As government officials proposing “indefinite” mask mandates want to keep forcing us to wear masks forever, I’ve long feared another casualty of COVID-19 rules would be permanent: the handshake.
It’s a staple of every introduction, every Sunday morning before church starts, every interview or agreement or congratulation. It’s cliche but true that you can tell a lot about people by the way they shake your hand: a confident grip, eye contact, an accompanying smile.
But the inimitably patronizing czar of flip-flopping known as Dr. Anthony Fauci told us last year to get rid of the handshake for good, in what was evidently an overestimation of how much the American people will listen to his orders. “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you,” Fauci told the Wall Street Journal. “As a society, just forget about shaking hands,” he said in a separate interview. “We’ve got to break that custom.” …
… Many Americans have spent the last year missing the normality of human touch, not looking for new ways to get rid of it.
Flinching away from a handshake isn’t just physical. When you treat someone like he’s too germy to touch, it’s impossible not to internalize a small sense of that defensiveness or even disgust in the way you think of him in general.
Years before anyone had heard the acronym”COVID,” scientist and professor Val Curtis suggested handshakes “signify that the other person is trusted enough to share germs with.” Exactly — it’s a communication of trust and openness, needed as much as ever in a climate that has encouraged us to isolate ourselves.
Contrary to the “experts” who encourage the handshake’s demise, studies have shown the connective power of touch.