Monday, September 8, 2008

Euch! Don't touch it.

Australia has traditionally had a culture where men do not shake hands with women upon introduction - which is more than a little unsettling for someone who comes from a culture where it is expected and not to do so is seen as insulting.

Now why don't these men shake hands with me? Is it because they think they show me respect by keeping their distance? Perhaps it's never occurred to them that by shaking my hand they may show me the same respect they show my male companion. Maybe they are so immature that they are unable to conceive of touching a woman in any way that does not mean a precursor to sexual intercourse or.... are we women all so scary that they "don't have the balls" to look us in the eye, shake our hands and acknowledge us as someone worthy of their (nonsexual) consideration?

What about those that do shake? Fortunately, with the growing numbers of professional women in the workforce, shaking hands between genders is becoming a more frequent occurence. Most men, I'm happy to say, are able to manage a proper firm handshake.

But what is the handshake by the fingers all about? Is it.... "oh my god, I have to touch her hand, how do I do that again?" or "Shit, my grip is so powerful, I wouldn't want to crush her delicate bones". Whatever courtesy is meant by it, it most often gives the following impression - of finding some malodorous, disgusting object and without the benefit of surgical gloves, having to dispose of it. So, holding it by one's fingertips, one frantically looks for the opportunity in which to divest oneself of said offending object. Which may be, for all I know, exactly how he feels. Now, if it's the first reason then my response is - quit being such a lilly livered twit and just shake. If it's the second then for "fucking, fucketty fuck's sake" (thanks Bo for the quote) boys, these bodies evolved to give birth, your handshake is not going to have us fainting away in agony. If however, the idea of skin to skin contact via the hands is so disgusting then for crying out loud - don't bother even trying because either way, you're going to offend me.

Not that I imagine anyone who needs to read this will acutally end up reading it. But it certainly has made me feel better writing it.


Yvonne said...

Fascinating - I thought it was only in some Islamic cultures that men weren't allowed to shake hands with women.

Because obviously the mere touching of hands will make you horny...

syren said...

Hi Yvonne
It isn't taboo so much as just not done because nobody else does and if you do it's odd. Many men have been taken aback when I've tried to shake hands with them. They are astonished and momentarily unsure how to respond. Though all this is now changing - thank goodness.