A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.. okay, fine. Actually, high school wasn’t that long ago. Stop laughing.
During my football years, I enjoyed pride, strength, and held onto my old tom-boyish ways. Lifting weights provided the strength behind my “manly” hands and grip. When I shook a hand whether male or female, I proudly crushed the hand willingly outstretched and entrusted to me. Perhaps, there were times I had forgotten my own strength especially with girls on the rare occasion they entered my life. The girls didn’t really hang out with me because I loved football and did not know how to relate to them after so many best friends back-stabbed me.
Later, I attempted to completely feminize myself after I married the love of my life. I avoided jeans, a tough nature, and forsook the nickname everyone but blood relatives called me. The transition shook my friends to the core for they didn’t realize my nickname was not even my real name. I refrained from shaking the hand of the opposite sex. My new social group complained my nose stuck to the ceiling because I refused to hug those of the opposite sex. When in Rome, blend in… at least to a point. My self-respect would not be harmed by blessing those who needed a hug to feel important or hope.
A selfish man dis-respected my trusting nature, leaving me fearing to hug anyone, let alone shake a stranger’s hand. After barely healing, I was thrust into the world of celebrities. Guys and gals alike want a photo with a hug, their hands on me. However, I still reserve my hand outstretched for those I completely trust. Going to comic-cons, I developed a reputation as a “Princess” because of my nickname on facebook. The whole royalty thing started as a joke, but morphed into a loving term of endearment by some of my number one loyal fans. They love kissing my daintily outstretched feminine hand.
At the radio station, I stretched out my hand like a princess to a man I had not been introduced to. Royalty flowed through my veins at that time and I daintily extended my hand. I immediately noticed he took offense.
There my husband and I sat visiting a male friend from a comic con. He hugged me farewell, but shook my husband’s hand. His friend will hug both of us because he is emotionally closer to the both of us.
Yet, another time, a male hugged me and my child confronted me after he left. “You are too old to hug.”
A man’s most valuable possession is his self-respect, but this stirring pot of cultures lacks a strict etiquette when it comes to shaking hands. Most of the time, civilians either take offense or try to understand which subculture is allowed which form of greeting/farewell.
Although I brought up this interesting topic with my husband, we can not find a conclusion as to who to hug, whose hand to shake, and whose welcoming gesture should be avoided.
We all just need to remember to be more caring and respectful of whichever way is comfortable for the other person. Put their comfort level above your own. Love each other as you would have them respect you.