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Put ‘er There Partner: Swagger’s Ode to the Handshake

Sailun Tires

The first mark of mankind’s long (and still meandering) march towards civilization was

the handshake. One fateful day our ancient, likely hairy ancestors decided that grunting,

the pulling of hair and a nice warm slapping of the genitals would no longer do for a

formal greeting, and so a firm, stiff leap in our evolutionary path forward began.

Today, a handshake has come to symbolize peace, respect, a bargain struck and a promise

made, and woe befall anybody who shakes on something then doesn’t follow through.

We all know a good one ….

1. Eye Contact

2. Proper Firmness

3. A small, polite “Double shake”

4. A polite smile to acknowledge the deed (length may vary)

Just like we all know a bad one…

1. Wandering eyes looking for a more important person to talk to

2. A flimsy, non-committed, weakling grip

3. The “I’m trying to break your fingers” grip

4. A lingering, excessive “I’m trying to be funny” shake

If there’s weakness in your handshaking game, or if up to now you’ve downplayed just

how important they are to everybody’s perception of you, it’s time to reevaluate. A

handshake is way too vital a part of your life to leave to chance, after all it puts the stamp

on so many of life’s big moments.

1. With the new father-in-law as he begrudgingly gives you his daughter

2. With the Boss as you just nailed the big interview

3. With your defense attorney as he gets you off on a technicality

4. With the opposing team after you knocked them out of the tournament in triple


5. With the boat salesman you just talked down 50%

Of course it’s worth mentioning the slight alterations you need to use when you’re

shaking with a member of the opposite sex and their typically smaller hands.

1. Ease up the pressure about 60-70%

2. Use your thumb to grip slightly higher against their fingers.

3. A single up-down shake, moving no more than six inches.

4. A nicer smile.

And the last set of rules, for when a handshake does wrong. Could it be mistimed, a

faulty grip that makes you too hard or too soft, or maybe one party just had a handful of

wet Cheetos and the ensuing grip is a thing best described as “unsettling”. The proper

recovery is as follows

1. Wince – Only slightly, make sure, in a millisecond long gesture, to let both of you

know you expected more

2. Smile – Establish that despite the handshake snafu you expect a respectful, and

prosperous relationship starting now

3. Make up for it next time – Not right away, but when you depart or meet again,

make the next one a handshake for the ages

It’s the perfect gesture that is at once easy, friendly, and when executed properly says

everything there is to say about you and your character. Let Europe do the cheek-kissy

thing, because here in North America handshake is a chance for men to pretend they’re

the best parts of John Wayne and Jack Kennedy. Let’s shake on it.


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