A farewell to limp, sweaty, handshakes | Jabbering Journo column

My first ever time was a child while I was being introduced to a future teacher.

Saturday, 25th April 2020, 11:45 am
Is shaking hands a thing of the past?

He held out his limp and sweaty appendage and I shyly reached out with my small hand, only to be gripped with such ferocity I could feel myself close to tears.

Then with great pomp, my parents were informed, that if I didn’t learn to give a good firm handshake, I wouldn’t amount to much.

Meanwhile, I stood quietly, wiping someone else’s unwanted sweat off my hands and down the side of my skirt and feeling inadequate.

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It wasn’t a good start to my relationship with handshakes.

Now, of course, I have a good excuse to avoid it as with the social distancing and global shortages in hand sanitiser I can’t imagine the common or garden handshake will ever be the same again.

Will we ever be as blasé again to share a strangers’ micro organisms for the sake of a ritual which from my research (rapid Google) originated in the ninth century - so is overdue a phasing out in my humble opinion.

I would argue that the reasons behind shaking hands are now moot.

The up and down movement of the handshake itself reportedly served the purposed of dislodging any concealed threats, like a knife up a sleeve for example.

I would like to think this is not really an issue at your average board meeting, though newsroom conferences can get quite heated to be fair, particularly when there are chocolate biscuits.

But surely a metal detector would be a modern solution to shaking a hand which may or not have been washed for 10 minutes straight while singing ’Happy Birthday’?

Other greetings in need of axing include the double showbiz kiss - surely a pandemic party if there ever was one.

So if we ever come out of lockdown and meet people off Zoom, we need to find anew, touch-free, greeting.

Let’s shake on it.

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