Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pepper Spray Etiquette

My husband Cliff wanted us to both be safe, so he bought us each pepper spray. I wanted us both to be safe, so I never took mine out of the package.

If you have never experienced pepper spray, or are thinking about carrying some pepper spray for safety, or simply trying some out just to see what it's like, the following are a few etiquette rules one should follow:

1. If you feel you must have pepper spray with you, put it in a safe place where it cannot accidentally be sprayed. A safe place would be any place a child cannot find it, or in a special spot. One example would be your glove compartment in your car, not a pocket full of other things like your keys, along with your cell phone, and other assorted items.
Dawn helps save wildlife. It also helped save my husband.

2. If you accidentally spray your pepper spray on yourself after having it in an overly-filled pant pocket, immediately, and extremely politely, ask a spouse, loved one or friend, to please go out and buy you copious amounts of Dawn dish washing liquid. Pepper spray is an oily substance, and as Dawn is used to clean sea life that have been victims of oil spills, it will help you tremendously.

3. Thank your loved one (or friend) profusely. Then, when the pain has subsided, send a handwritten thank you note along with chocolates, flowers, or possibly a bottle of wine. This is a nice touch, especially if your loved one had just returned from 5 long hours of Christmas shopping, and had to run right out again to buy you gallons of Dawn dish detergent.
Maybe you should keep this in your pants pocket instead.

4. Do not use, for example, your spouse's shower to wash the pepper spray off. Surprisingly, this can be construed as very impolite. Those soapy bubbles float all over the place, and when your spouse then goes to take a shower, he or she may find they are sporting a face that is bright red and burning, as the bubbles taking the pepper spray off of you, floated onto the facial cleanser, shampoo and conditioner bottles, and basically the entire shower! Check into a hotel to shower or bathe. Or shower outside with a garden hose if need be. Whatever you do, do not attempt to clean yourself in your spouse's shower or bathtub.

Seriously... the stuff burns!

5. If your spouse's shower or bath are your only options, hire a professional cleaning crew in hazmat suits, to come in afterward and clean said shower or bathtub, as another apology and act of graciousness. You then should always be welcome to use the shower or bath anytime after that.

This stuff works really well, if slathered all over your spouse's face a dozen times throughout the afternoon and evening, even if it is Christmas Eve and he or she is entertaining the family. At least it works well until a new package of supplies arrives from your spouse's favorite beauty or skincare consultant.

6. If your spouse has just purchased shampoo, conditioner, their favorite Kiehl's facial cleanser, and other assorted items that are in the shower with you, politely explain that you will need to throw them all out, but you will purchase all new items to replace them. Make sure you follow through with purchasing new items as soon as possible, and throw in a couple of extra skin care goodies as an added act of goodwill.

Please give your dry cleaner a warning.

7. If you take your pepper sprayed clothing to be professionally laundered, kindly warn the establishment that the clothing has pepper spray on it. If they launder it with anyone else's clothes, they may find themselves named in an unwanted lawsuit.

These won't persuade anyone.

8. If you are goofy enough to take your spouse's unopened package of pepper spray and attach it to your new key ring and keys, simply because you now, "know what to do if it happens again." please laugh it off when your spouse's friends, hairdresser and relatives think you are nuts. You can show them you have those handy wipes you bought off of the internet as proof that you are prepared for yet another pepper spray disaster.

As for me? I am sticking with this pet safe stuff. Evidently it doesn't burn.
*Special Note for Physicians: If you are a physician, and your spouse has been given pepper spray by a friend, please don't spritz it into a toilet to see what happens. Moments later, something will happen all the way back down the hall, into your office. You will experience a burning face and burning eyes. Just try to keep in mind, you were smart enough to get through medical school, and take relief in the fact that you were wise enough to not try this during office hours when patients were in the waiting room, right next to that restroom. Politely tell your spouse not to carry the pepper spray. It's up to you whether or not you want to tell your loved one why.

Contributor, and Site Editor, Maura Graber has been teaching etiquette to children, teens and adults, and training new etiquette instructors, for over a quarter of a century, as founder and director of The RSVP Institute of Etiquette. She is also a writer, has been featured in countless newspapers, magazines and television shows and was an on-air contributor to PBS in Southern California for 15 years.