Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Handshake

One of the funny things I find myself often pondering, is the daily things we do that we don't put much thought into, but are actually quite complicated when you really think about it. The latest of these random ponderings, is the intricacies of the simple handshake.

I know what your thinking. "Common Arun! Only someone completely incompetant would find a handshake complicated! You're reaching on this one!" Bear with me as I take you into the wonderful world of handshaking etiquette and style!

Before I begin, I feel it necessary to define a few terms that ALL handshakers should be aware of:

Straight: Also known as the handshake grip, this is your "ordinary" handshake grip with your fingers straight ahead and thumb pointing up at roughly a 45 degree angle.

Clutch: This is the "cool" handshake with the fingers extended at a 45 degree angle up in which each shaker grips the "shakees" hand around the thumb region.

Delayed Release: This is generally a secondary addition to a "straight" or "clutch" in which each shaker curls his four fingers around the others four fingers before releasing.

Straight-five: A variation of the popular "high-five" except you go in as if going in for a straight, but instead of squeezing the others hand, you give him friendly hit a la a high five.

Now if your still with me, I've only defined some BASIC positions of handshaking. There are so many more! With all of these variations, its only natural that there'd be some confusion right?

For example, suppose you haven't seen a buddy in a long time. Generally this length of separation might call for a hug, but we all know that this isn't a common practice among guys. In this case, you go for the clutch and then pull in for the chest bump, meanwhile reaching around with your off hand to give a pat on the shoulder.

This however cannot be accomplished if you go in with the "straight" handshake and attempt a pull-in. Do this looks like you're trying to pull in your buddy to whisper sweet nothings in his ear...definite no-no.

My personal favorite is the clutch with a delayed release, followed by the the knuckle-touch. The only problem here is when people leave you hanging on the knuckle touch and you look like an idiot!

The thing is, people are so inconsistant when it comes to doing the knuckle touch as a finisher to a handshake. Its always a gamble and you have to guess one way or another. I can't tell you how many times I've gone in for the knuckle-touch and been left hanging! There I am with my hand balled up in a fist just sticking out there doing nothing! The question then is, do I try to be slick and put the fist away hoping no one saw my knuckle touch get blown off, or do I call the offending party out: "Hey man! Where's my knuckle pound!?!"

As purely a courtesy, I always go in for the knuckle touch as a handshake finisher to save the other party from the embarassment of being "left hanging." Yes, this does result in me being left hanging by those who don't practice the knuckle-touch finisher, but I'd rather it be me, than for for me to be the one causing emabarassment.

One of my favorite variations that I like to do when I'm saying goodbye to girls I've just met (if we haven't established enough of a rapport yet for a hug) is to go for the clutch followed by a delayed release. Now the beauty of the delayed release is that you are now perfectly in "thumb-war" position. So I go right into the thumb war! Guys, you should try this one.

I'm also, with girls, a fan of the high-five. I'm not a big fan of handshakes when meeting girls in a casual setting because generally, girls hands are so small and they usually don't give a real firm shake, so I feel like I'm gonna break there hand. Normal handshakes also feel too formal. So when I don't go for the fancy-schmancy shake, I do the high-five. Somehow high-fives are always fun, especially when you get perfect contact.

Now the crazy fun is when you take these handshake variations, and start using them in places where people wouldn't expect you too. For example, sometimes when I see people I know at work in passing, I'll automatically go up for the high five. Or, if I happen to be introducing myself to like a clerk or barista at a coffee shop, I'll go in for the handshake, but then shift into the clutch with a delayed release (and possibly a knuckle touch if it looks like they know what they're doing). This immediately ups the comfort level beyond what a normal handshake would've done.

So practice up on your handshakes! Knowing the variations can be very handy (get it? "hand"-y). Practice your skills, invent a few of your own (I've got a couple of crazy ones) and share the love! Know your situation and which shake is appropriate for that situation!

Oh the versatility of the everyday handshake!

1 comment:

Enhance Life said...

Hi,
Came across your blog for the first time. Nice site. I enjoyed it. Will be back again....


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