Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Shake It" - Metro Station

An encounter I had yesterday reminded me of something.


I. hate. dead. fish. handshakes.

I remember vividly the first time I was motivated to shake someone's hand. I was about 16 years old and I was meeting a woman whose children I was going to babysit that evening. When she greeted me at the front door, I threw out my right hand, ready to introduce myself in the traditional manner.

Her face showed surprise in discovering my firm handshake. I blushed because it was truly the first time I shook a hand without my parents' prompting.

I had shaken hands many times before. I remember meeting executives who worked with my father, it was an industry made up of mostly men in nice suits or sport coats. They all were typically the same. They'd lean over in my direction, shower me with big grins and then shove out their hands, waiting for me to reciprocate.

My tiny hand would timidly limp out, not sure of the technique of this ritual.

Over time, I'd play along with this little game, gently offering my hand with smiles and giggles, knowing they were getting a kick out of this charade.

Years passed, and the handshaking ritual was pretty much lost on me. My friends and I greeted each other with high-fives, friendly waves or hugs, but rarely a handshake. Even in high school, any handshake was embellished with fancy hand gestures and "secret" moves establishing an inside joke.

I recall one classmate who did greet people with the a "real" handshake enjoyed by adults around the world, and I remember thinking that was a little bit odd.

College came, and with it - independence & responsibility. I began relying on the 'ol handshake for more formal ventures - meeting with professors and parents of friends.

And we cannot forget the interviews. The hand shake is the first greeting that shows your potential employer your strength. Do you offer a dead fish? Do you tilt your hand down and shake like a lady? Are you a bone crusher?

Over the years, I have perfected my perfect grip. It's a full on, finger tips-on-the-other-person's-wrist, clinch. My technique is disarming when a gentleman is expecting something a bit demure. Most people embrace my handshake, a firm but comfortable gesture that imparts a hint of, dare I say, grace and confidence.

This being said . . . . .  I absolutely HATE it when I encounter someone who offers a less than substantial hand. Women whose handshakes are soft, disappoint me. Men who adjust their handshakes to accommodate my female form are embarrassing and patronizing.

[And
lets
NOT
e v e n
get
me
started
on
the
"fist-bump" epidemic.]

These days, I am now the crazy lady who, at times, bends down to a child's level and thrusts out my big, soft palm. Most children stare at my hand, a bit confused about its intentions.

After some prodding by mom or dad, the weary child's hand creeps out and briefly comes in contact with mine. Sometimes I feel like saying, Hey kid. I think it's kinda weird, too.

I'm just trying to prepare the business world for a new mover and shaker - one hand at a time.

What's your "shake it" style?

43 comments:

Laurie said...

First comment?! No way!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I hate dead fish too, especially from guys

I have a firm shake

Caroline said...

no fishy anything for me
I cannot stand it either

mine is like a guy and i am proud of it!

Laurie said...

Sweet, it really was! I hate limpy handshakes too. That's it, I was just excited to have the first comment. I never, ever am first!

Caroline said...

For me if it is a first time meeting and the shake is crap, I get a really bad first impression from the person I meet. not fair to them sometimes but it is how it is

Kovas said...

Mostly I just shake my bottom really subtly. Everyone likes that.

Heather said...

I totally agree with you...I do not like limp hand shakes and I'm not sure why it's done. I give a firm and confident hand shake.

Melissa Cunningham said...

yeah,dislike the dead fish too1...
i shake like a man,just how my daddy taught me. i guess around the south your handshake is as good as your word,AND a legal contract,so its best to present yourself (words,actions,handshakes)strong.
sad to say but i think im on the tale end of a generation that was actually taught stuff like that.
or maybe i just let on how much of a hillbilly i am,lol!

Matty O said...

Ohhhh to type my handshake story or not?... probably not.

anyways.

With women, I am a gentleman and receive women properly. I will hug and embrace. If it is clear that she offers her hand first however, I will not shake her hand, I will grab it and turn it slightly.

I offer what I view as a warm and gentle approach. I learned my manners from James Bond. You can picture my technique as me stopping before I kiss the hand (I am way old fashioned).

Now with men, I give a firm shake but not a bone crusher. If I receive what I feel as more than a proper firm handshake... Instantly hate that person. I think that person exudes cockiness and arrogance which are not my ideal attributes in co-workers or friends.

just my 2 cents. Interesting post :)

C2Iowa said...

Firm hand shake with eye contact.

Flash the blues and like Kovas said -- a little bottom shake in informal situations cannot hurt.

Karen R said...

LOL! I'm totally with you on the handshakes!

I shake hands with an appropriate amount of "pressure". I'm pretty good at it because too many people want to hug. No thank you. So I stick my hand out before someone can attempt to throw their arms around me :)

PS - Kovas, are you sure that everyone likes that?? :)

chloë. said...

Haha I love this cause you've taken upon yourself! Dead fish handshakes are indeed THE WORST. Especially when it's me who has the firmer handshake than one of my husband's male law school peers. AWKWARD.

JenniferLeah said...

I love Melissa's comment ;) Girl, you are NO hillbilly!!

Years of working in business-firm handshake here.

But for you Emz you'd get the handshake pulled into a hug. Yea, Im soft like that!! LOL

termite said...

emz! this is hilarious! I just posted about the very same thing!! lol....

xo

fancy nancy said...

I am so a firm shaker!!! It throws me all off and makes me feel a little manly when I go in for a shake and get a dead fish!

Christi said...

I have to go with the firm handshake. Dead fish shakes just turn me off!

ShutUpandRun said...

I'm into the firm thing. Thats' what she said. Seriuosly, I'm with you. Don't like limp.

Stacie said...

I totally agree with the firm handshake. Eye contact and confidence is a bonus. Shake like you mean it.

Nothing worse than a clammy dead fish.

racing dawn said...

pretty sure no one is going to admit to a fishy handshake...us runners are a strong bunch...

but i'm all about eye contact with the shake...maybe even a little bicep flex for good measure... :)

Stacey said...

I hate the dead fish shake as well!
I'm a firm gripper.

Jen said...

I think I've got a pretty firm handshake and I can't stand the dead fish thing either. Especially when it comes from a guy. It makes me question his masculinity.

Aimee said...

Ugh...I can't stand dead fish handshakes either! They just feel sooo weird, especially since I have a pretty firm handshake!

Rose said...

First bumps should be limited to "holy crap that was awesome!" events.

Though, I can't remember the last time I shook someone's hand.

XLMIC said...

Firmly shaken. Hate the wet noodle 'shake'.

Alanna said...

My parents taught me to have a decent, firm handshake. Woe was me if I had a "Church-lady-handshake" - you know, when you shake hands during church in greeting and you get the dead fish... and don't know what to do since you just crushed their hand.

Julie @ Hotlegs Runner said...

you and me the same!!! It's one of the things that really gets to me. I also don't like it when they don't look at you while shaking your hand. That's weird. The worst handshake I got was from a guys who just offered his fingertips like I had some disease or something. Apparently, that's really how he does it with everyone. weird.

I'm a petite asian girl but my grip is pretty solid and I look at you with chinky small eyes and flash my big smile =)

Sarah said...

Yes! I'm all about a confident handshake. Can't stand the limp fish. My grandpa prided himself on being a bone crusher. After his stroke, he couldn't talk anymore, but he would still smile as he tried to crush your hand.

Kelly Leigh said...

Firm but not too firm.

RockStarTri said...

No man will admit to a limp anything, let alone a hand shake. This is one of those "it is always the other guy" topics.

RockStarTri said...

And......

I was always told that when a man and woman shake hands the most telling thing about the guy is where his eyes look.

Or don't.

Jill @ Run for the Hills said...

strong grip...just don't hold it too long. then it gets creepy.

Once I shook a man's hand. It was limp noodle and really soft, which totally wigged me out. This sounds like something SUAR would say.

Petraruns said...

Strong handshake - but I'm a hugger just warning you. When I see you in Boston I will hug your abs.

Emz said...

Petra. Not. If. I. Hug. Yours. First.

RST. Hilarious. Love it.

Jill-hills. SUAR. Would. Be. So. Proud. :)

DRog said...

bash bro's forearm!
or the chest bump:)

Pam said...

Firm grip and one firm pump. I cannot STAND a man with a dainty handshake.

Cathy said...

I totally agree - can't stand the dead fish. I love a nice firm handshake - it shows confidence. But I absolutely hate it when a man (usually an older man) doesn't let you get a whole grip and just grabs the middle part of your hand - please, I'm not a victorian-era woman!

Jason said...

My handshake is like love making.

Reach out first
Firm grip
One pump and done.

Just sayin'

Emz said...

Jason.
O
M
Gosh.

Freaking. Hilarious.

Kera said...

i like it rough. jason is on point.

Char said...

My Dad was my hand-shake teacher. No limp fishes for me or my sisters. Our handshakes had to verge on bone-crushing just to stop it happening to us. I have since modified my technique to firm, not harsh.

Kate said...

I have big man hands and a nice firm handshake to go with it.

Fist bump, though...I dislocated my right thumb last year and it's been almost re-dislocated a couple times by high fives. I'm all about the fist bump in place of a high five. Either that, or my wedding ring with it's danger stone is going on my right hand.

Kate said...

ITS danger stone. Not it's. Ugh.

Jason said...

While the dead fish is the worst of the shake violators, the alternate universe version is the jump-the-gun shaker that grabs your fingers, before you really get your palms together, and crushes your knuckles.