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Yin & Yang Debate: Hectic Hands

Jessica Leicht and Ben Hiles

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Jessica: There are many ways to greet someone, like saying “hello,” or awkwardly waving, but my favorite way to greet someone is through a fist bump or secret handshake.  It makes an interaction with someone ten times better and more enjoyable. What is your beef against these innovative hand interactions?

Ben: These vulgar and obnoxious greetings are only the surface of our society’s truly odd obsession with all forms of grotesque hand contortions. Let’s start with the classic “high-five.” This greeting is an aggressive invasion of personal space. Who would want to be congratulated or met with a high-velocity, sweaty palm slap?  Short answer: not me or anyone else who has half a brain. Moreover, I will not be surprised in the slightest if there is a global pandemic of a virus that is passed through this unsanitary ritual.

Jessica: The “high-five” is used for more than just a “hey, how’s it going?”  It’s a gesture that lets you know that you did a good job. When this high-five happens, it is found to released oxytocin, so it creates a natural high… five *Badum-tshh*.  It’s good for you!  Despite your alleged health concerns, unless a person doesn’t wash their hands, or puts their fingers in their mouth, you should be fine.

Ben: If you believe that the foolish “high-five” is just a-ok, then you must see the obvious flaws in the infamous “fist-bump”. Firstly, it is just outright painful is you are interacting with a rather careless individual who finds it humorous to make an attempt at shattering every bone in your hand. Secondly, there is much room to make an error is this “overly complicated” (sarcasm implied) gesture to meet the “fist-bump” with the aforementioned and dreaded “high-five”. This simply adds to the awkwardness of the interaction. Granted, it is quite enjoyable for nearby onlookers of the embarrassing situation.

Jessica:  First of all, unless you’re boxing or trying to hurt someone, the fist bump shouldn’t hurt as much as you say it does.  Either that, or you have a weak bone structure. It should be a light tap, not an assault attempt. Also, back onto the science, scientists think we adapted a fist bump to stop the spread of diseases, so if you are so concerned about sanitation, this is the hand gesture for you!  Barack Obama fist bumped and it was pretty cool. Fist bumping is by far the best hand gesture.

Ben: How about clapping? I can not think of a more obnoxious use of our hands. Who would think it would be pleasant to show approval of a performer or entertainer by a rapid smacking of your meaty hands. The unpleasant and utterly disgusting sound of a crowd clapping resembles what one might believe a meat market would sound like during an earthquake. Those receiving the applause can not wait for the unpleasant gesture to end while those clapping long for the end of the stinging hand slapping. It brings no good to our world, only pain and disgust.

Jessica: How do you expect us to give approval for a performer?  By snapping our fingers? Whistling? Yelling loudly? I don’t think that the yelling would be the best way to go when in a symphony concert.  Apparently, clapping for a half an hour a day helps your health significantly! I don’t know how, but apparently it does. It was also used to show strength, back in the day.  Also, clapping is done with yourself, so if you have no friends (like you), never fear! You can still do this hand gesture.

Ben: Let us then move onto the most awkward and invasive of our hand uses. The cu de gras of our weird cultural habits: hand shakes. For many, a handshake that has lingered too long or is too vigorous has been one of the worst experiences in a person’s life. There is no worse feeling than being at the mercy of someone who clings onto your hand longer than you would like, like a python squeezing its prey to death while also being stared down by a relentless, hawk-like gaze. Furthermore, there are those who offer their hand for a good shaking and it feels like your giving a professional greeting to a dead, limp fish. It is repulsive.

Jessica:  Going to put a little history in your brain: in the medieval ages, extending the right hand for a handshake is a sign of peace saying “I’m not going to stab you with my sword” because you’re moving your hand away from the scabbard.  It is also believed that the up-and-down motion is to dislodge any sort of weapons your enemy might have hiding in their sleeve. So, if you’ve had an overly vigorous handshake, it is most likely you seem pretty shady. Despite how awkward it can be, shaking your hand can probably save a life. Although, you never know when history can repeat itself. Better to be safe than sorry.

Ben: I’m not quite sure whether you are suggesting that we may go back to being under a constant threat of a spontaneous sabre duel, but I suppose our world is getting crazier by the day.

Jessica:  It was a more simpler time!  All you had to worry about was whether someone wanted to slice your head off or not, instead of now where we are worried about what kind of hand gestures should be used.

Ben: I suppose any of our cultural habits can be seen as silly if we really look into it. Overall, we are a very odd society and we should simply embrace it. So go out there! Slap your hands, bump your fists, and applaud those who you admire. Above all else, shake the hand of any violent knight that you may encounter.


A crisp high-five from Jessica and Ben

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Yin & Yang Debate: Hectic Hands