There is nothing I find more unpleasant than shaking a person’s hand.
There can be a lot of psychology at play with a handshake. Most guys overcompensate for their lackluster size and masculinity by squeezing as absolutely hard as they can.
Other guys of impressive size and masculine quality also present a problem because they squeeze as hard as they possibly can, too, but they tend to jerk your arm practically out of socket.
First, I am not a piece of gym equipment. Please refrain from performing feats of strength on my sickly body. It is not mandatory for a person to crunch every bone in my hand and give me carpal tunnel syndrome the first time we meet.
Second, I get it. You’re a big tough guy.
I weigh 20 pounds more than a middle school student. I have gangly, boney limbs. I can’t grow facial hair. Trust me, it’s not hard to prove your dominance over me. I won’t be winning any arm-wrestling contests anytime soon.
Lastly, hurting someone’s hand is a terrible first impression to make, or maybe that’s just me. That would be like me walking up to a stranger, introducing myself, and then kicking him in the shins.
“Hey pal, nice to meet you!”
Believe it or not, that’s not even why I hate shaking hands. The grossest thing about shaking hands with someone is all of the involuntary and unnecessary touching.
By and large I don’t like being touched by others. As a general practice I don’t go out of my way to be touched, or to touch others for that matter. I am like the overzealous father of a teen-aged girl — keep your hands to yourself, please.
The cultural significance of a handshake is also foreign to me.
“Hello sir, it is very pleasant to make your acquaintance. Even though we just met, let us both clasp our hands together for a prolonged period of time and continue to touch one another for approximately three to five seconds as we exchange worthless banter and pretend to care about one another.
I may or may not have washed my hands upon exiting the bathroom.”
In any other social situation life can possibly throw at a person, walking up and touching a stranger will get you nowhere but in jail and on the sex offender registry.
My feelings toward handshakes are quite unfortunate because I have a very unmemorable face. Nobody ever remembers me, so at social functions I am shaking hands with people I have already met three or four times before.
I am not sure why people can’t remember meeting me. I have a very rodent-like appearance about me. I would think that would stand out more to people or trigger the part of the brain responsible for memory and assigning animalistic traits to human beings.
My handshake isn’t much to write home about. If I suddenly find myself in a situation with an incoming hand seeking to shake my own I receive it with a limp wrist. I would imagine it’s like shaking a dead chicken.
When I have to (absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt have to) shake a hand of an individual I am meeting for the first time I do so gingerly, as if I was shaking the hand of my grandma.
Let’s be honest, what does a handshake validate? That I’m trustworthy? Nope. That I will remember your name? Hardly. That I have washed my hands recently? Don’t make me laugh.
The only thing shaking my hand validates is that I have incredibly sweaty hands that drip of perspiration at all the wrong times.
Despite my aggravation toward shaking hands, I will still do it out of necessity and social expectation.
So in one manner of speaking it’s almost as if my hands are tied behind my back.
To contact Will E. Sanders email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His e-book “Exceptionally Curious Tales of a Particularly Eccentric Individual” is available on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and iTunes. To learn more about Will E. Sanders, to read past columns or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.