ASK A MAN #101: ABOUT HANDSHAKES
“When they met one another, there was an uneasy moment as each watched the other’s right hand. If it went to his sword or gun, there was a battle, but if it went to his hat it was a salute of friendship or respect.”
–The Boy Scout Handbook
Doubt and uncertainty will get you killed. An indecisive driver is more likely to cause a collision than that jerkhole who just deliberately cut you off (if you’re reading this while driving, your GPS told me to tell you to unfasten your seatbelt, accelerate, and make an immediate hard left turn exactly… now). If the month-old milk in your fridge smells like it might have gone bad, don’t drink it until you’ve tricked someone else into drinking it. If you’re not sure that the firearm you wear to bed is loaded and the safety is off then the Chinese have already invaded your home, devoured your pets, and you and your family have become slave labor in one of those sweatshops where the little letters that appear on computer screens are assembled one pixel at a time. In a social situation, the handshake provides a shorthand determination of who’s who and how steady or shaky their character is.
But the question at hand is how do guys know which handshake to use and, when it’s your standard fist bump pas de bourrée, whose fist is on top? It turns out that the top fist is determined by an extremely complex equation developed by the heretical 14th century Portuguese mathematician Aperto de MÃ£o. Fortunately the equation with all its arcane symbols can be summed up as “who hast initiated ye fist bump is on top, unless ye initiator is a dwarfe or ye totally precocious baby.”
As for how we determine exactly which handshake to use, the magic of the Y chromosome has endowed men with a specialized gland that emits and detects identifying pheromones.
This gland coupled with our ability to recognize types of headgear allows us to know in advance of physical contact whether the other fellow is a Lakers fan, a Freemason, a gang banger, or French, and we adjust our handshake/aim accordingly. Scoffers: this is science, dammit, and cannot be disproven by any method known to Man.
So the next time you see a couple of bro’s or homeys engaging in complicated modes of manual hierarchical determination, remember that you are witnessing just one beautiful thread in the grand tapestry of snips, puppy dog tails, farts, and dick jokes that makes being a dude so totally totally awesome. Question answered.
© 2011 Anthony Robert Russo