Friday, November 11, 2005

Pleased to Meet You

I was at a party last night where not one, but two women gave me grief for not shaking their hands properly. I would have explained but when talk of a handshake starts a conversation, for me it also usually ends the conversation. But I figured I could use this space to expand upon the subject, which unfortunately makes me realize I'm kind of a sexist.

"What's wrong with being sexy?"

"No, sexist Nigel."

See, the reason I don't shake your hand like I shake a guy's hand is because you're not a guy. I'm not worried that you may have a gun, we're not going to fight later, and I'm not trying to join your tribe. When we were children, you were a girl and I was a boy.

Boys break things. On purpose. When boys get bikes we build ramps to see how far we can jump them. When boys get dolls (action figures) we burn them to toughen them up.

We spend every spare second during recess punching each other in the arm to see who can punch the hardest. We invent games to punch each other. "Did you see my thumb and forefinger in the shape of a circle?" I get to punch you. "Did you flinch when I tried to punch you?" I get to punch you twice.

We flick each other in the knuckles until one of us cries 'uncle.' We take two fingers and slap each other on the inside of the forearm until we're black and blue. We have games called 'Mercy' and 'Smear the Queer" (which has nothing to do with sexual orientation, we just pick a guy and tackle him... wait, maybe that does have something to do with sexual orientation. That'll be another discussion).

What I'm saying is that after skipping years of boyhood initiation you can't all of a sudden come out of nowhere with this whole handshaking business. If you want me to shake your hand like a guy you're going to have to get punched in.

Until then it's knuckles up, fingers down, and when I take your hand would it kill you to curtsey?


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