What’s in a handshake?


People seem to place an undue importance on the handshakes of the powerful, rich and famous. Let us take a quick look at the American presidents and their different approach.

Let’s start with Obama, who is so popular with some people that they will wait in line to shake his hand for a second time:

He displays a certain ease of being with people – the more the merrier – and is able to relate and enjoy the interaction. This, however, did not prevent his opposition from attempting to find faults in his too affable personality. For instance, when meeting the Saudi King, Obama is alleged to have made a bow and kissed his hand. Later on, when the King presented him with jewellery, Obama had to bow again to receive it. In the resulting fracas, some commentators accused Obama of too much humility, going even as far as claiming that Nixon did not meet Mao. Yet what many forget is that Obama had to show the King, who holds the key to precious and needed oil resources as well as the American presence in the Arab world that he is as warm as Bush, who is known to have held hands with the King (albeit seeming uneasy, as he almost always did around people); he had also done the same with the Japanese Emperor (short). Bush also winked at the Queen after making her 200 years older.

In a common effort, Clinton tried to help Bush’s standing with the blacks by going in one of those “listening and schmoozing” tours he was famous for, but it did not seem to help Bush much, who appeared tense and at one point even wipes a black man’s handshake off Clinton’s shirt. Is there any wonder that some accuse him of not caring?

Obama was also given a cold shoulder by the Queen and she also avoided a hug by Michele Obama (or did she initiate the hug?).

The Queen gives a cold shoulder to President Obama for breaking protocol offering a toast to Herself while they are playing HER SONG: 'God Save the Queen', of course.
Buckingham Palace entrapped the President by allowing the band to start early but the Queen should not have ignored a sincere offer of a toast by the US president, after all she's the copyright owner of the track.
An insult to all Americans. The Queen allowed Obama to suffer in silence his personal opprobrium. No way to treat a guest.
In the case of the Queen and other lesser royals when you have nothing to do all day pomp, protocol and etiquette becomes the only activity they care about.
So when somebody doesn't follow the 'rule' (their rule) they go cold not knowing what to do. The last time they did something trivial and intuitive was when they were born.
In the case of Obama he probably thought the music was a addition to the great words he was uttering. Like in a Hollywood movie. it was his Oscar bid.
In short, they were both thinking a lot about themselves at the time.
Americans should stay clear of Monarchy. It is stupid to pander to it for votes in America. Americas should feel proud of their history. After all, weren't the 'French-speaking French' that took American's side during Independence?
The best of America is that we are not a bunch of elitist royals obsessed with 'etiquette' - so a few privileged rulers can be separated from the many underprivileged.
A great Queen would've acted swiftly and toasted. A sad moment for democracy. As usual.
The BBC and many networks including US ones at first did not make any mention of the gaffe in their main news programmes. Some did mention it but did not show the president's face after the snub.

A few years ago, in the dark and dreary Bush years, people were scrambling to find hidden meanings in the “bully’s” handshakes, but even Obama had to suffer those allegations Tongue. Then, toward the end of his presidency, we’ve seen a famous moment brought to us by Rick Sanchez @ CNN, where we can see Bush attending a South American summit and reciprocally avoiding to shake hands with the other dignitaries.

There is a documentary on a civil rights movement icon called One Handshake at a Time.

According to Wikipedia, the East seems to prefer weaker handshakes while in the West a firm handshake is preferred.
  • In Anglophone countries is heavily used in business situations. In casual non-business situations, men are more likely to shake hands than women.
  • In Belgium, handshakes are done more often, especially on meetings.
  • In Switzerland, it may be expected to shake the women's hands first.
  • Austrians shake hands when meeting, often including with children.
  • In some Muslim countries (such as Turkey or the Arabic-speaking Middle East), handshakes aren't as firm as in North America and Europe. Consequently, a grip which is too firm will be considered as rude.
  • Moroccans also give one kiss on each cheek (to corresponding genders) together with the handshake. Also, in some countries, a variation exists where instead of kisses, after the handshake the palm is placed unto the heart.
  • In China, where a weak handshake is also preferred, people shaking hands will often hold on to each other's hands for an extended period after the initial handshake.
  • In Japan, it is appropriate to let the Japanese initiate the handshake, and a weak handshake is preferred.
  • In Norway, where a firm handshake is preferred, people will most often shake hands when agreeing on deals, both in private and business relations.
  • In South Korea, a senior person will initiate a handshake, where it is preferred to be weak. It is a sign of respect to grasp the right arm with the left hand when shaking hands.
  • The Hand Hug is a type of handshake popular with politicians, as it can present them as being warm, friendly, trustworthy and honest. This type of handshake involves covering the clenched hands with the remaining free hand, creating a sort of "cocoon."

The handshake ritual may have originated in Ancient Greece. It’s here to stay as a quick, sanitary way of making contact and conveying a message of understanding.

Sources / More info: wiki

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