Monday, April 09, 2007

Handshakes will be the death of us all

I'll never understand this fetish for hard handshakes. Society seems to operate on some misguided premise that a firm, dry handshake is the only route to making a good first impression on new associates. It must be a decisive, bone-crunching interlocking handgasm, and anything less signals a weak personality. What nonsense.

Our heads are filled with this bile when we're shaking hands with new people over things like multi-million pound business deals, the swapping of Merlin Premier League stickers, or coming through the door at the start of a job interview (what's one of those?). In reality, a firm handshake makes me recoil in horror. It suggests the shaker is overly-decisive and single minded to the point of dogma. Plus if their hands are completely dry it indicates they're so dead inside that they feel nothing. There is absolutely no traffic moving through their pores and I find it extremely baffling.

There's nothing wrong with a bit of clamminess every once in a while. I find moisture in the palm of somebody's hand almost comforting, and the way it offers a sensation akin to the administering of a freshly-opened wet wipe really quite refreshing. Popular convention teaches us that a limp, wet handshake is a sign of nervousness, uneasiness and indecision, whereas really it signals open-mindedness, sensitivity, and a willingness to be subservient in aid of the greater good.

The hard-handshake propaganda must be countered by the weak-handshake truth. Otherwise where will we stop? Or indeed will we stop atall, before mankind locks itself in some kind of Darwinist process of natural selection whereby people like me are eradicated, and an alpha-species of firm handshakers marches on? Only to eventually self-destruct as the handhakes get harder and crunchier as people battle to have the firmest shake. More and more hands are broken, and evolution is ultimately reversed to the point where we adapt to having just stumps at the end of our arms? Is that really the future? Well?

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