Saturday, July 2, 2011


I realize that many an essay have been written on the subject of shaking hands, none of which I have read or will read.  BORING.  Nonetheless, I was left to wondering . . . Yesterday my friend and I had a meeting in Boston with folks we had never met before.  When we arrived, we all shook right hands. (All, that is, except my friend and I.  We did not shake hands with each other!)  When we left,  we again shook right hands.  This morning I started thinking.  (A rare moment, I realize.  Nevertheless . . .)  In what relationships does an initial meeting require the shaking of hands? If the person has just coughed, covering his mouth with the right hand, are we still required to shake it?  Yikes! When in a relationship do we stop shaking hands and simply say hi?  Does it depend upon the relationship? Upon the length of acquaintance?  Help me out here . . .


  1. I think you're on the verge of an amazing discovery!

  2. You are too funny. I just realized that I've never shaken your hand!!! We went straight to hugs and kisses :)) It's amazing what you pay attention to. Mariam

  3. the shaking of hands, of right hands, had its origin with the warrior class, i speculate. if you are shaking hands at a meeting, your weapon is at ease, because your weapon hand is empty of said weapon and filled by the hand of your adversary.
    i remember when i was in Germany, scouting for signs of lost panzers (never found any)greetings were ritualized by the shaking of hands with whomever you were greeting. not to be outdone, by memories of warriors past, the Germans would shake gladly and often before parting. shaking hands at any and all meetings with people became so ingrained and automatic, that a missed hand shake was considered bad form. to that end, wanting to avoid any sign of bad form, along with any sign of those lost panzers, the germans were reduced to shaking hands vaingloriously. their hands were drawn from their sides or pockets as a gunfighter in the old west would draw his gun without hesitation at the first sign of trouble. trouble for a german was not responding quickly enough to the proffered hand. finally, after months of acculturation in the heady climes of bavaria and subterranean vaults of beer drinking halls, i realized that the safest avenue was the quickest one; if it moved, shake it!