Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A hand to hand exchange

There is no escaping a handshake in society, but that doesn’t mean it should be executed any old way. It can’t be too soft or too hard. Ideally a handshake should be firm – a happy medium between the two extremes. Personally, I’m not a fan of the practice. Some people don’t wash their hands while others have open cuts and sores. Yet, they will gladly stick out a hand for you to shake. No. Thank. You. This is why I keep hand sanitizer with me at all times. However, I often have to bite the bullet and offer my hand. My only request is if you’re going to shake my hand, make sure it’s done right.

I abhor the “almost dead fish” handshake. You know what I mean – an overly weak handshake that feels like the person is barely alive. Perhaps if the fish was dead it would feel better because of the stiffness from rigor mortis. Shaking hands with an almost dead fish feels disgusting. The main culprit of this handshake is men, at least for me. Several peers and I actually had a discussion about this handshake. The view was men don’t want to hurt a woman with a strong shake. Well simply shake it firmly. Just because I am a woman I will not break. I promise.

On the flip side I hate the “bone crusher” handshake. It’s happened several times where someone shook my hand so hard until my knuckles cracked. The sound came out very loud and clear for both of us to hear. I should not need a cast after a handshake. It’s a handshake, not a test to pull the sword out of the stone. Perhaps my biggest complaint is the “barely there” handshake. It makes me think the person doesn’t want to touch me. Then I start to feel bad. Why isn’t my hand good enough to shake? I should not leave a handshake with lowered self-esteem because the person doesn’t know how to handle the exchange properly.

A firm handshake is truly one size fits all. It doesn’t matter if you have the strength of Popeye or the frailty of Olive Oyl. Keep that in mind and people everywhere will clamor to touch you. Then again they probably have germs. I think I might just start curtseying instead. No touching required.

Exhibit A: A firm handshake

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