We do this thing with our hands, human beings. We cough in them. We eat food from them, licking each finger then picking the remainders from our teeth afterward. We wipe our butts with them. We stick various fingers in our ears and our noses. We pick up our pets’ feces with them, and our children’s. We sneeze into them, then wipe them on our pants because we think no one is watching us. We touch garbage cans, public toilets and the bottoms of our shoes. But the worst thing we touch?
Other people’s hands.
I’m a very polite person. I say “Please” and “Thank you” and I hold doors open for people and I let people who are waiting to pull into traffic go in front of me. I also believe in the polite and proper greeting of friends and strangers, which includes, among other things, shaking hands. I just do it; it’s natural. But lately I’m starting to wonder if perhaps the handshake should go the way of the dinosaurs (destroyed by aliens. That’s how dinosaurs died, right?).
I’m not a germaphobe. Not yet, anyway. I don’t go crazy with the antibacterial hand sanitizer. I am, however, starting to become very aware of what I’m touching. I wash my hands after ordering from menus in restaurants. I use paper towels to open public restroom doors (because I see you ladies who don’t wash your hands. I SEE YOU.). I wash my hands any time I’ve been out in public, in fact, because door knobs, money, traffic signal buttons, shopping carts — all nasty.
So the handshake thing. I’m torn between my need to be politely social and my burgeoning fear that your hand maybe/probably has poo on it. That’s not a judgment on your cleanliness — my hands are just as unclean, I’m certain. So I feel we all need to agree on a socially acceptable, non-touchy alternative greeting, but what? A friendly wave is too goofy. A full bow is too formal, and too much like exercise. The hat tip seems like a nice compromise between the two, but who wears hats these days?
I admit I’m at a loss, so in the meantime I will continue to touch hands with you. And let’s agree to not feel slighted in the least when the other runs to the bathroom to wash the nasty away, okay? Shake on it.
[featured image: power of positivity]