Hands Across America

August 11, 2010 at 11:02 am (Uncategorized) (, , )


It’s the preferred way to meet someone new in the Western world. I’ve never been to Europe, but according to television and Cesare Pavese’s novels, people kiss each other on the cheek in greeting. While this has yet to be adopted by U.S. Americans, I have tried conforming to this. Of course, it ends with one of those awkward kissy kissy things that you see in any romantic comedy when the male lead character meets his female lead’s parents who are inevitable from France or some such country and the male character thinks this is how all Europeans greet each other which leads to awkward stares from the parents and exclamations of “Do you have any grey poupon?”

Note: NO ONE ever has any grey poupon.

The easy part of any greeting is meeting someone new. When you meet someone new you give them a handshake. Cut and Dry. No decisions need to be made. Are we going to go up to strangers at parties and give them soul squeezing hugs and pinch their cheeks? Of course not. We are not our Aunt Marthas. (Aside: Why is it in the blogging community when you want to make a point about a crazy aunt you give them a fashionably old name that will be extinct in 30 plus years? No one ever says, “Man, Aunt Brittany was crazy last night! She drank all the syrup!” No, instead we say things like Aunt Bea, Aunt Tallulah and Aunt Norm. Is this to prove our point that these people are so crazy that they have names that no one will use? If so, point taken. I’ll continue on with Aunt Martha, even though, I would never have an Aunt Martha since I’m Indian, but Aunt Lakshmi doesn’t have that same ring.) The problem actually arises when you’re meeting a person for a second, third or, gasp, 4th time. What is the proper way to greet them?

Not with a “what’s up my soul brother?” This is important. And life saving.

Anytime I run into a person again whether it is at some party or Furry Convention, I never know how to react. If you’re seeing a woman again, do you go for another handshake? Are we comfortable for the hug? I would like her chest area pressed on my chest area because it gives me a better feeling of her…

Let’s move on.

My plan of attack is to stand there uncomfortably and whistle the theme song to Perfect Strangers while she makes her move. Does it get any awkward that putting your hand out and getting a hug? Yes it does, when you go for the hug and she jams her hand into your abdomen area with the force of a World’s Strongest Man keg throwing competition. You may as well die. In fact, I have passed away many times from this only to be revived by a concoction of Corona and abject bitterness.

While that may be awkward for me, the true test of closeness is how men greet and leave other men. Do we do the half hug handshake? The straight handshake with the lock of the fists? (As opposed to the homosexual handshake with the lock of fists. See what I did there?) Just a handshake? I never know what to do so it turns into a dance. You always have one person of the two that is going to do something and the other person will follow, so I thought. I saw one of my roommates from college and after we went out was the goodbye. Now what?!?! So I did the half hug handshake thing thinking it would be the best. Hey, we know each other! Unfortunately, as I went to pull him in for the hug part he was pulling back with the force of two North magnets facing each other. (Polar magnet humor! We’ve finally made it!) So what was supposed to be a nice way to say goodbye turned into a tug of war between two grown men on the street.

More like Tug of Dummies.

Damn, I thought that would work. Oh well.

Yet another encounter ruined by inability to adhere to the rule of handshakes. Never go first. That’s right men. Just go for the normal shake. If it turns into something else then just go with the flow or just do what I do with my friends. Go “Ahhhhh” and just start slapping wildly to make it seem like a big joke when in reality you just showed how uncool you are. So I propose this. Anytime you see someone and you don’t know the proper greeting just say “hi” and stick your hands in your pockets. No pockets? No problem. Chop your hands off. It’ll be easier than doing this “doe si doe.”

Excuse me, just bought a chainsaw and some vicodin.

Patrick Bateman would understand.



  1. jen said,

    This is what you need to do… http://tiny.cc/syc5g … gets a laugh every time!!

    I went to a family dinner on Monday with the most ridiculous amount of extended family. Everytime someone went in for a cheek kiss (I’m British!) I accidently went for the wrong cheek and we met in the middle somewhere…they need to give out a hand book for this stuff, what direction are you meant to go??

    • Rahul said,

      Wouldn’t meeting in the middle mean making out? I’ll sign up for that.

  2. Sara said,

    I just went to the doctor yesterday (no worries, my vagina is apparently good) and this doctor has the weakest fish handshake I have ever experienced. He basically just wants to touch palms. It’s almost embarassing.

    • Rahul said,

      Palm touching is a turn off. Or a turn on. I don’t judge.

  3. laurenne said,

    I KNEW that was you at the furry convention. Man, you looked PHresh in that Snoopy costume. PHresh, I said.

    I would write some more but I seem to have just chopped off my hand. Man, I hated that hand.

    Polar magnet humor!

    • Rahul said,

      I see you’re going with the PH form of F. I like the cut of your jib.

  4. Marie said,

    In Lebanon people always give each other two or three kisses on the cheek. Do you know how awkward it is when –

    1. They force the slobbery kisses on your face when you don’t want to have anything to do with it,

    2. You’re not sure if they’re going to give you two or three so when you go in for the third and they stand back, you look like an ass, and

    3. REALLY making sure you don’t manage to somehow give each other a kiss on the mouth.


    I have issues.

    • Rahul said,

      I would just start licking faces. This seems to be accepted in foreign countries.

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