I’ve always thought that shaking hands when you meet someone for the first time is the polite thing to do. Of course, there are situations when you either don’t do it, or you really don’t feel like doing it. One would be if the other person has obvious hygiene issues and you wouldn’t touch him or her even with a ten-foot pole. Or you are in possession of an amazing, out-of-this-world pervert radar and you suspect that he or she would rape your hand; how it’s done, I have no idea so go ask someone else. Or you are in a country where public physical contact for something as innocent as a handshake between a man and a woman is frowned upon, or worse, might get you stoned to death. Maybe you should have hugged a cactus instead.
Anyway I thought it’s pretty much a non-issue when it comes to handshakes. Direct eye contact with a smile (even the slightest) on your face, firm grasp but not crushing, “hi, I’m Suanie, pleased to meet you” (formal) or “ohai!” (informal), two shakes or two and a half then let go. Like many people, I abhor the limp handshake. Makes me feel like I just touched a cold, dead fish. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like touching cold, dead fishy. I also don’t like it if someone I barely know for 5 seconds hold on to my hand for a long time, so please let go after 3 shakes. Or if you JUST returned from a trip to the toilet, it’s okay I don’t have to shake your hand! Wave at me, scream, shout, whatever — I don’t want to touch you.
But something happened some time back that made me think about handshaking. I was at an informal social event, and one dude joined our party. He went around shaking hands with everyone at the table, me included. When he reached out his hand to shake another girl’s hand, she extended her hand and allowed him to hold it up till the knuckles. Confused by my terrible explanation? Perhaps the two screenshots below, taken from the movie Sydney White (yes, I like Amanda Bynes, fuck off) will serve as a better guide:
Matt Long and Amanda Bynes shaking hands. This is the only way I know how to do it
Matt Long and Crystal Hunt shaking hands. This was how the girl did it
The guy looked pleasantly astonished and exclaimed, “Why, this is how a lady shakes hands!”
I never knew! Did you? Thoughts??