Humans have been saying hello and goodbye to each other for about a 200,000 years now. In pre-historic days this involved a lot of clubbing and sniffing. Which sounds a lot like Manhattan in the 70’s but that’s a different story.
These days we initiate and conclude an encounter with friends either with a handshake, a fist pump or during times of swine flue, an elbow bump. Maybe there’s an acrobatic, urban finish to the shake, or a thump thump, back slap slap, man hug if two guys desperately want to prove their man-liosity to the world. This scene, by the way, is usually accompanied by a chorus of “bros” just to further reinforce for anyone near that neither likes to play at the “Y-M-C-A.”
In Europe there is a very sincere, however fake-looking, double cheek kiss. In Russia, they do a kiss-kiss-kiss. They must learn how to cross the street in Moscow at an early age with that left-right-left ritual in-grained in society.
None of these make up for the dreaded air kiss — usually accompanied by the smacking sounds of Scottsdale’s finest collagen-stuffed lips.
No matter the choreography or location, if this is the first time you ever met, verbally it always finishes the same way, “nice to meet you.” “It was so nice to meet you.” “Good meeting you.”
Am I the only one who finds these robotic, soullessly-uttered words to be like nails on a chalk board? Besides, it’s one thing if you really mean it. But are you honestly going to tell me you adore everyone you meet every day? If someone introduced you to Adolph Hitler what exactly would you say upon departure?
Is this really the best we can do? Eight newly introduced strangers stand up from the conference table, business cards freshly exchanged and they all say the exact same thing. Why? Is it primal? Is it like that final paleontological sniff? (sniff sniff sniff if you like Borscht.) Will someone really be offended if I just shake their hand warmly with a standard issue squeeze (not a double handed cup) and just say goodbye?