A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

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Contrarian Expatriate
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A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

Post by Contrarian Expatriate »

One of my all time pet peeves as a world traveler is the irksome habit that some cultures have regarding handshaking. It is just the custom that just won't die!

Shaking hands, on the one hand (no pun intended), is a polite and gracious gesture of goodwill. However, IT IS DISGUSTING. People's hands, at best have been touching filthy door handles, phones, gasoline pumps, and a multitude of other things contaminated by people dirtier than themselves. At worst, people still sneeze into their hands and fail to wash them properly after visiting the restroom. And for those who do wash properly, their hands are often immediately contaminated with infectious fecal matter as soon as they pull open the restroom door!

Unless I am dealing with utter morons, it is seldom a problem in the Western world. However, it is a HUGE problem for me in the Muslim world in places like Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and Dubai where men often walk up to me in public with their hand extended in the most impositional way. It is a dilemma because you don't want to offend someone attempting to be positive, but Muslims tend to come from "face-saving" cultures so I have had a couple of them want to fight when I declined to shake their rudely imposed extended hands.

However, this Coronavirus has made turning down handshakes socially acceptable and it is reminding people that it is an overall bad idea. And it is going to be my long term excuse.

For those of you who are not handshakers for reasons of hygiene and maintaining good health, what is your strategy for turning down a handshake?


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HappyGuy
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Re: A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

Post by HappyGuy »

Contrarian Expatriate wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 9:05 pm
Muslims tend to come from "face-saving" cultures so I have had a couple of them want to fight when I declined to shake their rudely imposed extended hands.
Have you tried bowing like the Japanese? Or the Roman salute? Muslims might enjoy that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_salute


Contrarian Expatriate wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 9:05 pm
Unless I am dealing with utter morons, it is seldom a problem in the Western world.
Care to share some stories or pontificate on the cultural background of those morons?

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Cornfed
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Re: A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

Post by Cornfed »

Contrarian Expatriate wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 9:05 pm
For those of you who are not handshakers for reasons of hygiene and maintaining good health, what is your strategy for turning down a handshake?
The usual strategy is that your hand is injured or that you have a profession where you need your hands such as a surgeon. I generally shake hands though, although I probably wouldn't be called upon to do so nearly as often as you. Yes, the coronavirus is a bonanza of non-handshaking.
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Neo
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Re: A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

Post by Neo »

Shaking hands is one thing. Touching subway poles and other surfaces concerns me far more. For this reason, I try to carry a small, refillable spray bottle of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Then I just wash my hands as soon as I get home.
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Contrarian Expatriate
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Re: A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

Post by Contrarian Expatriate »

HappyGuy wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 9:38 pm
Care to share some stories or pontificate on the cultural background of those morons?
I find it's usually people in the service industry like hosts, waiters or bouncers, but also professionals like attorneys, accountants, physicians and those who feel obligated to formally greet clients.

Overseas it is generally third country dregs (Turks, Azeris, Arabs, Persians) who are usually just trying to meet a fellow Muslim with whom to socialize (or scam). My stoic Mid-Atlantic accent usually comes as a shock and a letdown before they scurry away. :lol:

Oddly enough, STRIPPERS tend to do that the most because they think it is, "What men like," not realizing that it comes off as contrived, fake, and anything but feminine. I intentionally carry my water bottle in my right hand and behave like I don't even see their extended hand. That works usually if you are being friendly to them, but occasionally there is an NPD or HPD stripper who blows a gasket because I decline to shake their hand. :lol:

There is a tendency for black Americans and Latinos to be more manually tactile than mainstream folks (except here in the Deep South), but I have noticed that the fist bump and elbow bump has slowly evolved into popular use. Yes, that does tend to appear immature and sophomoric, but better to use bumps than to shake infected hands.
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Cornfed
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Re: A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

Post by Cornfed »

Contrarian Expatriate wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 11:57 pm
but I have noticed that the fist bump and elbow bump has slowly evolved into popular use. Yes, that does tend to appear immature and sophomoric, but better to use bumps than to shake infected hands.
You know that like a lot of things about negro culture, that tradition evolved in prison, in this case precisely to limit the spreading of disease, right?
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Re: A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

Post by MrMan »

There is also the Wuhan foot tap and various other substitutes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf5tGGD_6kA

The elbow bump seems unwise, since some people may follow the health advice to sneeze into their sleeves.

There was an old TV show about a detective named Monk who went around with an assistant. The assistant handed him a germ-killing wipe so he could wipe his hand after shaking hands with people.
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Cornfed
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Re: A New Excuse To Refuse To Shake Hands: Coronavirus!

Post by Cornfed »

MrMan wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 6:09 am
There is also the Wuhan foot tap and various other substitutes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf5tGGD_6kA

The elbow bump seems unwise, since some people may follow the health advice to sneeze into their sleeves.

There was an old TV show about a detective named Monk who went around with an assistant. The assistant handed him a germ-killing wipe so he could wipe his hand after shaking hands with people.
The Japanese and Korean bow would suffice.
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