendy. I wonder what Amy will make of the non-etiquette I describe?
      A PDT-free day – yes please! Sounds like a national holiday 🙂 xx

      1. You’re having something even better than a PDT-free day…a Freshly Pressed day! Congratulations, my almost twin…it couldn’t happen to a nicer girl!


  6. I love this! Unfortunately I am exposed daily to the remnants of what people do in their cars while driving. I did a post earlier on of my top ten things I hate to find when I detail a car.

    Do you suppose that if people thought that their nasty habits would appear on the big screen ie .”Time Square in NY” would refrain from doing them or they just don’t care?

  7. People watching is one of my favorite things to do. You could write a book about the charactors you observe on public transportation. You have such a way with words describing them in your posts.

      1. Just one card at a time is all it takes…You have so much raw material to work with. I’d surely start taking advantage of it, or at least start taking notes along the way. Jeanne

  8. Oh, Sunshine, I giggled through this entire post. So funny. I think all of these people were really just David Brent in disguise.

    You’ll like this: In my elementary school, there were two third-grade teachers: Miss Peacock, who was six feet tall, and another teacher (I’m completely blanking on his name–I wasn’t in his class) who was notorious for clipping his toe nails during spelling lessons. I really hope that was just a rumor.

    1. Toenails? That would freak me out completely. I hope it was a rumour – I don’t even like to think about it!
      Glad this made you giggle, Maura. You’re right, they were probably all David Brent – he would so do all of these things, wouldn’t he? 🙂

  9. You don’t understand, Sunshine. If you’re in a public place, but you don’t know anyone around, then you’re invisible, and no one can see what you’re doing. Floss, clean your ears, do whatever, doesn’t matter. No one knows you, so that means you’re invisible.

      1. One day at the end of the school year when I was still teaching I was cleaning the desks. I flipped one upside down on top of another and the entire bottom of the desk was smeared with nose pickings that had been wiped on it. I have no idea which student the desk belonged to and not sure I want to know but YUCK!!!!

  10. Funny (and gross) post, Sunshine! Love Todd’s theory, too…I think he’s got something there.

    I’ve been on the tube in London, and witnessed someone who apparently was battling the stomach flu — that, or the bottle of rum stuffed in his pocket.

    Have a lovely day~

  11. You worry too much about little insignificant things. You live surrounded by people and expect everyone to be perfectly plastic about their way of being. I got news for you: we’re animals, get over it. This kind of overly private attitude is the reason our society is so inwardly hostile. Next time someone (God forbid!) puts on lipstick next to you, try to have a chuckle about it and actually ask them if they’ve had a busy day, instead of assuming they’re just dirty, unorganized people.

  12. I once conducted an interview with a man while he clipped his finger nails. Seriously…I’m a freelance writer, he’s a successful cosmetic surgeon, and apparently, he needed to clip his nails, right then and there.

    Ick. 😦

  13. Ewww! I think Todd has it right: people think that “anonymous” means the same thing as “invisible.” Ah, what a sad state the language has fallen into! ;-D

    I’m impressed at the personal restraint you are able to muster. I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from fixing those folks with the evil eye (at the very least) for as long as it took them to feel it. And if they’d had the temerity not to be shamed into more appropriate conduct, who know what madness would have ensued?

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  14. It never ceases to amaze me at what people think is appropriate to do in public. Just because you’re on the bus or train doesn’t mean that you’re invisible.

  15. So nice to find someone else that feels this way. I can definitely relate to the nail clipping in public. Not only is the sound infuriating, but all the nail clippings just fall to the floor! Ew. Filing of the nails in public is even worse. But I’ve never seen anyone floss in public, that takes the cake. Or the biscuit, as it were. As my personal contribution, I would like to add that loud, disgusting eating noises make me want to pour sand into my ears.

  16. Those are all mild – eating in public is a complete non-issue for me (unless you’re a complete slob about it) – compared to what I saw at a London museum several years ago. A woman breastfeeding her child.

    A natural and necessary thing, sure. Hey, my wife has breastfed our children. But, there is such a thing as discretion. This woman showed none of it. There was no blanket and she was at a bench in a main hall.

    Or, how about while I was walking with an aquaintance in Hyde Park, we came across some little building where a couple emerged, the woman completely topless and nonchalantly leaning over to grab her blouse and put it on. Bright and sunny weekend day, lots of people enjoying the park.

    If there are some here who have zero problems with the two scenarios I’ve witnessed and described, then they shouldn’t have too much of a problem with the scenese you’ve decribed, because hey, it’s “natural” and “necessary”.

    At that rate, perhaps the people who crapped along the sides of allys (the evidence of which I saw – and smelled) in China should just have defecated on the main streets. And hey, if a three year old boy can run nude through an open air market in China (which I saw), or diaperless babies with open crotched outfits (which I also saw plenty of in China), perhaps we should do the same here in the US or elsewhere in the West.

    There is such a thing as modesty and tact. Yes, some of it is cultural, and there are degrees and circumstances.

    But on the whole, I share your concern Ms. Sunshine.

  17. Congrats on freshy pressed!!! Fabulous and very true observations about life in London. Always love reading and visiting your blog. Nothing, nothing annoys me more than eating on the tube or putting on make-up for that matter- people wake up 30 minutes earlier and have your breakfast and do your toilet BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE! :o)

  18. First off, congrats on getting pressed!

    And second, my coworkers were once discussing someone (we couldn’t figure out who) was clipping their nails in the office! Then one our coworkers interjected, “That was me!” … I could barely believe what just happened… people really surprise you! haha

  19. I confess, once, I ate on the tube going back home. I was starving; it was either starting on my sandwich or fainting.
    Does that count? Am I a PDT offender?

  20. This is great! Fun to read
    Thanks for this reminder into what NOT to do.
    I was behind a woman on a drive in bank line and she was cleaning her ears and throwing the used Q-tips out the window. (covers mouth to gag)

  21. PDT’s are the worst! I do not like the people who try and hack a lung while in public. We all might do a little cough or sneeze accidentally. But some people take it to the next level by trying to bring up body fluids and sinus stuff made up of who knows what. They hack and they wheez and hack and wheez. Then they spit it out wherever they are — just plain nasty.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.



  22. Brilliant post 🙂 London’s definately the place to find material for a post like this!

    On another note, I’ve got a project on my blog called Listen to a Londoner and was wondering if you might be up for participating? Every Sat I post a 10 question Q&A with someone who lives in London along with their photo. It’s all about the stuff you love/hate about the city and recommendations… Let me know if you’re in because I think yours would make a great read. There’s past posts here if you want to see what it’s all about:


  23. Ouf. This just made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I’m not sure if i’m more disgusted by the fingernail clippings or the floss. I share your dislike of PDT’s (cute acronym, by the way) – I once saw a man bite his toenails on the metro during rush hour, and have witnessed other (less traumatizing displays).
    Here’s to hoping some of our disgusting fellow commuters read this post and GET THE HINT!

  24. first off, congrats on Freshly Pressed! What a fun post to have chosen!
    In both San Francisco and New Orleans, I witnessed…
    wait for it…
    Relations in the Biblical sense.
    I’d rather see that, though, than flossing. I’m with you on that one!

  25. I’m wondering if eating can be excused (unless it’s explicitly not allowed, of course). I’ve had my own share of surreptitious lunches… (Apologies to anyone who was creeped out!)

  26. I love your post!! One thing I really can’t stand is when a person starts eating on public transit. Not only does it make the bus smell bad but also what about the germs from the hand rails that they used to get on? When you mentioned someone licking all of their fingers that sprung into my mind. Ick!

  27. Very well observed and so true.

    What is it about vulgarity? Some people seem to display it with pride and cry ‘snob’ at anyway who objects.

    Stuffing your face in public is bad enough but there are those who go the extra mile by keeping their mouths open when they chew.

    Then there are the sniffers who are oblivious to the annoyance it causes. Why don’t they blow their noses? Because they don’t carry a handkerchief (remember them?) .

  28. Good post; definitely raised a chuckle or two!

    I don’t mind some of things on your list, but others would definitely fall under the “do you realise you’re not actually invisible and I can see you” category. Toenail-clipping would certainly be top of that particular subset…

    On a tangentially-related note, I’m always impressed by the ability of girls to apply make-up in a train or car. How you do that without smearing lippy everywhere is beyond me; makes me relieved to be a guy and not need to worry about mastering that particular fine motor skill!

    It’s not even just make up. A friend does the train commute into London, and she said quite a few other girls do their entire hair and make-up routine, as well as shoe and outfit changes on the train (one presumes they nip into the loo to do the latter, though I didn’t think to qualify the remark…)

    Now I know why there’s such a demand for oversized ladies’ handbags! 🙂

    1. Glad this made you chuckle! And yes, Mary Poppins handbags everywhere on London public transport – although I haven’t yet seen anyone change outfits on the train. Amazing.
      Thanks for coming by.

  29. Hahaha zomg that was possibly the FUNNNIEST thing I’ve read in the past week… It’s worse than the school bus, where people talk about… certain things. xD
    Well done for being Freshly Pressed!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. What a wonderful post – and something I’m sure we have all experienced at some time or another. I once sat across a train carriage from a guy who spent the whole time with his hands down his trousers doing god knows what and making rather disturbing grunting noises…in this case, I think I’d prefer not to know!

  31. Oh my dear sweet lord! Flossing your teeth in a conference. Now that’s just extremely displeasing to watch. Not that I would want to watch someone flossing their teeth. Ugh.
    I guess it all depends on the person’s point of view. Some people think that the whole world is their house and they can do all the things they do privately at home in public as well. Others, well, are more decent and do private things privately.

  32. I was on the PATH around midnight on a weekend — very crowded (outbound from NYC to NJ) and managed to get a seat across from one of the doors. The windows turn into mirrors in the tunnels so I could see a lot of folks. It was kind of a 360 view. Across from me next to the doors sat a very well dressed lady and her young-ish daughter (pre-early/teens), also dressed as though they had been out somewhere special. There were plenty of people standing, as all the seats were full, but it wasn’t a rowdy crowd, rather an after-theater sort of group.
    Standing between us was a gentleman in a decent topcoat. He looked a bit bleary, kind of bloodshot eyes and hair a bit mussed, but you could tell from his clothes he’d probably been out on the town and not at some cheap beer joint. I’d say he was at least 45, maybe into his 50’s.
    This “gentleman” raised his hand and poked half his index finger up his nostril. Yes, up to the second joint, not the first, the second, middle joint. He turned and ducked his head slightly, as though this would somehow hide what he was doing, but since he was standing and not in a corner, he was pretty visible. He didn’t have small hands or fingers and frankly I was mesmerized by this spectacle, half of me wondering how he got that much of his fat finger up his nose, and the other half wondering why he thought we might not be able to see him.
    He WOULD NOT STOP. He just kept it up there. Took it out. Reinserted it. The poor woman and her daughter looked horrified, and pretty much everyone around me seemed to be staring at this spectacle. I couldn’t stand it. After the third dig I looked straight at him and said, “Could you stop doing that please?” in a fairly stern tone of voice. At this he dug his finger in again and glared at me.
    A very colorfully dressed woman who looked like a club hopping goth girl, standing near the doors, and who had appeared not to be interested in the whole thing, said in a very deadpan voice loud enough to carry, “Oh, let him pick his nose if he wants to.”
    I was stunned. At first I thought she was criticizing me, and then realized she had just called him out, because no one wanted to say stop PICKING YOUR NOSE, asshole. She did, just in the most round-about way possible.
    After a few moments he disengaged his finger and we were not treated to any further displays for the rest of the ride.

  33. Hilarious post! It reminds me of my days in the resto biz – boy the stories I could tell. The worst was the guy, sitting at an 8top, who leaned down, flicked his shoes off, and started picking his toes, thoroughly cleaning between each one with his finger. GROSS! And this was a fine dining place in NYC.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Hope many of your stopovers turn into long term readers…

  34. Funny how people watching (although intriguing) can bite you in the ass when you witness something uncouth. As an avid public transportation user, I have seen my fair share of what you call PDTs. I don’t know why but I am still shocked every time. I mean really? You couldn’t clean under your fingernails at home?! Cut to: disgusted look on my face and instant nausea.

    Thanks for sharing a (sadly) hilarious post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!


  35. Sunshine, you are truly a star…congrats on being Freshly Pressed. At least the fingernail clipping woman was not in a restaurant! As for the flossing woman, don’t get me started either…gross! Hugs, Diane

  36. hey Miss sunshine…
    Congrats ! on being Freshly pressed…
    In fact, to be frank I had little or no idea that people do such things, being ignorant of the surroundings they are in… obviously others do get frustrated/ pissed off seeing such kind of odd displays in public… India could be a bit diff from what all mentioned including nail polish to eating their tiffins… If u by chance get to know Mumbai Local Trains… commuters literally live their life on trains…
    have a look

    keep the good work

  37. I often thing of how society looked 100 years ago in my small Midwest USA town. Just developing in to a proud community with growing lumber businesses and the millionaires to prove it. Proud ladies and gentlemen on the streets. Men in full suits with hats. Ladies in their finest dresses and hats. None ever dreaming that one day thier fair city would see teenagers and adults walking around with their pants so low we could see their underware. And young ladies (?) viciously fighting each other in the park. Sigh… Civilization? Not so much any more.

  38. Wendy emailed me and recommended I read this post and I’m so glad I did! I love the acronym PDT’s – it’s perfect! Living in the Midwest, USA I don’t use public transportation but have also seen all of these PDT’s. Unbelievable, isn’t it? My kids were in a summer camp at the zoo that ended with a pizza dinner and one of the fathers at our table flossed when finishing his meal. At the table. Right across from me. Ew.
    Thank you for a hilarious and oh-so-frighteningly accurate post. Glad Wendy recommended you. I look forward to reading more and congrats on Freshly Pressed!!

  39. Eating in public doesn’t really bother me, as long as I can’t hear it (chewing noises? Gag me), but everything else you mentioned is beyond icky. The thought of flossing in public is literally as gross to me as…um…a really gross thing (seriously, it’s so gross, I can’t even think of anything with which to compare it). Anyway, great blog, and congrats! I hope you have less icky tube-riding adventures in the future! 🙂

  40. Yay Sunshine!!!! You made it to the Freshly Pressed Page. Congratulations, funny lady! Great post, as always. It was just what I needed after my mornings work. I won’t bother sharing any PDT stories with you today, but you know I have a few.

    Take care and stay warm!
    xo Patty

  41. This is why it is so important to wash your hands before eating in public and after entering your own home. Come to think of it, settling in for a meal at home each night is a grand idea. Here in America, believe it or not, the South, most people have decency in public when it comes to refraining from these bad hygiene habits. If there is one ability most of us civil people would wish for, that is for some folks to understand that public displays of flatulence is not an audition for anything.

  42. Really can’t beleive it. What strange things to do in public! Worst thing I’ve ever seen on public transport was a person urinating on a bus. Unfortunately the bus which was packed with elderley ladies was heading into a valley with a sharp dip downhill followed by a steep climb uphill.

  43. Sunshine! It makes me so happy to see people I “know” get Freshly Pressed. Congrats on FP and on this awesome and hilarious post.

  44. The flossing of the teeth took the cake! How disgusting! I haven’t seen that in new york but I’ve seen people do their nails on the train. Perhaps the most odd was a few years back when a group of girls decided to pole dance on the train. Yes POLE dance and give random men lap dances. I’m really not sure why..they were sober when it all happened…

  45. Yay, that was so funny. In beauty school we were taught to say “you pluck chickens….you tweeze your eyebrows”. However doing it on public transportaion seems more appropriate to say ” pluck your eyebrows”. Because that just sounds more gross. haha. It has to take a true talent to do that or put on RED LIPSTICK without making a humongous disaster lol.
    Very funny blog!!! I see this as a continuing post as you are going to see even more crazy things every day.

    1. Thank you so much – glad you had a good laugh. How funny about plucking chickens! hahaha!
      The RED LIPSTICK story was so funny for me because she fell asleep as soon as she’d applied it.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  46. I think sometimes though it’s difficult to realize what is completely unacceptable. Now, I honestly would not want to sit next to someone flossing their teeth. That’s hard enough when you have mirrors and everything. However, I was telling my sister that this was a difficult situation for me. I needed to cut my nails desperately, because if I don’t, I’ll nibble them off and that just leads to hang nails and worse. I forgot to do it and, in all randomness, I found a nailclipper in my pocket. So I went outside between classes and clipped my finger nails. I had to do it or else I would go insane.

  47. hello ‘sunshine’ LOL LOL, I just loved your blog! as a fellow South African also living in London I too have been left aghast at the things people do on the tubes and buses…hysterical and horrific in turns. I guess it must be the hustle and the bustle of the crowds that lends a certain anonimity and lets people do such strange things. I will never forget my first tube travel when I arrived in London….OMG!!! since then I have seen so many strange things, heard so many weirder things that I have become quite immune!
    Thanks for a brilliant read and congrats on being freshly-pressed. I tweeted your blog on @notjustagranny it deserves to be shared. 🙂 take care. I hope your’e enjoying the snow!

    1. Hello fellow Saffa in London! Glad you enjoyed the blog, and can relate to the things that make me laugh and frown! Good to meet you and thanks for sharing my blog.
      I’m loving the snow – it’s so beautiful!

  48. My sister once told me of her English teacher who sat on the desk and said, “Oh, do you think I need to shave my legs?” Long pause. “Yes, I think I do.” So she took a razor out of the desk drawer and started to shave her legs – with no water, no showergel, nothing … in front of a class of twelve year olds! I mean, come on, how gross can you get? Not to mention the fact that dry shaving gives anybody with real skin a rash …

    Great post and congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    1. Delorfinde,
      That teacher was putting on a “show” for the boys in the class. If she was sitting on the desk, she probably gave a few crotch shots too.
      In this day, it would be considered sexual harassment.
      I’d be interested to know if the teacher lasted very long at that school, or perhaps suddenly moved on to “pursue other interests” (like the Catholic Church).

  49. Superb blog! really enjoying reading your posts.

    I find it amazing what some people think they can get away with in public. The worst I saw was a guy sitting on a train opposite me, shouting on his mobile phone and with a mouth full of food, gross!!!!!

    Enjoy the weekend

  50. I used to work with a woman who would apply her lipstick without using a mirror. She would do this about half-way through most business meetings. If the meeting was boring, I would look forward to the ‘lipstick moment’. She would sort of hold the lipstick still and twist her mouth around. It was quite a sight, but she probably though that nobody noticed.

  51. HAHAHAHA this just made me laugh…a lot. Good job! I too have seen many strange things in public, including a couple GOING AT IT on the train (like they reallllly needed a room) and it was broad day light! I also saw a man eating a donut with his pants pulled down to his ankles in the middle of the street (that was scary). I see the eating thing far too often; you are right-people tend to eat their meals as if they haven’t eaten in years. CALM DOWN! ha. Thanks for making me laugh!

  52. Ugh, I HATE to see people clip their nails in public! Saw someone doing this at a RESTAURANT! Under the flippin’ table! Is common sense THAT outdated?!? Congrats on FP!

  53. Yep, London transport system is the home of PDTs. The worse thing is that everything that you have described are not a one-off events, I have come across them several times in my daily commute to and from university. Once I saw a guy picking deep inside his nose for several painstakingly long minutes, but the worse was yet to come, when he flicked it on to the floor of the relatively empty train. I was left aghast, fixed at my point, staring blankly at him in shock. Unfortunately manners are a hard thing to come by in this day and age.

  54. I can’t imagine watching someone clip their toe nails in public! Finger nails are bad enough! Some people are just so gross! I have noticed that women find it OK to fix their lipstick in public…I think you should go to the ladies room….some of my friends do it right at the table in the restaurant after we eat… lip liner and lip stick, ick, plus it doesn’t even look right! hA, hA!
    I am thinking of typing up some manners, blog or book, I’m not sure! Thanks for sharing, sorry for your plight, sounds awful, train travel sounds tough! Congrats on being Frshly Pressed!

  55. This is the worst that you have to deal with, It is commonplace to see people urinating, scratching and picking their nose all at the same time where I live. I would fight my way to sit next to someone flossing their teeth.

  56. What a wonderful post. I now have to go and read my way through the rest. Thank you, though it was ‘gruesome’ it was hilariously funny too. Your writing style is to be envied.

  57. My very proper English friend entertained me in London.
    I was very impressed and had no complaints about the PDT’s of any sort. But what did take me by surprise when visiting her office which was a large space of cubicles, I saw pornographic screen savers on more then one monitor. She said it was very commonplace.
    God save the Queen!

  58. Funny post! I sympathize with you for not even being able to witness your own husband flossing his teeth. I simply can’t stomach watching, or hearing for that matter, anyone other than myself brushing their teeth.
    Worst PDT I ever witnessed was a man on the Metro in DC picking at surgical stitches in his arm. Shouldn’t you have a doctor help you with that, sir?
    I like your blog!

  59. My goodness, you’ve just about seen it all, haven’t you?! If I had to be anywhere near someone that was plucking their eyebrows in my viewing area, I think I wouldn’t be able to be quiet and would probably wince and whine loudly on purpose so they would stop or be embarrased.
    Recently, I took a trip on a bus (9 hours) and there was a an older woman who got on and rode half-way. She fell asleep after about an hour and began to pass gas! It was horrible! My children, myself, and even the bus driver were so relieved when she got to her stop and got off!
    Other than that, the rest of the trip was good. You can see some of the pics I took here,

  60. I am not sure, if I should be lucky or not unlucky that I have never seen someone clipping their nails in public – seems to be quite a view ;-D I’ll keep on watching ;-D

  61. Oh my goodness, just reading this post I can think of 3 icky PDTs (great label!):
    1. I’m in junior high at a sleep-over and my friend is in the middle of a conversation with me as we cross-legged sit on the floor in our pj’s when all of a sudden she picks up her right foot and starts CHEWING her toe nails. Yup. Chewing. THAT is how she trimmed her toe nails. Just nasty.
    2. I grew up in Southeastern Iowa USA and we had a yearly rodeo complete with the cowboys, bulls and horse riding. Afterward there was always a big country music star performance in the rodeo arena. There I am, 15 years old, in the crowded arena with the music blaring when suddenly the I feel smooth skin brush against my hand in a downward motion. I turn around to find a girl squatting on the dirt ground, relieving herself.
    3. And finally: my first big trip to NYC I was walking down a major street in Chelsea, when I got the sight of a lifetime. There, amidst the parked vehicles, the street vendors, the multitudes of pedestrians I see a stream of something flowing out from next to a trash bin. I follow the stream up, and yup, there it is: a man holding out and waving his… appendage for all the passersby to see. He may have been relieving himself but that day I felt NO relief!!!!

    Thanks for the awesome post! My blog,, talks about these things sometimes too. I think you and I might have some things in common! I will definitely try stopping by again!

  62. So outrageous…
    I wonder if they are all married people. I would expect singles to be more self conscious in case there were potential dates around. Imagine being introduced to someone cute and then remembering that you saw him earlier clipping his toenails in the line at the post office.

  63. So hilarious! I was once in the check out line at Target when the woman in front of me in line started to file her nails. The biggest problem I had was that she used the nail files that sit at the check out…for people to buy! When she was finished with her mini-manicure she put the nail file back on the shelf! OMG, some people!

  64. Maybe it’s because I have a different idea of what should and shouldn’t be done in public, but with a few exceptions most of these don’t strike me as “GASP, YOU’RE COMMITTING A SOCIAL FAUX PAS” occurrences. So someone’s in a bigger hurry than you (and has a different idea of what being in such a hurry justifies their doing). OK. C’est la vie.

  65. a lot of women do that when they’re running late at the moment but nail clipping while wearing designer brand clothes in a public vehicle? like what is that! its a big turn-off…………… 😛

  66. Seen a lady change her under garments on a subway train. Bra. Panties. Panty-hose. She was quite proud of herself for “not showing all her goods” as she did it. well..if she were sitting where my friend and I were sitting she would have thought differently.

  67. I was at a restaurant with my mother a few years ago and I left the table to use the restroom. When I sat back down, I looked up at her and she was FLOSSING her teeth! At the table! In a respectable $25 a plate restaruant! I was mortified. People had definitely noticed, one women couldn’t hide her look of disgust. What made it worse is that she didn’t see anything wrong with what she was doing! I’m forever scarred.

  68. A funny take. You get similar behaviour on a lot of public transport in many places. You also see similar in cars, while people are driving, which adds another dimension.

  69. great post! well i have seen a guy on the train pulling his un shaved chin hair out. it took him a good 10 min to find and re-find the hair, and pull it out slowly until it finally came out. for the sake of everyone staring at him (he was sitting and the rest of us poor souls were standing in frrnt of him!) i think we did a jump when his hair finally came out!

  70. This is a truly entertaining post. I don’t want to pick it apart although I don’t agree with all of it. So I’ll just say, “Ha ha, that was great! I’ll try not to become one of your PDTers…” and be on my merry way. 🙂

  71. Now this article had me cracking up laughing LOL I can remember a time when I was going to Dairy Queen with my family. A man was sitting on the bench biting his toenails. He was so focused on his toenails that I don’t think he realized people were driving and walking around him hahahahahaha it was disgusting. All we could do was stare at him!!

  72. LOL- until the floss thing I thought, what’s the big deal? I see stuff like that in public all the time. . .A funny read though 😉

  73. really funny observations!!!!well, i hav already laughed noticing these activities live and your post has given a push to those memories…..
    well, I myself had a bad habit of biting nails, which, I don’t do now… really guys need to understand that people around them get affected by such activities of theirs……
    hehe a nice read and useful one!

  74. Really good read. Enjoyed it! 🙂

    I also sat and thought about this and couldn’t remember coming across anything like this and just as I was about to hit send, I remembered:

    One day, at the shopping centre, I saw this woman with her very young son. He needed to go pee and clearly the bathroom which was approx. 100m away was too far to go, so she looked around her and then proceeded to take the coffee cup from the counter of one of the coffee/cake stores. She pulled his pants off – for the world to see and pointed him, whilst holding one of his little arms and instructed him to pee in the cup. When he was done she looked around to see if anyone saw. I was completely mortified. What in god’s name was she thinking?

  75. Great post, Ms. Sunshine! I didn’t know whether to laugh or say eeew… (I think I mostly said eeew!!!)
    Hey you’re Freshly Pressed! So, so proud of you!!
    Happiness 🙂

  76. I also commute using the train on a daily basis, and yes! I have seen some of the very same things that people do during the trip. Some are really gross that I wouldn’t even consider doing in public when people’s eyes have rested and want to see something exciting than the numbers swimming on their excel sheets.

  77. Hilarious! You sound just like me, I’m always going on about how poorly people behave in public. I was at a show at the theatre and a girl slipped off her flat and started picking out debris from in between her toes! The theatre! Is nothing sacred anymore?

  78. I am a software support specialist. Customers call a helpline to get assistance from myself and my colleagues. We have encountered many offensive and unprofessional calls over the years, but I believe the worst ever was a man who called in to seek advice and then proceeded to flush the toilet after having been on a call for greater than 15 minutes. Ever heard of mute????

  79. Just thinking about PDT’s in my part of the world (India) makes me want to never step out of my house again.

    I loved this post; it has ensured a good start to my day, even if it is about PDTs 😉 BTW, I just love the terminology — PDT. 😉

  80. hahaha I like the “havent seen anyone waxing their legs” in the tube yet… maybe some upcoming spring entertainment as you mentioned! LOL
    But I see NYC and London’s subway/metro system’s got a lot in common “entertainment”-wise. I do see a lot of people trim their nails on the subway, like as if I really wanna be “splashed” with your disgusting nails! boy I feel you on that one! Had me chuckling the whole time reading your blog!

  81. Living in the states and realizing that we both have the same predicaments when we go out into the public makes me have to sit back and chuckle. It seems that so many have forgotten what it means to have manners. Even today when a repairman came over to work on the TV, I saw some nail cippers and thought about clipping my nails but then I though OMG! that is so gross and would be so rude. Perhaps I just come from the old school of etiquette?

  82. Thank you for this wonderful article! I am so happy to discover that I am not the only one that feels like this with PDTs on London’s public transport….

    I once saw a guy in the tube standing with his back to the tracks (if that somehow made it better) clipping his nails. I therefore laughed when I read your opening lines 🙂 A puzzled women that stood further down the platform was looking around to understand why she was hearing clippers, spotted the guy and put on a disgusted face. She then looked at my face which apparently looked equally displeasured and whispered/mimed “Is that guy clipping his nails?” to which I could only hopelessly nod.

    Have a nice Weekend!


  83. its quite normal here in india to ve breakfast in trains. but clipping nails in road is quite disgusting

  84. Gross… people are even more gross, they are picking the wastage from there nose and making it a small ball, as if they are going to play football with it….ewwww…i have encountered…that kind of people as well!!
    this post reminded me of that particular incident…

  85. Yes!! And no PDTs in the office, please. I once worked in a big office shared with 5 other software people (it was our little ghetto in a hardware company), and the guy next to me used to clip his fingernails in the office, which was not only a task that ought to be done in private, it was oddly *loud*.

    Talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop– the clippers made a huge *SNAP*. Nothing like sitting there trying to concentrate on a thorny *SNAP* problem, never knowing when the *SNAP* next clip was coming. Totally *SNAP* nerve-wracking.

    It occurs to me that this is a kind of pun, too, since the British say “Snap!” to mean “I’ve had the same experience”. So I see your South-African-view-of-life-in-London blog and say “Snap!”, because I’ve got an American-view-of-life-in-England blog. Let’s stay in touch!

  86. Either your tongue is firmly in your cheek (which IS allowed in public) or your therapist has a lot more work to do with you on intimacy issues 😀

  87. That was hilarious! It’s the sort of thing i see every day and they are truly disgusting!

    I really don’t understand why people can’t do those things at home before they leave – for instance get up 15 minutes early?!

    Great post!

  88. Congratulations my friend!!! You deserve every bit of being Freshly Pressed (now that I know what that means) – I have always thought you are the most amazing writer!!!! Wow!

  89. Okay, so that’s gross and funny at the same time! But, good job on expressing your disgusts. You must have a lot of awkward experiences, don’t you?

  90. Wonderful post and a well-deserved freshly pressed. All those PDTs are just awful – but I’ve seen them done here in the US while people were driving their cars – at least your tacky folks weren’t endangering any lives. And then there was the time I saw a woman walk into a Port-A-Potty with her cellphone to her ear …

  91. Ha!ha! Great post!
    Would you believe that my new officemate flosses his teeth each day in the office?! And it’s a small office! And he does it so noisily! Can you imagine?! Definitely something people should be doing at home. I agree. Thanks for the interesting read! 🙂

  92. I would love to have seen any CCTV footage of myself as I realised what she was doing. I would have seen a very thinly disguised expression of displeasure. Even with a frozen face, I managed to frown and let my lips frill. Surely her day wasn’t so busy that she couldn’t do that at home? Come on, lady.

    I’d love to have seen your expression too!

    I have seen women doing their make-up on the tube, the whole business from foundation to eyeliner.

    Other than knit a sweater, I think everything a person can do on a subway ride, I’ve seen people do or attempt to do while driving a car in the US.

    And flossed her teeth.

    Either that woman had no shame whatsoever, or she thought, “Well, I’m not operating a motor vehicle–might as well.”

    I’m embarrassed to blow my nose in my car…with other motorists as potential audience. I try to keep my nose out of other persons’ views, or save it for instances where I want the passenger in the car next to me to stop looking me. Nothing like fishing up a nostril to get someone to turn his gaze elsewhere. ^_^

  93. Hahaha…I kept on chuckling and giggling scrolling down the page. I live in Den Haag now, we don’t have metros, but yes we have tram, and it’s forbidden to eat or drink inside trams. Nice to see people commenting on what-so-called “invisible” or “anonymous” since they’re on public transport. Going publicly doesn’t equal to going anonymously as if they encounter no rule to constrain what people should or should not do. It’s about etiquettes you know, and tact. Fortunately I’ve never seen such mannerless acts on train or trams but if I should do someday, I would give them a look as long as it may take to make them aware of their behaviour in public places.
    Keep on posting! I’d like to know more about customs, traditions, or common spots in London.

  94. What a great post! I’m just glad I didn’t read it before putting up my offering for today — I would’ve felt outclassed on a very similar subject. Thanks for the laugh

  95. Let’s see yesterday, at work, a tech guy had to fix my computer. He wore a nice pair pants , belt. Except his pants hung low to see his butt crack.

    The guy who sat across from my cubicle, got up and left to go somewhere temporarily. I guess he didn’t know where else to look.

    And I had to sit down in a chair and face somewhere else. Some people do not know…even biz wear.

  96. Congrats on freshly pressed!

    The flossing would have grossed me out. I would have thought about food flicks and germs.

    However, people fidget, run late for time-yes they need to start earlier. These are minor infractions, except the flossing in public.

    You could actually see people doing that word that starts with an S and ends in an X… or the other S word.

  97. Congrats on being freshly pressed.
    I’m one of those people you talk about in your post! And I’m quite suprised that no one else on here has defended these people/ us. Taking it on a count by cound basis, the woman at the bus stop clipping her finger nails. If I had never read this post I would never think that someone would be offended by the sight of finger nails dropping to the floor. If it was inside, or if they were flying all over people, then, yes, that’s something to be annoyed at.

    You talk of women ‘sorting themselves out’ on the tube – has it not occured to you that these people are running late? Maybe they’ve been at work all day and now they’re going out for the evening? I’m telling you, it probably doesn’t even occur to most of these people that they’re offending the person sat opposite them.

    I have stuffed my face full of plenty of stuff on the tube before and it most cases it’s because I haven’t eaten all day. KFC, Chinese food, burgers, MnS, soup, almost everything that can be brought onto the tube! I wouldn’t eat with my mouth open, but if we can all sit around in restaurants, pubs, street cafes etc. without hating each other, why on earth wouldn’t that be the case on the tube? If I had known I’d been annoying the other people sat around me I would have stopped straight away.

    Maybe it’s because I’m young, maybe it’s because I’ve travelled on more night buses than you? I’ve seen people be sick on others, on the floor, on myself. I’ve seen people who have wet themselves. I don’t dislike these people, I dont get annoyed by it because, well, so what if they over did it? It happens, sometimes you drink to much and you’re sick. It’s just bad timing that we (the people of the bus) got to see it. So what if that person is making up her face infront of me, maybe she didn’t have time to do it this morning, maybe she cycled to the station, maybe thats why she got changed in the toilet?

    1. Thanks, Matt. And thanks for sharing your perspective. There’s no hating going on here, just light-hearted observations, but I do get what you’re saying. Thanks for the visit.

      1. Funny post, Sunshine. So glad you were Freshly Pressed so I could get a good chuckle. Thanks also to Matt for making me think twice before I make assumptions about those around me. I needed both the laugh and the reminder to extend a little grace.

  98. Living in South Africa you see a lot of this and worse and nobody blinks at it! I once shook my head at a nose mining driver and got the middle finger!
    Great blog! Will visit again! 🙂

  99. Hurray for you! I’ve just returned from London and am doing catch up with the posts of the people I follow. I thought your post was hilarious and then I saw there were 198 comments. I thought, “Wow, either Sunshine is Freshly Pressed or the universe has suddenly discovered that she is really worth reading. When I travel, nobody ever does anything even vaguely interesting. Remind me never to travel with you.

  100. This is exactly why I don’t take public transportation. Too many weirdos and I don’t like people invading my space, no thanks! I do think that someone was doing drugs in a tube that I went in London, or some kind of weird act, and I think that was my worst.

  101. Interesting reading. And am I glad there are people out there noticing and taking time out for the little things that do matter in life with all that darker chaos out there overshadowing everything else. Thank you Sunshine…

  102. I dont mind when people eat in public on the buses and tube because you get the nice smell of fries or fish & chips.

    1. I heard some young girls on the bus today talking about the advert that reads, “I will not eat smelly food on the bus”. One suggested that that referred to egg sandwiches. That sounded about right to me! Thanks for coming by.

  103. Oh, Friday at the end of a long work day working with 3 year olds and this was just the thing I needed to read. I just loved all of it. So funny.
    The things you see people doing… You should film them. Get a spy cam and then make them famous. I wrote about a guy who was feasting in the car behind me recently. It’s not a story for around dinner time.
    I’ll be reading more of your blog soon – It’s fab!

  104. What a funny and well-written piece! I recently spent 5 weeks living in London and was lucky enough to not see too many PDTs. 🙂 You’d be surprised how much nose-picking goes on in America, though…

  105. I was on a New York subway line a few weeks ago and had the displeasure of witnessing a woman in a dress fidgeting for a minute before she reached under her skirt and pulled off her underwear, then reached in her bag for a new pair and put them on.. talk about unwanted PDT!!!

  106. I’m new to WordPress and just read this from”Freshly Pressed”. You have reminded me of a day in the office years back, when a male colleague sat clipping the nails of one hand. He then asked both a colleague and myself if we would cut the nails on the other had as “my wife usually does it for me”. I wonder if I’ll ever be lucky enough to forget that day…

  107. Brilliant! Know exactly what you mean, I’ve travelled on London Underground for about 3-4 years now and I’ve seen some gruesome stuff… Strange what people decide to do on the underground!

  108. Congratulations on getting the Fresh Pressed imprimatur (saw it in a comment on Planejaner’s blog, where I’ve noticed your comments before, although this is my first dip into yours); I’m still trying for FP, myself. I confess to sometimes putting on eye makeup, blush, and lipstick on the Staten Island ferry on the way to work (or, these days, to a job interview), but that’s where I draw the line. I have seen nail polish applied, fingernails clipped, eyebrows plucked. My partner, Roger, saw a young woman change her clothes on the ferry — and he was NOT in the ladies room! My favorite is the women who blow dry their hair on the ferry in the morning, arriving on the boat with wet hair, going into the ladies room with a brush, and turning the hot air hand dryer there to point up while they brush. The top honours, though go to a friend of mine who once saw a woman on the New York subway remove her shoes and begin clipping her toenails! The only good thing about your current weather is it will probably spare you a scene like that one!

    1. Thanks so much, jevcat. I’ve seen your name on planejaner’s blog too – thanks for coming to visit! Those are some sightings you’ve had on the ferry – amazing! Good luck with job interviews, and keep warm!

  109. Wow Sunshine, had to scroll down for miles to leave a comment. You sure have lots a folk reading your awesome blog now. Just fantastic!
    Thanks for the laugh. I’m too private to do things publically, not to mention how gross it is for others to watch. Amazes me how it phases some people NON.
    Hugs x

  110. Thanks for sharing my feelings on gross PDT! One day I will be brave enough to tell something to these people!

  111. Haha, at least that is all on public transportation. Imagine driving next to someone and seeing pretty much the same thing? I’ve seen ladies applying mascara, plucking eyebrows, and I even saw one guy shaving. It’s pretty crazy over here in America

    1. That does sound crazy! I’ve also seen people eating breakfast cereal while they drive, too, in Cape Town! Poor other drivers. Thanks for visiting my blog, milliondollardanny.

  112. HAHA, this was hilarious! I’ve seen people do strange things, too. I once saw a guy clipping his nails, and have seen so many women applying makeup and fixing their hair. Hair fixing is something I absolutely cannot STAND. Hair is personal, and should not be flipped into someone else’s face. I feel like murdering someone who flicks their hair in my personal space. It’s just gross. 😛

  113. Fun read. True as well. While I don’t mind most things ’cause I’m simply not interested and pretty much always make sure I’ve got something to do – book, IPod, or at least something consistent to think of, I did notice a few pretty gross things. The thing, for me, anyway, is, that once I observe something, I sorta can’t take my eyes off. It’s disgusting or confusing me but also drawing me. Yeah I know. :))

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