Sunday, September 13, 2009

Talk to the hand


The two men charge towards each other, each raising a fist and when they reac  h a point of close proximity, each swings forward to bump the fist of the other. This is done out of respect I'm told. (More - click on title) 

Stockxchng/lockstockb  It wasn't long ago that these same men would have come towards each other full speed, with open hand raised high for a resounding smack with the opposing hand. The "high-five." Big smiles all around, maybe a jumping turn, with hands projected in reverse, for a "low-fuve" smack accompanied by head bobbing and laughter.

Before that, men walked forward smiling, hand open and extended, to greet another fellow human with a warm handshake, maybe even an embrace, and sometimes a kiss on one or both cheeks depending on their homeland. Of course, if their homeland was really far away there could be some unfortunate misunderstandings.

The custom of greeting with the open hand goes back to a time when a closed fist meant a reason for suspicion. A fist could be closed around a weapon. An open hand revealed a friend, or at least a non-enemy.

Isn't it ironic that now the closed fist is closed partly because it might be concealing a very different kind of danger. A virus we don't want to share.

6 comments:

AuctionWally said...

Your post strikes such a cords as I think of how I spent the close of my afternoon at the Brimfield MA antiques show today.

Shaking hands and meeting new friends, and saying, "I'll see you in Spring" to old ones.

Nice article.

Martin H. said...

Good post Pat.

I always greet male friends with an open handshake and I remember a friend of mine, who taught in France for a number of years, telling me how members of the teaching staff at his school always shook the hands of colleagues before the start of each working day. A wonderful custom.

Danna Crawford said...

Gotta carry the hand sanitizer because there is nothing like that human touch of a firm handshake! **virtual handshake to you** my friend!

CatPurry said...

This post, like so many, came out of watching my youngest grandson. His parents are teaching him to fistbump and say "respect." I suppose that is the most civilized greeting one can hope for these days. Just so long as I can get a hug from him.

lisleman said...

this fistbump will likely just be a fad. I think the handshake is here to stay.

People can get really carried away with sanitizers and the whole germ thing. We know there have been large communities that lived off the land without even plumbing.

Thanks for the visit to my blog.

The Baxteria said...

Interesting perspective on social graces. I always have open handshake to show sincerity. I think the fist is a territorial macho thing.