Friday, April 08, 2005

Shaking Hands

On a visit to my cousin in Canada we met one of his male friends. The man, as bulky as my cousin, shook hands with P, but not with me. I felt insulted. I asked my cousin about it after the visit. He explained that the friend had not been impolite by Canadian standards. On the contrary, he had allowed me to decide for myself whether to hold out my hand to him or not.
In certain circles in England a handshake is not done. One bows one’s head ever so slightly to acknowledge the other person, a gesture hardly worthy of the term “greeting”!
In France men will cross the street to pump the hand of an acquaintance, but it seems to be de rigeur not to look the other person in the eye. Past him, or down at the ground, seems to be preferable.
Confusing. What is polite and what is not? I suggest we abolish handshakes altogether. Much simpler.
(Is this a political statement?)

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