At the weekend, Liverpool footballer and all-round douchebag Luis Suarez refused to shake the hand of Manchester United footballer Patrice Evra. What makes this rather childish refusal even more ludicrous is that it was Suarez who was in the wrong in the first place! For those, like me, who have a knowledge of football the size of gnat's fingernail, let me enlighten you on why sulky Suarez refused to shake hands.
Last year, the Liverpool forward allegedly called the Manchester United player a racist term during a match. Suarez was then given an eight-match ban and a fine. At the weekend, the two teams came head to head again and during the pre-match handshakes Suarez, who still claims that he did not racially abuse Evra and that the latter exaggerated the story, refused to shake hands with his opponent.
How childish! We cannot be certain who called whom what and whether it even happened, but presuming it did, Suarez should not be the one to be acting like a stroppy teenager.
A handshake originates from the times when gentlemen carried swords in scabbards on their left hip; with their right hand they would draw their weapon. Presenting one's hand outstretched, away from the body, and with the palm open, showed that one was not carrying a weapon and meant no harm to your interlocutor. Whilst people generally don't carry knives and the like anymore, the handshake is still prevalent and vital when meeting someone as it shows respect and equality.
There are some ninnies in America (and I dare say elsewhere) who think that shaking hands with a total stranger is unhygienic as you do not know where they have been and what germs they may be carrying. They will refuse to shake hands, although for entirely different reasons to the footballers (although arguably as ridiculous).
The handshake is often the only skin on skin contact one has with a person and so many people have bad handshakes. They are either bone-crushers or limp fishes. What one should be aiming for is the middle ground: firm, but not too firm.
Here are my tips for shaking hands correctly. If someone would like to send them up to Liverpool, care of Mr. Suarez, that's be much appreciated. Grow up, chaps!
R Right hand...
Keep your left hand by your side - don't use it grasp the other person's arm or place it on top of their right hand: this shows, unconsciously, that you are wanting to control them
V Maintain vision...
Look at them in the eye! Don't look down at their shoes, over their shoulder, or at the door to see who else is arriving
P Palm facing inwards...
The palm should face inwards, to the left and not be facing down as some dominating businessmen will try to do (again, this shows a need to control)
T Two firm pumps...
One or two firm pumps are sufficient. In parts of Asia and in the Middle East, the handshake will go on for much longer, but in the Western society we only make brief contact.
Follow William Hanson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/williamhanson