I will defend my fellow Millennials against almost any accusation leveled at our generation — that we're "lazy" or "entitled" or somehow messed up for not wanting to get married — but there is one Millennial quirk that even I cannot get behind. Turns out, Millennials would rather share toothbrushes than phones. I'm sorry, guys, and I love you all dearly, but that is one bridge too far.
It's no secret that Millennials love our phones, and honestly, why wouldn't we? Have you seen everything you can do on a phone? I find it utterly unsurprising that we're attached to devices that let us interact with our loved ones, provide us with entertainment, and can basically access the entire sum total of human knowledge, all from just about anywhere. And it's also unsurprising that we'd be hesitant to share phones; those things hold a lot of personal information. Your mobile browser history alone could probably cue some awkward conversations. But being more OK with that than sharing toothbrushes? Really?
According to new data from the O2 Mobile Life Report, only about 4.5 percent of Millennials would be OK letting a close friend access their smartphone; roughly nine percent, however, were fine letting them borrow a toothbrush.
Now, the comforting thing here, of course, is that the number of people who are comfortable sharing a toothbrush is still pretty small — less than one in 10, in fact. But the fact that this seems less taboo than sharing a phone is more than a little disturbing — after all, sharing a phone might impact your privacy, but sharing a toothbrush might impact your health.
According to the CDC, "Limited research has suggested that even after being rinsed visibly clean, toothbrushes can remain contaminated with potentially pathogenic organisms." As such, they explicitly recommend that people do not share toothbrushes, noting, "The exchange of body fluids that such sharing would foster places toothbrush sharers at an increased risk for infections, a particularly important consideration for persons with compromised immune systems or infectious diseases."
That is way, way worse than somebody finding out you have a secret Tinder account or that you've been texting your ex.
In short, I have to say this might be the first time that my generation has truly let me down. Because even though the majority of us seem to have our heads screwed on properly, at least 4.5 percent of us would share a toothbrush, but wouldn't let someone look at our phone. And that is simply unacceptable. We as a generation need to grapple with this failing.