Shaking hands is illogical

Thursday October 22, 2009 @ 10:58 PM (UTC)

I’m going to the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose this month. I’m excited. My mom isn’t though, because she’s worried about her offspring traveling and picking up the dread H1N1. While I try to allay her influenza fears as much as I can in general, I can see her point here. One of the main things you do at conventions is meet people. And here in America, when we meet, we mostwise shake hands.

I’ve seen some people try to sidestep the handshake this year, but it’s difficult. You have to explain why you don’t want to shake, and some people take it personally. You’re basically deleting a major social ritual that communicates goodwill. It’s in the fabric of our culture, and it’s hard to rip out.

That’s where my idea comes in.

a hand performing the Vulcan salute

You see, at science fiction conventions, people share far more than a single culture. Even if you hate Star Trek, if you’re at a sci-fi con, you’re going to understand the gesture and its meaning. It fills the void left by handshaking. It doesn’t insult the recipient — most of us would love to live long and prosper — and hey, if you’re worried someone will think you’re a geek, you’re in the wrong place.

I’d love to go to World Fantasy and Orycon this year and see people keeping their hands germ-free and their greetings classic and cordial, so if you think this is a good idea, please pass it along!

Here are some tools you can use:

Images (as seen above, all .png format)

Flyers (.pdf format, image plus “Shaking hands is illogical.”)

Feel free to use these images and flyers under Creative Commons Noncommercial-Share Alike. Please link back here if you post derivative works online. (If you make a pin, flyer, or other offline derivative work, you don’t have to mess it up with my info. I’ll live!) Thanks to my dad for his photograph, and his hand.

Live long and prosper this flu season!


—Dress up in full Mad-Men type attire, including white gloves!
—Chest bump?

I’m not sure those take into account the target cultural milieu of science fiction convention :P

Wahoo! What a GREAT idea! And we DO all want to "live long and prosper’! Kudos to the clever mind that thought this up! ss

At the Abbey, someone said that the origin of hand-shaking is from the “Old West”—you shook hands to show the other person, and for them to show you, that neither of you had a gun in your hand as you approached and met them!

This is a great idea…I have always felt that shaking hands was a germy thing, and as I have aged, I find the occasional too ‘hard’ hand shake can hurt my arthritic hands! We can do the ’Live Long and Prosper non hand-shake, or we can perhaps bow, like the Japanese culture does? sds

Bowing is super-complicated. There’s all this detail about how low you bow to whom, and I don’t think it’d go over well here.

I’ve never heard that about shaking hands, sister sledge, but I find it hard to credit— hasn’t shaking hands been around a looooong time? We probably should look it up. I wonder if it has anything to do with swearing fealty — when you swore fealty, you put your hands together and the lord put his on either side (it’s why most Christians pray with their hands together — it was originally a way of establishing God as part of the feudal system, and thus legitimizing the feudal system.)

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