(Oct. 14, “Your Land” culture short) https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/cool-hand-shake
It has been three months since a spate of stories announced that handshakes, supposedly banished forever due to COVID-19, were making a comeback. Well, now the comeback is complete: Even in pre-game and post-match athletic competition, where the fist bump had begun to reign supreme, the handshake again has, well, taken hold.

Not a moment too soon: It’s hard to get injured with a handshake, but an overenthusiastic fist bump can hurt.

The handshake’s return shows yet again the fallibility of the supposedly all-knowing Dr. Anthony Fauci, who famously said in the pandemic panic that we shouldn’t “ever shake hands ever again.” Later research showed that handshakes actually weren’t a major vector for spreading the contagion. Anyway, whether due to science or to the innate virtues of the age-old gesture, people are ignoring Fauci: The latest poll I can find says only 16% of people across America avoid shaking hands.

Sociologists eagerly explain the phenomenon as innate primate behavior. Some note that even chimpanzees “shake hands” and that isolated human tribes immediately recognize a proffered hand as a friendly gesture.

Others cite a handshake origin story that is more legend than proven fact, namely that by offering an open hand to shake, one signals the lack of a weapon. Further legend: The reason we shake with right hands is that as the majority of people are right-handed, the weapon hand was the right hand while the shield arm was the left. The empty right hand, therefore, shows a person is weaponless.

Taking this a step further, a group of friends might decide to shake with the left hand, indicating so much trust in the other person that one is willing to leave oneself unshielded and thus emotionally open.

Whatever. Some of us just appreciate the sense of honor a handshake signals. That’s why a solemn agreement without bothering with pen and ink is a “handshake deal.” No matter how trendy people want to be, a “fist bump deal” just won’t suffice.

And Lord forbid that any accord ever be formalized by a bro-hug.



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