Home
A spy informs me that one firm is already telling its employees to avoid shaking hands as a way to lower the risks of swine flu. I can see this sort of policy catching on. My informant wonders what sort of greeting should replace the handshake. I'm on it.

There are few times in history when you have a chance to create a new and lasting custom. I say we put our collective minds together and come up with a business greeting that involves no skin-to-skin contact and no exchange of bodily fluids.  I will open the bidding by suggesting the forearm bump. I already use this method jokingly with my friend who has germ issues. It's like crossing swords except you cross your sleeved forearm. The cooties don't have time to penetrate two layers of sleeves. Or so he thinks.

This new swine flu greeting still needs something extra, such as both people saying, "Huzaaa!" when their forearms touch.

An alternate move would involve making a fist and holding it up to your snout sideways, as if you are forming a pig's snout, snorting then finishing with a fist bump. That's still hand-on-hand contact, but at least it's the clean side.

Who has a better idea for a handshake replacement?
 
Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +14
  • Print
  • Share

Comments

Sort By:
Apr 29, 2009
Hand extended, palm up. Very popular on Wall Street these days.
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
Can there be anything but Leather Tuscadero's double-thigh-slap and finger point from Happy Days??
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
If we do ever have to navigate an in-person greeting once today's teens take over, I suggest the following:

Form a W by folding your thumb over your pinky - on your right hand. Begin with your palm facing outward, with your hand a few inches in front of your right ear. Roll your eyes and say, "What". Next, swing your hand rapidly towards your left shoulder and finish with an appropriately disdainful "Ever".
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
Don't waste your time. I thought you had kids. The next generation has already perfected the contact-free lifestyle. They just appear in groups today to appease us, or because the law requires it (school), but once they rule the planet, it'll be all pods, baby. The only pandemics we'll need to worry about will be the digital type.
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
The elbow bump. You can even do it holding a coffee, and if you bump too hard & spill it, at least you only spill it on yourself.
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
I cough into my hand, then extend my it for a hand-shake.
The usual response is to look at me in disgust.
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
When I had a cold that I didn't want to give to anyone, I told people I had a cold and substituted the Japanese bow for the handshake.

The forearm bump wouldn't work down South in the spring and summer. We wear short sleeves that time of year, so there would be skin-to-skin contact.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
Indians (from India) use a gesture called "namaste" - putting your palms together at chest height with fingers pointing upwards. No back-breaking bows, no personal contact but clearly pointed at a person, non-frivolous, convenient.
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
Lots of oriental bow. I think that's perfectly acceptable, and almost everyone already knows what it means, so it would be easy to get started. ----gk
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
How about the old rat pack finger point, wink and clicking sound. You would point your index finger at the person indicating, You Da Man, Wink one eye to make it personal and then do a double clicking sound.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
Any motion of hands or body parts to face or butt would increase risk of spreading the airborne flu virus.

Paul Harvey recommended the bow. Perhaps a military-like salute. US military uses the bladed-fingers to the brow, Brits use an open palm touching first fingertip to forehead, Romans (might have?) used clenched right fist to left breast.

Someone mentioned to me that in past epidemics they implemented a 10' rule - no one allowed to approach another within 10 feet; would be hell on massage therapists, doctors, hair cutters, and .. ahem .. escorts.

I like the warm smile. And remember to cough into (your own) arm pit, to keep the hands clean(er).

Has anyone considered how the Mexican Drug Cartels are streaming back and forth between all major American cities, distributing drugs and disease? If you know someone using drugs - are you also comfortable with them being exposed to, and transmitting, the swine flu?
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
The old Kramer slide n' shudder.
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
Depending on who you read, the definition of close personal contact (which you should avoid) is either a 1m distance or a 2m distance. So the solution would have to put you outside of a 6' range.

I would suggest something like the old Romulan salute from Star Trek (the fist made at the side, then the arm crossed across the chest with the fist ending over the heart).

Alternatively, how about just beaming each other contact info over phone infrared connections? That's collegial. And you could have a 'Huzzah!' MP3 play while you do it.

Check this Youtube video (Blackadder) to see some good greeting options!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAz2c4WoWfs
3:14 to 4:59 shows a number of hilarious greeting options.
 
 
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
Sniffing each others butt. (My dog never gets the flu.)
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
Michael Jackson crotch-grab?
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
I vote for a series of gestures a la what the baseball players use to signal each other from the dugout to the field. etc. This can also be construed as gang signs, but it would be a good thing to build your team up!

"Live long and prosper" - the Vulcan salutaion, could be modified "Greetings consumer, please acompany me to the appointed hermetically sealed meeting location" - throw in a jazzy hand/finger gesture.

Semafore would be a possible alternative....or, sign-language anyone?
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
Bow to each other. But don't face the person when you're bowing.
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
There's a new app on the iphone where you bump it with another phone to establish a bluetooth connection that exchanges all your contact information. Allow some time for the app to be adapted to other types of phones, and there you go.

Of course I don't think there's an iphone out there that doesn't get covered with fingerprints, unless it's fresh out of the box. Bumping those greasy things is probably worse than shaking hands....
 
 
Apr 29, 2009
I'm a fan of the bow (European style)--one person bows, then the other returns the gesture. Another option, more informal, could be a military-style salute, but looser & only using 1 finger (think Al Borland on Home Improvement).
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2009
Clacking tongues at each other. Definitely one of man's most desperately underutilized capabilities.
 
 
 
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog