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    I was recently invited to a party where the hostess met her guests with “air kisses.” Since I was wearing my hearing aids, I could hear the smacks, but never felt them land on either cheek.
    Guess, I should have been happy that we weren’t required to rub noses like the Eskimos.  So, what ever happened to good old fashioned dexiosis? (also know as the shaking of hands.)

    The handshake was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th Century, B.C. Some archeologists think that it originated as a gesture of peace, while checking out that the other guy’s hands held no weapons—other than a number of microbial pathogens. However, that is why the Babylonians invented soap in 2800 B.C. In other words, there never has really been a necessity for high fives or the bumping of fists, as long as soap and water existed. Of course, all of those Greeks and Babylonians are long gone. No way of knowing if those old fashioned germs got them.

    It is a given, that a handshake creates a first impression. For instance, if someone comes at me with a fist, I run! For me, a firm and short handshake conveys trust and respect. A bone crunching handshake conveys—OUCH!

    Unless you have only one arm, handshakes are presented with the right hand. So what are you supposed to do with your left hand? Do not scratch yourself—anywhere—while shaking hands. In South Korea, it is considered rude to put your left hand into your pocket (or I assume anyone else’s.)

    Consequently, here are some valuable “Do Nots” while shaking hands:

    If you are a pumper, shake no more than three pumps, and do them from the elbow. If you shake from the shoulder, too much pumping could dislocate the other person’s arm which will not leave a very good impression.

    If your hand is wet, either from sweat after a work-out, or from a freshly caught fish, discretely pat your hands on your slacks before extending your paw, and be sure that your have offered your hand and not the dead fish. By the way, a limp handshake puts a person in a weak position and feels really icky.

    I find it annoying when a woman extends her fingers to be shaken instead of her whole hand. Manicured or not, it is very awkward to shake the tips of a person’s fingers. Lastly, while shaking hands with someone—look at her. Don’t let your eyes wander, because she just may shake you off and you will end up pumping air.  

    By the way, handshakes are usually made with bare hands unless you are a boxer. Then bump the gloves, go you your corner and expect to get your brains knocked out.

    Beware of politicians, because they will try to pretend that they are friendly and warm, and may do the two handed handshake to go along with the political two-step.  And, with athletes the ritual of congratulations can go from a friendly pat on the butt to a jumping and bumping of chests.

    Maybe air kisses aren’t so bad after all.

    Esther Blumenfeld

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