handshakes, metrosexuals and being a man

Last night as I sat waiting for friends at a South Side bar, I happened to notice something about some of the younger (25ish) folks that annoyed me to all get out–the handshakes.

Now, when it comes to handshakes, I’m very similar to the Germans, who put a great emphasis on it. It’s a reflection of character–if you have a weak handshake, then you have a weak character (more likely to cave). If you have an overly strong handshake, you’re overbearng. A handshake should pretty simple–it should be firm–and by doing so, it shows that you are on equal footing with the person you are shaking hands with.

The 2 handshakes I observed were kinda stupid. In the one, the guy kinda pulled the guys hand up closer to his chest, put his other hand on top of it like the guy had just saved his family’s from being eaten by ravenous sand beetles, and then sat down next to him, so their dates were on the opposite side of them. The other handshake involved some secret dance that I can’t describe, but it was painfully overdone and just rang of emptiness.

Honestly, when did the handshake become such a bizarre ritual? Again, for me, it’s go in, be firm, shake and be done. If they’re a friend I haven’t seen in forever and I’m drunk, maybe I’ll do the brief handshake/man hug (right hand in the handshake, left arm hug). But that’s about it. I don’t see the need to incorporate a troupe of dancers and perform the Zoobiwanga dance with steel drums playing in the background as you do it. It’s a handshake, not a production of “West Side Story,” for fucks sake.

And it was shortly after I noticed these bizarre handshake rituals that I noticed that all parties involved were also metrosexuals. You know these guys–the ones who basically get manicures, pedicures, eyebrow waxing and hair frosted in an effort to attract the ladies.

Again, maybe it’s just me here, but whatever happened to just being a man, for Pete’s sake? And when did it become a production?

I have no problems with a little extra grooming and being well-kempt. But there’s a big difference between plucking some stray hairs and throwing in some hair product, and having every hair on your body waxed off so as to make you frictionless, except for on the top of your head, which is frosted 10-different shades and leaves women asking “Where did you get that done?”

Look, I’ll freely admit, I love being a man. Being able to just whip it on and pee is just fantastic. Going out and chopping wood, working on my truck (back when I had a vehicle that I could work on), hooking up a sound system without needing instructions are all just small perks to being a man. I like having calloused hands, and sometimes it feels great not to shave for a couple days. My toenails are often cracked from hiking, and my fingernails are always a little rough from biting them. I’m a man. I like to do physical work–I shouldn’t need to feel pretty as I sweat like a pig while doing it.

Nor do I need to feel pretty before I go out to a bar. I will be cleaned up–and sometimes I’ll throw cologne on–but there’s never any “product” in my hair other than shampoo and conditioner, and I certainly don’t feel the need to wear my finest clothes out so that they can have drinks spilled on them or get infested with cigarette smoke. Just being showered and wearing clean clothes is good enough for me.

I guess I just hate the whole metrosexual look and the overly bombastic handshakes because they are deceptive to a degree. It’s like the whole “Methinks she doth protest too much” line from Hamlet–by being over the top, whether it’s in personal grooming or performing “Grease” while shakinig someone’s hand, it’s as though the person has something to hide–like “I’m distracting you with this so you won’t notice that.” And Lord knows I don’t have time for that bullshit.

Maybe I’m becoming more conservative in my older age. Maybe I’m just part of a dieing breed of man–the meat and potatoes guy–the regular Joe. But dammit, I’m not changing. I’ll continue to be simple, direct and saying what I feel. I’ll continue to have rough hands. I’m not dying my hair. My handshakes will be quick and firm.

And no, I’m not asking for directions either.


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