I’ve been contemplating handshakes sporadically over the last little while. Plain old, introductory handshakes.
I should probably state up front that I’m a bit of a hand snob. On the one hand [ooo, sorry. no pun intended], mine aren’t always in the best state, what with having to wash them a million times a day. I also find myself quite able to ignore my cuticles for weeks on end. On the other hand, nice hands are, well, just nice. They don’t have to be perfect or unscathed – that just suggests a profound lack of use – but shape, skin, movement and interest all play into my personal biases.
And my personal biases also include the grip of a handshake.
In the last little while, I’ve encountered several incredibly limp handshakes. I’m not sure if these people consider me excessively wimpy or icky, if they are, themselves, excessively wimpy or icky or simply don’t ‘do’ handshakes. [it’s been suggested that there may be cultural differences in acceptable handshake pressure, but that hasn’t corresponded well with experience.] If one is going so far as to be part of the handshake, should it not be a committed effort? On the far opposite end of the spectrum are, of course, the death grip handshakes. Those, thankfully, seem to have eased up around here. Everyone I meet, lately, has either a firm, pleasant handshake or an obligatory half-grasp that suggests they’d really rather be somewhere else.
A person could start to take it personally.
I suppose a handshake could be considered a terribly personal interaction – far more intrusive than a smile, an inclination of the head or a brief bow. And, I suppose, it would be rather awkward to refuse a handshake [though, the last couple of less-than-firm handshakes I’ve been party to were initiated by the other persons]. Perhaps the expectation of a handshake-style greeting has brought people to partake in it when they are far more comfortable with a nod.
I can certainly see the merit in a namaste and find it a very respectful way to acknowledge someone.
But, it’s a damn poor way to assess their hands.