One night after a new boyfriend offered my father a floppy handshake, Dad had a talk with me about his handshake theory.
“Always offer a firm grip. Not a tight one. You aren’t arm wrestling. Just a firm one.” Then he demonstrated what he meant with a resolute clasp.
“You’re a female so men are apt to offer a softer hand. But you still grip firmly so they know you aren’t a pushover.”
In the rearview mirror this was a pretty enlightened stance for someone of his generation. Then again, his one daughter and two sons all took turns in the household rotation of dishes and lawn mowing. No one spared or given a gender specific task.
But I know he thought I’d be an English teacher, my first brother an engineer and my little brother a professional athlete.
Par for the 1950s course.
After we practiced a couple of solid handshakes Dad sealed his deal.
“A handshake is about character, not gender. Don’t offer a fish-hand even as a woman. Show ‘em what you’re made of.”
And that’s exactly what I do.
“If a man’s handshake is no good all the [legal] paper in the world won’t make it good.” ~ Mayor Richard J. Daley