Saturday, January 28, 2012

Shaken Not Stirred

It seems so easy...  

You throw it out there, make a connection, a little squeeze, a little up and down action...

Dogs do it.

That's right, I'm talking about shaking hands.  It's too easy, right?

A good handshake is harder than it seems.

I know a guy, we'll call him Bear, who seriously shakes hands.  I mean he takes it very seriously. I've had to re-shake because we've done it in a way that isn't up to his high standards.

You see most people extend their arm prior to the handshake, which I am sure is the "spirit" of the handshake. I won't debate or bore you with the origins of the handshake, but stories say that it was a method to show that you weren't holding a weapon.

By extending your arm, and I've seen people even lean forward a bit, you lose the ability to "attack" the handshake. You leave yourself open to the whims of the person you will shake with. They could take any number of lesser handshake styles leaving you with no choice but to accept it:

1. The Finger Squeezer - No intention to shake your hand, this handshake grabs your fingers and can be painful if a forceful squeeze is employed. 

2. Limping Along - this is almost opposite of the first one.  In this variation, the other person gives only his/her fingers with a slightly bent wrist.

3. Hand Slap - no shake at all, but a side five. Not horrible, but no connection.

Now, the Bear method involves a method I like to call "Cocked and Locked." When Bear is planning to shake your hand, there is "the look". Eyes are slightly wider, there is a definite smile (mainly because he knows what's coming.)

The approach is measured, he's a tall dude and could make up the distance between you and he so quickly that it it could be a hug instead of a handshake, and he'd be ok with that too!

The best part of the whole deal is the body position; left arm out a bit to the side with a "you could shake or you could hug, but this wingspan only gets bigger and you won't escape" vibe. Almost like a gun fighter, the right arm is high and tight to his body, hand already in pre-shake position with nothing all flim-flam... coiled... ready to strike out and attack the shake.

As the distance closes, you ready for the shake.


Then it begins, the right arm shoots out... web attacking's like a hand slap in its suddenness, yet it holds. It is a healthy wild shaking. It is solid and strong, yet because the grip is deep, like a baseball into the web of a glove, there is no pain.

Few words describe the sensation, the one I would use is "genuine."

Do you have a good handshake or could it use some work?


  1. I used to have a firmer handshake (for a chick)-but have had to amend.

    I am no fan of the extra firm hand crusher.  Makes me want to say, "Geez!  Ease up a little, dude!  Good thing I don't have some horrifying pain disorder...oh wait, I do.  So try decaf, will ya?"

    Funny post, I LOL'd!

  2. I think I tend to shy away from handshakes, because the other person is usually such a disappointment. Things I hate are "the squeeze" where they start by shaking normal, but have to add that little extra pulse to it. Like they are trying to literally leave an impression on my hand.
    I also dislike it when I shake a man's hand and it is softer than mine. Everyone should do some form of hard labor in their lives, even if their job requires them to sit at a computer and attend meetings.
    Lastly, I really dislike shaking hands with someone who has sweaty palms or very cold hands. It makes me think they might be sick and I have just caught some sort of virus by touching them. I'm not OCD, but where is the hand sanitizer?

  3. Thanks Slucious Lyme Goddess...

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Lol Jen! Man hands should be a bit calloused. Women should not have man hands, ask Seinfeld.
    I'm not big on the "pulse" either, you're not tenderizing meat or starting my heart...knock it off.
    Great comment!

  5. So, fist bumps are out of style again?  Man, I need a refresher course on what is 'in'...

  6. Only if they have the appropriate "explosion" (complete with noise)

  7. Handshakes from a woman can be very disarming, especially if you offer yours first. It sets the tone for who I am - let me put you at ease and know that I'm warm, friendly and approachable.

  8. When first I read your comment, I misread "disarming" as "alarming" but now it makes sense. Thanks for the comment.

  9. Some feel that the noise is optional even if it plays loudly in their head.




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