Goodness gracious folks, the holidays are upon us. Families are flying around the globe. Wayward sons are hitchhiking home. College co-eds are trying to figure out a way to explain their appearance on Girls Gone Wild. Cousins you didn’t even know you had are piling into their station wagon and coming to sleep on your couch.
Or maybe your going to your significant other’s family’s house. You’re looking to grab a hold of a holiday sweater and sit around and discuss Jesus with people you don’t know.
Either way it means you’re going to have to do a lot of greetings. I fucking hate greeting people. It’s one of the single most confusing social activities in the world today, barring baby showers, but that’s another story.
Do you go for the handshake? The handshake-hug? The hug alone? The cheek-kiss? The solitary hug? The handshake-hug-kiss? Who gets a kiss on the lips?
About two or three years back I ran into a client of ours after an event. I assumed she’d want to shake hands over a job well done, but she went in for the hug and kiss. I punched her right in the crotch with my extended hand. How is that a greeting? I think in some places it might be, but crotch-punching never really caught on in the States.
You know who needs to die? People who weren’t born in Europe but insist on doing the double cheek kiss. Die a painful death. I think people only do that so they can hear the homely, “Ooh okay!” that plops out of someone’s mouth like a gooey nugget of surprised manure when they realize they’re in the presence of someone so cosmopolitan that they deserve two kisses.
Air kissers also need a swift boot to the sternum. You do realize that an air kiss is like saying, “I’ll acknowledge your presence, but I’m not going to touch you because you have the scabies.”
Whatever happened to the awesome jive handshakes of the 70’s? There was a movie, Undercover Brother that had a lot to say about that. But I kind of glossed over it, which I think had a little to do with the point the movie was making.
The modern man to man handshake is no longer about greeting someone. It’s about acceptable amounts of pressure. You want to be firm, but not too firm. You want to make eye contact, but not for too long. You don’t want to go limp, or else you’re a nancy-boy. You don’t want to break someone’s hand or all of a sudden YOU’re the psycho. It’s ridiculous.
As it stands today, our options for greetings are varied, yes, but incredibly boring. What’s the point of even going through the motions of figuring out how to greet someone if you’re going to do the same thing to everyone else? How is that personal? How is that friendly?
All these reasons and more are why I’m initiating my new initiative for initiating social interactions, initialed: D.A.P.H.S. Or Dave’s Awesome Personalized Hand Shakes.
Over the next few months I will be making myself available to any friend, family member or acquaintance for a personalized greeting brainstorming session. During this time period you and I will sit down – or stand if we’re in a bar or a wading pool – and we’ll figure out a greeting that will replace our current melange of uncomfortable touching and lip pressing.
This greeting can be as simple or intricate as you wish. We can still make kiss kiss if that’s your thing. We can sign a portion of the alphabet to each other. We can have a minute long wrestling match while only saying the word, “HI!” really loudly at each other. Whatever we come up with will be how I will greet you for the rest of your miserable existence on this planet.
I’ve only just started but for a examples:
My older brother and I do the simple Roman style handshake. Because we both wish we were Romans, minus the rampant disease, death and slavery.
My little brother and I do a slightly more involved double hand slap and chest bump, which I fear is only making his chest more concave.
Several years ago, my friend Mike and I had an intricate series of hand gestures based around a hand sign for a vagina. It took about ten seconds to complete, roughly the average time of our separate sexual encounters.
The intricacy of said greeting is not important. If you want to stick with the tried and true cheek kiss, that’s fine. What’s important is putting the time in to make sure you’re really greeting someone. Sometimes using a stock kiss and go is more of a goodbye than a hello.
So if I see you out any time soon, pull me aside and let’s make a personalized greeting. I’ll be updating with the best greetings over the months to come.