Art of the hand­shake

The Weekend Post - - Views - JENNIFER SPILS­BURY ED­I­TOR, CAIRNS POST

WHO could ever for­get that most awk­ward of greet­ings be­tween then La­bor op­po­si­tion leader Mark Latham and his ad­ver­sary and prime min­is­ter at the time John Howard? Latham’s hand­shake in­side a ra­dio sta­tion dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign of 2004 was a dis­play of pure mas­cu­line ag­gres­sive­ness and was quite sim­ply hard to watch. It was a com­pe­ti­tion in a hand­shake. Big man against lit­tle man. New op­po­nent against es­tab­lished guard. There was a healthy dose of bul­ly­ing be­hav­iour in there. Of course, his­tory shows that Mr Howard was not in­tim­i­dated and that Mr Latham, be­side that weird hand­shake mo­ment, had a whole lot of other weird is­sues go­ing on. So­ci­ety and our cul­ture has come a long way over the cen­turies. Curt­sies, bow­ing and a kiss on the hand are as out­dated as Don­ald Trump’s hair and ir­rel­e­vant in peo­ple’s lives, ex­cept for the Royal fam­ily, but the hand­shake re­mains the uni­ver­sal greet­ing – in­clud­ing for women – in the mod­ern age. Thank heav­ens. As much as I en­joy meet­ing new peo­ple, I wouldn’t want them to grab my hand and plant a slob­bery kiss on the back of it.

How­ever, what makes a good hand­shake and are we in dan­ger of los­ing the art of this warm and re­spect­ful wel­come?

The wet fish: It’s like be­ing of­fered a mack­erel in the last throes of its life.

You take the of­fered fish with great ex­pec­ta­tion and just as you go to pump up and down, its body falls limp and you are left to try to re­sus­ci­tate it by slap­ping it around in the air. When you re­alise there is no life left, dis­ap­point­ment sets in and you know that the en­su­ing meet­ing and re­la­tion­ship will for­ever be tar­nished by that poor first im­pres­sion. A most dis­ap­point­ing fish­ing trip. The ‘I don’t know what to do be­cause you’re a woman’ wel­come: An out­stretched hand comes out but just as

you go to ac­cept it, there is a change of mind.

They lean in, puck­er­ing up, ready for a peck on the cheek. But it’s too late and you’ve al­ready started to ac­cept the orig­i­nal hand­shake.

If ei­ther of you get out of this with­out a head­butt and em­bar­rass­ing grope it’s a mir­a­cle. I sug­gest sav­ing the sit­u­a­tion with a laugh and ac­cept­ing both — but one at a time please.

The hand­shake avoider: This greet­ing is gen­er­ally be­tween women but can be a cold sub­sti­tute of the real thing.

The play­ers on the Amer­i­can women’s golf tour are big fans of this ap­proach.

In­stead of shak­ing hands at the end of a game they en­gage in a faux hug, be­ing care­ful not to truly em­brace, and then po­litely pat each other on the back. No, no, nooooooo. The per­fect hand­shake? Eyes lock, arms out­stretch, hands link per­fectly in a firm but po­lite grip be­fore mov­ing in won­der­ful, re­spect­ful har­mony.

Heel­l­l­looooo.

THE PER­FECT HAND­SHAKE? EYES LOCK, ARMS OUT­STRETCH, HANDS LINK PER­FECTLY IN A FIRM BUT PO­LITE GRIP BE­FORE MOV­ING IN WON­DER­FUL, RE­SPECT­FUL HAR­MONY.

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