I have recently concluded that there are people out there who have no clue about proper handshake etiquette.
Every once in a while I leave the house in order to appear a somewhat functional member of society, and without fail find myself in a situation where I must shake hands or talk to someone.
I’m not saying I don’t like shaking hands…because I’m actually one of those people who don’t mind physical contact with others despite my introvert-ish nature. I’m a big-time hugger of friends old and new. After getting together to hang out once or twice, my huggy side tends to come out…especially if alcoholic beverages of any kind are involved. It’s even more fun if I KNOW that the person isn’t really that into hugging, because then I make it my life’s mission to make them feel as awkward as humanly possible because that shit’s just funny.
Anyway, despite the fact that I don’t mind physical contact with others at all, and can hug even the scariest person into submission, handshakes totally confuse me.
Regular-Joe handshakes are totally fine and acceptable, but there are so many different kinds of shakes out there that it’s hard to keep up.
You have the ‘hand-hugger’ which involves both hands…BOTH HANDS!!! Why? Why would you need two hands to do what one is perfectly capable of accomplishing all by its little lonesome? It’s not like it needs a sidekick or wing-hand. Just let it be people.
These kinds of handshakes should be reserved for funerals ONLY! They are the kind that says “I’m so sorry and feel you need extra emotional support at this moment but I don’t know you well enough to hug you so I’m just gonna awkwardly hand-hug yours with mine’.
When that kind of handshake happens, I feel as if my hand was just involved in some kind of dirty threesome; it feels too intimate for some reason.
Then you have the ‘High-shaker’ who comes at you with his hand in the air (about his head height) yelling “Heeeeyyyy!” only to swoop his hand down toward yours at the last possible moment, totally throwing you off balance.
I honestly don’t have any idea if I should duck, or jump to grab onto his hand (this guy is always at least 5 feet taller than I am).
Occasionally you end up with both the Hand-hugger AND the High-shaker all wrapped up in one. First he attacks you from the air then comforts you as if to make up for scaring the shit out of you.
Another kind is the ‘Hand-dancer’ where the person thinks they are all cool and tries to do some kind of weird punch/pow/wiggle-their-fingers/patty-cake/turn-upside-down-crap that leaves you panicking and out of breath trying to keep up, then feeling completely ridiculous because you totally effed it up and now look like a moron.
The strangest one happened one day while I was shopping. I was in the cereal isle of the grocery store when I was tapped on the shoulder. I turned to find a man standing behind me with a mix of confusion and hesitation on his face. He looked harmless enough so I took a chance and smiled back politely. After introducing himself, he asked if I was Kristy Pantin. I confirmed that I was and he smiled and grabbed my hand in a firm hand-hug, exuberantly shaking it and asking if I could sign something for him.
I agreed and he immediately turned and yanked a box of Frosted Flakes from the shelf and pulled a pen from his pocket. He held both out to me expectantly.
Now I’m pretty sure one shouldn’t write on stuff that hasn’t yet been paid for, but I figured my life was probably too calm anyway so a little defacing of property sounded fun. That, and also I was fairly certain I would have no end of blog fodder from the inner bowels of jail if I got caught.
When I handed him back the box, he put it into his shopping cart and reached out to shake my hand again, only this time he started a full on conversation while comfortingly trapping my hand in BOTH of his.
I’m not sure if he felt he had to keep me there by force, but this guy wasn’t letting go of my hand for anything. The funny thing is that he made it look as if he had simply forgotten he still had my hand hostage.
Now that I think about it, there’s every chance it could have been a set up all along and he was probably making sure I didn’t escape the authorities after defacing the damn Frosted Flakes.
Anyway, not being one to draw attention to things and needlessly embarrass people, I did my best to listen to what he was saying.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to concentrate on someone’s conversation while they are holding your hand???
I had seriously never even thought about this kind of predicament before that day and my thoughts kept derailing to…”You’re still holding my hand!…Why are you holding my hand?…Please let go this is awkward…I want my hand back!…Sir?…My hand?…Why must you do such things?…For the love of all that is holy I command you to release my hand!…Just…Let…Go!…Pleeeeeeze!…Oh God I’m starting to panic…Unhand me sir!…One, two, three aaaaaand release!”
I swear it felt like he had talked for about ten minutes straight before he finally released my hand and said goodbye. I don’t even know what the heck he was talking about during that time because of the constantly running, slightly panicked monologue in my head. Two people had walked by with curious looks during that time, and although he politely moved US aside, he still held on like there was no tomorrow.
I’m sure he was probably a very sweet and affectionate man, but because of the hostage situation and my intense dislike of being the focus of attention, I started sweating in panic and ended up almost running away once I was finally freed.
So for the love of God, if you’re one of those people who do the ‘Hand-hostage’ thing when you shake…STOP! There is a time limit for these things. One or two quick shakes aaaaaand RELEASE…especially if you are shaking the hand of an introvert who may or may not start panicking and donkey-kick you at any moment.
How does one even get out of a situation like that politely?