The Failed Handshake

Recently, I exhibited how completely urban I’m not by foibling multiple opportunities to pull off a “soulful” handshake. And by “soulful,” I mean shaking hands akin to those between African-American men. You know the type: it starts off as a regular handshake then suddenly (and quite horrifically) mutates into a variety of different positions.

The first time my recent client– who is African-American– shook my hand the “soulful” way, I nearly pulled it off, thinking there were only three variations to the handshake.  I was confident at first, having convinced myself that there was absolutely no way I could screw the handshake up.  After all, why in the world would I rake in all those hours watching The Steve Harvey Show if not for that pivotal moment?  So imagine my horror when he introduced a fourth variation! It was some sort of curled finger, train-connector-thingy-looking mini-clasp that totally threw me off.  His smile waned as he realized I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

But he was relentless.  He gave me more than one chance, hopeful I would improve at each opportunity.  After the third failed attempt, he resorted to shaking my hand the “westernized” (a.k.a. “boring”) manner.

However, it was clear he didn’t like that handshake either. So I did what any other (desperately seeking to be hip) person would do: I switched to dapping.  He seemed to appreciate the gesture but I could see in his eyes a longing to be able to exchange a “soulful” handshake with me.

By the time our event ended, we resorted to simply waving at each other from across the room. It seemed the safest bet of all.

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1 Response to “The Failed Handshake”


  1. 1 princess1236 July 21, 2008 at 7:06 am

    lol!! Are you a twinkee?


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