Is it really that hard?
Why do guys do that? I say guys because women are supposed to have soft handshakes. Men, however, are supposed to have a man's handshake. That's like, one of the requirements.
Last December, while attending Les Miserables in downtown Hollywood, I noticed that pseudo-celebrity John Tesh was seated a few rows in front of me. During the intermission, I found myself standing behind him in the snack line. Now I don't know why, but for some reason I find it funny to meet lame celebrities. Not A-listers, mind you, I'm talking about E-listers here. If I were on a plane with Tom Hanks or George Clooney, I really wouldn't think much of it. However, the novelty of meeting a person like Mr. T or the kid from the Dell commercials is extremely amusing to me; I still enjoy telling people about the time I ran into Sinbad at Tower records.
Anyhoo, there I was, standing behind the eight-foot-tall gargantuan known to the world as John Tesh, and I decided to make contact. At this point, there were two very important facts I was overlooking that would have convinced me to abort my mission; 1. He is an established pianist, and 2. He is John Tesh. Either of those helpful pieces of information would have been enough to rule out any chance of receiving a real handshake. Nevertheless I shook the man's hand.
At first I thought he must have been holding a dead octopus. It most certainly did not feel like a hand, or any recognizable extremity for that matter. When I looked down to see what it was I was shaking, I realized it was his bare hand I was holding. I was speechless. What could he have been doing to make his hand feel like that? Does he soak it in mayonnaise? Had it been frozen and then recently thawed? Had he sustained some sort of chemical burn? Not likely. Unfortunately there was and is no logical explanation for the moistness of that man's hand. However the strength, or lack there of, can and should be addressed. Sadly, this is not a problem that only a few people encounter. On the contrary, this is an epidemic that has haunted millions. When shaking a person's hand, there are a few rules to know:
1. If your palms are sweaty, wipe them off on something before you shake someone's hand. Anything will do; your shirt, the inside of your pocket, the family dog, anything. Just don't allow another person to touch your hands if you've been stricken with "Tesh syndrome".
2. Get your palm square onto your partner's. None of this half-handshake monkey business. There is never, EVER a reason for that to happen. Nobody wants your lifeless hand slothfully latched onto theirs. Be a man! Get your entire hand all the way around the other guy's. Remember, your shaking hands, not fingers. If you have ever violated rule number two you should be ashamed of yourself.
3. Don't get fancy. All too often people attempt to cover up their poor hand shaking skills by adding a snap or a slap or any combination of non-shaking movements. Remember, your not an expert. If any of these rules seem new to you then chances are, you'll never be an expert. While we're on the subject, Pastors and Seminary students alike seem to enjoy adding an arm-grab at the end. If you've never witnessed this, try to imagine a normal handshake, only with the left hand (typically the non-shaking hand) placed on the tricep of the shakee's right arm. It's almost like a way of securing the normal shake, forging a solid greeting that is unmistakably diplomatic. This form of handshake is acceptable, however it's usually reserved for Pastors and/or anyone over the age 65.
4. Never shake hands with John Tesh. I learned this rule the hard way.