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How to shake a black guys hand
February 13, 2013 4:52 AM   Subscribe


 
If I ever get a band together, I will name it "Elaborate Lotion Ritual".
posted by tommasz at 5:04 AM on February 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I usually elect for a "regular" handshake upon first meeting, then follow their lead for the "goodbye, nice to meet you" handshake. Upon further meetings it usually evolves into daps if greetings are being exchanged among multiple people and slaps + shoulder bumps if in smaller crowds or as we become closer acquaintances. Ah, social interactions.

Also, salty caucasian palm sweat vs elaborate cocoa butter lotion ritual made me laugh out loud.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:08 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's one way to do it.
posted by orme at 5:21 AM on February 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


1971- Ignoring my friends' encouragement to head for Windsor, I enlisted in the Army (in order to avoid being drafted, as an Enlistee I was able to choose my specialty, as opposed to becoming yet another Infantry foot soldier headed for 'Nam).

I had led a pretty white life up to that point, sure, there were some African American students in my High School, but, socially, there wasn't a whole lot of interaction between races, the same was true of my college experience. I ended up at Ft. Lewis in Washington state for basic training. My training unit consisted of about 50 guys, 48 of them from the projects of Chicago, and two of us from my small, mostly white, suburban home town in Michigan.

Of the 48 guys from Chicago, about 40 of them were African American, the other 8 were just crazy white guys. As one of the few guys in the platoon that had some college (I was one class away from graduation when my deferment ran out), I was made a squad leader.

When I went into the Army I weighed a total of 130 lbs. I was the skinniest guy in the platoon, and all of a sudden I'm in charge of a squad of guys whose life style and culture were so different from mine that we barely spoke the same language. I got lucky, however, in that, as a squad leader, I had a room with the other two squad leaders, both of whom were black. For some reason they liked me, and that translated into their making sure that the Chicago contingent didn't beat the hell out of the skinny white dude that was telling them what to do.

I learned a lot over those two months of basic training. I learned how to kill someone with a bayonet, I learned how to field strip a M-16, I learned that, if you knew how to type you could spend a lot of time in the company office completing forms instead of doing endless laps in the Seattle rain. But, I don't think there was anything I was more proud of than, at the end of hours and hours of amusing and backslapping practice with my roommates, being able to walk up to any black guy on the base and pull off a pretty smooth dap.
posted by HuronBob at 5:23 AM on February 13, 2013 [23 favorites]


I have never heard the term "daps" before.

Also, the guy in the background of the hiphop/street-cred handshake has some good reaction face.
posted by DU at 5:27 AM on February 13, 2013




Traditionally, Caucasians learned funky handshakes by joining the freemasons. Here are some Blue Lodge grips.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:44 AM on February 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Lost my shit at How To Run A Zone Defense.
posted by Peevish at 5:44 AM on February 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


In the 70's, I could see this as a 'thing'. 40 years later, it seems like a silly affectation.
posted by Goofyy at 5:46 AM on February 13, 2013


A Silly affectation? Why?
posted by marienbad at 5:48 AM on February 13, 2013


(gives goofyy secret Flint sign)
posted by clavdivs at 6:22 AM on February 13, 2013


Yeah, fail to see how it's any sillier a greeting ritual than air cheek kisses or a "regular" handshake or a bow of varying heights to indicate status or rubbing noses etc. Culture, it's often very different and seemingly arbitrary!
posted by nathancaswell at 6:29 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


HAHAHAHA! Funny stuff! Thanks for the post!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:32 AM on February 13, 2013


Like, I had to deal with the EXACT same "how are we going to greet eachother awkwardness" the first few times I met my friend's (French) wife until we wordlessly worked it out that it was going to be with cheek kisses and which side and how many... We seem to have mutually decided on a single kiss to our left. Cultural compromise.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:41 AM on February 13, 2013


We seem to have mutually decided on a single kiss to our left.

Smart move! The three kisses thing is a pain.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 AM on February 13, 2013


Up here in famously multiracial Toronto, the common parlance for greetings amongst men seems to be

SOMEBODY YOU DON'T KNOW OR WHO IS NOT REALLY A FRIEND - standard handshake
SOMEONE WHO IS YOUR FRIEND - handclap handshake into one-arm hug/body bump, release
YOUR BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER - straight-up hug, perhaps with wrasslin'
YOUR ACTUAL BROTHER - cold, distant silence
posted by mightygodking at 7:18 AM on February 13, 2013 [24 favorites]


About half of all men don't wash their hands after using the bathroom, so if I have to shake someone's hand, my routine is to give him a regular handshake and make myself a mental note to wash my hands soon. If he tries any goofy handshakes on me, I just laugh.
posted by pracowity at 7:21 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]



Up here in famously multiracial Toronto, the common parlance for greetings amongst men seems to be

SOMEBODY YOU DON'T KNOW OR WHO IS NOT REALLY A FRIEND - standard handshake
SOMEONE WHO IS YOUR FRIEND - handclap handshake into one-arm hug/body bump, release
YOUR BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER - straight-up hug, perhaps with wrasslin'
YOUR ACTUAL BROTHER - cold, distant silence

what we do that in America
posted by sweetkid at 7:21 AM on February 13, 2013


Unless one of our dogs died -- don't hug me.
posted by entropos at 7:21 AM on February 13, 2013


Unless one of our dogs died -- don't hug me.

so what you're saying is you want us to murder your dogs?

man, that seems harsh
posted by mightygodking at 7:27 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unless one of our dogs died -- don't hug me.

We have dogs? But I never get to play with them or go for walkies! Stop hoggin' em!
posted by sweetkid at 7:41 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


nathancaswell: "Like, I had to deal with the EXACT same "how are we going to greet eachother awkwardness" the first few times I met my friend's (French) wife until we wordlessly worked it out that it was going to be with cheek kisses and which side and how many... We seem to have mutually decided on a single kiss to our left. Cultural compromise."

I ran into that in France, because it seemed like some people did two kisses and some did four. I would usually just watch the other person to figure out the right number. At one point, I hesitated after two, and my greeting partner said "Oh, is it only two kisses in America?" At which point I got to explain that no, in America we don't touch each other. (Yeah, I know, not 100% percent true, but we were mostly discussing the business world, in which it's the personal-space protecting, single-hand, no lean handshake.)

I've also once, spontaneously, after running into a dear friend unexpectedly, done the grasp-forearms, jump up in the air, and shriek greeting. Up until that moment, I would have sworn that maneuver was not in my repertoire, but we performed it like it was choreographed. Cultural knowledge is sneaky that way. That maneuver, by the way, is way sillier than any elaborate fistbump.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:54 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm always bewildered when people kiss me on the cheek (one kiss, not two). A lot of Americans do it in New York I find. I'm American but from Virginia where this would never happen and I've just never gotten used to it somehow. It's not that I dislike it, I just...never expect it and end up doing something awkward.

You'd think I'd figure it out at some point.
posted by sweetkid at 9:10 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whatever the race, the middle-finger palm-tickle is key.
posted by Drexen at 10:53 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm always bewildered when people kiss me on the cheek

Having lived several years in Montreal I'm very used to cheek-kissing as a greeting, but the kiss count is always very culture specific and creates all kinds of awkwardness. Do you do the one-cheek, the two-cheek or the one-two-three? And then there's the one-kiss-hug vs. the two-kiss-hug. Sometimes it's a miracle no one comes away with a broken nose.
posted by yoink at 10:57 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


So you guys don't do the stinky-finger when you meet? Seems kind of distant.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:34 PM on February 13, 2013


So you guys don't do the stinky-finger when you meet? Seems kind of distant.

I only do that when I happen to run into George Clinton.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:13 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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