The end of handshakes?

In the future, of course, there are no handshakes. Star Trek, Star Wars, even Spaceballs… no one shakes hands.

And handshakes haven’t been the standard default for as long as we think–they were codified by the Quakers five hundred years ago, because they were thought to be more egalitarian than tipping a hat or bowing.

Today, of course, a handshake is often seen as a threat more than a disarming form of intimacy and equality.

In addition to being a vector for disease transmission, handshakes reward a certain sort of powerful personality and penalize people who might be disabled or uninterested in that sort of interaction. And judging people by the strength of their grip doesn’t make much sense anymore.

Until a week or two ago, demurring a proferred hand (how antiquated to use ‘demurring’ and ‘proferred’ in the same sentence) was seen as odd and a bit insulting. Today, it comes across as generous.

Add to this the fact that in a video call, there’s no way to shake hands. Hat tipping (or perhaps an informal Vulcan salute or simply a smile and a wave) might be making a comeback.


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