shakin’ all over
Whilst the handshake is one of the most ancient of human interactions in the past year or so it has become taboo, a veritable lethal biological weapon of mass destruction to be avoided at all cost. However, with today’s easing of sanctions is it now time, contrary to the advice of US chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, to bring it back, centre-stage? As an unashamed advocate, for me it can’t happen soon enough.
During my adult life, I’ve grown to cherish the fact that the handshake immediately establishes an easy, amicable, usually non-competitive bond between the participants irrespective of class, gender, colour et al. It enables relative strangers to experience a degree of tactile intimacy while maintaining a level of propriety and dignity. And we’ve been doing it for ages. In her book, The Handshake, Ella A-Shamahi, disproves, by pinpointing a handshake in the Iliad and highlighting one on a 9th century BC Iraqi relief, the common misconception that it originated in the Middle Ages, as a way for knights to prove they weren’t armed. Why, the fact that apes do a kinda ‘fingershake’ raises the possibility that it’s been going on for millions of years. So, be warned, if you are unfortunate enough to bump into me anytime soon rest assured I’m not going to hug you but I will be seeking to celebrate the age-old gesture by shaking you vigorously by the hand, like the contagious super-spreader I’ve always been! Enjoy the day ahead.