Monday, April 30, 2012

History of the handshake

The beginning of the handshake predates written history, making a definite explanation impossible. Many stories exist to explain the origin, ranging from comedic to spiritual. The most plausible explanation comes from the Medieval times, where the open right hand indicated you were not carrying a weapon. If two men met and displayed empty right hands, they could assume they would not be attacked by the other.

In a similar version, the handshake evolved from an elbow to wrist pat down to check for hidden daggers, eventually ending with the two men clutching hands. Another explanation exists stating the shaking motion was meant to dislodge any sharp objects that may have been hidden in the adversaries’ sleeve. The explanations all most likely have some merit and historical reality, and eventually merged into what we refer to as the handshake. Since women did not traditionally carry weapons, it explains why handshaking isn’t as common of a tradition with females.

The exception? My date to Theta Formal. Meet Ms. Kobil - we have Constitutional History together. As I stated earlier, I do like the Constitution, so naturally I would take a course on it. Back to Ms. Kobil - when I saw her at the Gala (a dance put on every other year on campus; kind of a big deal), I asked her if she would like to dance. (It was a slow song, so don't picture any cheesy dance moves) We proceeded to dance, and as the song started to fade, Ms. Kobil put out her hand almost as if to say, "I don't have any weapons." So now we have an inside joke. (Well it was an inside joke until I just shared it with all of you).

What's the significance of a handshake anyway?
She does have a nice handshake, in case you were wondering.

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