Q Dear Miss Abigail:
I was wondering what the proper etiquette is when a man comes up to you to shake your hand. Should you offer your hand or should he?
A Shaker and a Mover
A Dear Shaker:
I have a few tidbits for you from Ruth Tolman’s Charm and Poise for Getting Ahead. The first is from a chapter titled “The Art of Graciousness,” while the second appears in the “Social Postures” chapter and explains how exactly to go about shaking hands. I thought you might find that useful.
I don’t know about you, but after reading this I feel empowered to go out there and confidently shake hands with whomever I want, whenever I want. I am poised, hear me roar!
1969: The Handshake
A handshake is an expression of friendliness, it tells the other person that you are really glad to see him. Strive for a happy medium between a vise-like grip and a dead-fish grip. Your handshake is as expressive of your personality as your clothes and your speech.
And, if you are wearing gloves, my lady, would you remove them before shaking hands? No, a woman may shake hands with her glove on. However, because gloves are for street wear, they are removed as soon as you come indoors.
These are occasions when handshaking is necessary:
~~Whenever anyone extends his hand to you. If you are a young woman, you would wait for an older woman to extend her hand to you.
~~When men are introduced to one another. Even in a group a man will shake hands with each man to whom he is introduced unless it is most awkward for him to do so.
~~A woman may shake hands with a woman her own age, with a man to whom she is introduced as she chooses. It is the woman who takes the initiative in handshaking when men and women are introduced.
1. The right hand is brought from the side of the body to the waistline with the inner wrist leading in a semi-circular motion and is placed firmly in the palm of the other person’s hand for one or two visible hand shakes.
2. The left hand may be allowed to remain at the side or may be brought toward the waistline. It also may be necessary to use the left hand to hold one’s purse and gloves while shaking hands.
Please don’t hand someone a “wet dishrag” hand to shake. Be vital, be alive. Let the other person know and feel that you are genuinely glad to make his acquaintance.
Source: Tolman, Ruth. Charm and Poise for Getting Ahead. Bronx, NY: Milady Publishing Corporation, 1969.
~ pp. 234-35 (1st); 99 (2nd) ~