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all shook up

Posted June 2nd, 2014 at 01:12 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
I recently had an appointment with a new doctor, a nice lady but there was one thing that bothered me. She shook my hand at the end of our first visit- or I should say rather that I shook hers. She held out her hand and it was limp and clammy, like a wet rag. I had been trying hard to have a favourable impression of her but that wet rag was really hard to take.

Why did she do it? Iím sure it was her personal habit, not a soppy sack just for me. It seemed far too opposite of what a doctor should be. A good handshake is an exchange- a promise. I have met you and I will do my best to keep up my end of our agreement- in this case doctor and patient. The limp wet rag hand says.... I canít be bothered to do more? And she was the one who offered it! It hadnít even occured to me.

She wasnít really my first choice and likely she knew that. My previous doctor, a man I liked very much, died suddenly. He was forty-four. He listened a great deal and always tried to reach for the reasons behind things. He asked a lot about my job and my life. He was annoying because he was always cancelling appointments- at least one third of the time his office would call and cancel.
Now that heís dead I see that in a different light. Perhaps he wasnítí feeling well. Or maybe he just wanted to stay home and have fun. I hope it was that. He did really try and I appreciated that. I canít remember if I ever shook his hand.

Iím not sure if things are different now days, but when I grew up handshakes were important. You looked a person in the eye and gave them a good firm shake and it meant you would keep your word. If someone shook you in a strange way, you were careful of them. These days people always seem to have something in their hands- phones, tablets, mobile devices. They are a lot of people around now who came from other countries, and I know the strong hand shake is a European tradition. In Asia it is polite to offer a weak handshake. Do people even shake hands anymore?

Here are a few classic shakes:

The superstrong crushing handshake
This has two variants. The first is when the other person is trying to show you that they are very strong and might kill you. No question it is a threat. The other version is from really big strong people who wrestle oxen for fun and they donít release that youíre a computer wimp. They crush everything, itís just what they do.

The supersweaty slime shake
Why do these people have sweaty hands? Are they nervous? Or do they just sweat that much and itís normal for them and they donít notice it? I bet they think I have super dry hands.

The super dry hand
The first time I held a girlís hand was in grade seven gym class in square dancing. It was very awkward and the girls were all tittering and the boys were all wishing they were fishing. Her name was Carolyn and she was considered one of the grade seven beauties, meaning I was lucky. But her hands were powdery dry and lifeless. It creeped me out. Perhaps she was mortified to have to hold my hand. Anyway, I could never be interested in her after that.

The squirmer
Some people just canít keep still and when you shake their hand itís like holding a snake. The shake lasts a second or less because theyíre already moving again. What does it mean? Donít make any long term plans with this person.

Too long hand shakes
There are two kinds; the good kind and the bad kind.
The good kind is when you really connect with someone and youíre saying youíre important and Iíd hug you if we did hugging. Itís very fulfilling.
The bad kind is when one of the people is sending a message that thereís something more there but the other person isnítí into that. Then itís creepy if youíre the receiver.

The jab punch shake
This isnít actually a punch but itís the best way to describe. Arms shoot out at high speed, clasp and release in under a second. Itís a quick see you later, team mate.

The two handed shake.
Both of their hands grab yours and shake it warmly. Very welcoming, very warm. Also, youíve just been captured.

The missing fingers hand shake
This always happened to me. Iíd meet a person, weíd talk, then time to leave and there would be awkwardness. Socially it meant it was time for a handshake. But I didnítí realize the awkwardness was because the other person was anticipating a handshake and was missing part of their hand. I did it to the same guy over and over again, forgetting each time. I wonder if he was used to it? If he hated me he couldnít give me the finger....

The empty sleeve shake
I have met many people in my life, including a person with no arms. I instinctively tried to shake their hand though it was obvious they had none. Instead I tugged on their short shirt sleeve, which caught them by surprise (me too) and made them laugh. What was the worst that could have happened anyway? He couldnít punch me.

The money pass
It looks like a handshake but really some money is quietly changing hands. They say you do it to waiters or anyone you want something from. Iíve have it done to me a couple times. If you protest they wave it away. Youíre part of the conspiracy now. Take the money and buy something special.

The desperate suitor
Looks like a handshake but they donít let go. Now they have your hand! Theyíre pressing theyíre hand against yours. Its hand copulation and you never consented.

The good friend slap
Sometimes it starts as a handshake but it quickly escalates into a slap or a punch or a hug. It doesnít matter. You like each other more than you can express. This is the very best kind.
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MegaSilver's Avatar
Sorry to read about your previous doctor, StW.

I do like the list you made of handshakes. Accurate!
Posted June 5th, 2014 at 11:50 PM by MegaSilver MegaSilver is offline
 
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