Mr. Eti­quette

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page -

Not that I want to date my­self, but I can re­mem­ber a time that when you met some­one, man or woman, you ex­tended

What­ever hap­pened to that? These days, you lit­er­ally have to guess what to do when you meet or greet some­one. I go to many events, both so­cially and for my job, and I meet peo­ple from all walks of life.

Maybe it’s just me, but I have trou­ble synch­ing up with the per­son in front of me for a sim­ple greet­ing.

Let’s start with the hand­shake, from me to an­other man. Usu­ally if the man is my age or older, it’s pretty straight­for­ward with the clas­sic hand­shake.

That is, un­less he’s a politi­cian. In that case, he will grip my right hand with his, but his left hand will lock in around my right wrist like a hand­cuff, so I can’t pull away un­til he re­leases my wrist. The vari­a­tion on that is his left hand goes on top of our clenched right hands, kind of like ic­ing on a cake. Again, I can’t let go un­til he de­cides to. The last one for politi­cians is where he’s shak­ing my right hand, and his left hand goes into my wal­let pocket. Just kid­ding.

The next cat­e­gory is shak­ing hands with some­one younger, or dur­ing a sports-re­lated oc­ca­sion. You clench their hand like you’re arm wrestling. Some guys im­me­di­ately drop it down from that po­si­tion into where you clench hands like you’re thumb wrestling. Most times I’ll miss part two of that end up grab­bing air.

The re­ally young guys start with the arm-wrestling grip, then they pull you in shoul­der-to-shoul­der and give you a hug with their left arm. It’s cooler than it sounds.

you want to treat them equally, and most times I do, but this she’s go­ing to give you a cheek-press air kiss.

I will never ini­ti­ate that un­less it’s a good friend or rel­a­tive. But I think the woman is also not sure which way to go and doesn’t want to ap­pear un­friendly. Nine times out of 10, it goes like this for me when meet­ing a woman:

I will ex­tend my right hand for a hand­shake and no­tice, af­ter a split-sec­ond of hes­i­ta­tion, as she starts to lean in, I’m as­sum­ing, to com­plete the cheek-press air kiss. Since I’m al­ready three sec­onds be­hind, I rapidly cor­rect and move my head for­ward like a guided mis­sile to her cheek. I end up col­lid­ing into her cheek with mine and sub­se­quently have to apol­o­gize.

Leave it to me to have to apol­o­gize for an air kiss. rna­ga­sawa@mid­week.com

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