Are Handshakes Really Bad?

By Annie Lane

August 12, 2018 5 min read

Dear Annie: A man who extends his hand demanding a handshake is presumptuous and arrogant. Handshaking is unsanitary and disgusting, in my opinion. Any gentleman with any intelligence should know how abhorrent it is to most ladies. Especially repulsive are workmen who have dirty hands or workers in a position of servitude. They seem to have the opinion that they are offering a gesture of friendliness rather than committing an act generally rebuffed in contempt of such poor manners.

To express my displeasure, I withdraw away from the ignoramus and will retaliate by not doing business with him. Gentlemen should know better than to extend their hand to a lady.

Please print my letter so that people who have this gross habit might understand that it is not met with the approval they seem to expect. They do themselves a grave disfavor in most instances. Being a lady, I'm a devout hater of handshakes! — Handshake Hater

Dear Handshake Hater: Lady, the one with poor manners is you. I can't for the life of me understand why you'd show such scorn for a gesture that is meant — even by your own acknowledgment — to show friendliness. If you're that afraid of the germs, wash your hands more often or keep some hand sanitizer handy. Negativity poses its own health risks, by the way, so shake that attitude.

Dear Annie: I am part of a group of lady golfers. Anyone can play with us, and weekly sweeps/bets are voluntary. It's the tournament chair's job to make the pairings, contact the pro shop about those pairings, collect voluntary bets for the week and do the payouts. I used to be the chair. It was often hard because a lot of people don't pitch in to help with planning things.

But our current chair, "Meg," is a stickler for the rules. Some women who have played with us once have not returned because Meg made them feel intimidated or embarrassed about their lack of knowledge. Meg feels it's her job to police everyone. She has also been sending weekly emails about the previous week's play. Those whom she doesn't like are left off the emails, and they feel alienated. She makes cutting remarks if someone doesn't want to be in the betting that week.

Meg lost her husband a few years ago. Prior to that, she and her husband kept to themselves and never socialized. Now that she is alone, some of us have tried to include her in birthday lunches. She has no other friends or family. This group is all she seems to have. Problem is, ladies don't want to come and play with the group because of her reputation and meanness. They are figuring out other days to play.

Should we tell her how she has alienated others? Should we ask her to step down as chair and then change the group once again to reflect fun rather than rules? What should we as a group do to maintain our once-fun group? — Perplexed and Sad Golfer

Dear Perplexed and Sad Golfer: Perhaps you could recommend switching up the format altogether. Rather than have one person serve as chair, you could have everyone take a turn on a rotating basis. That would give everyone the privilege and responsibility of leading — one bonus benefit being that people might be more inclined to pitch in and help future chairs once they've had the shoe on the other foot and know all the work that goes into organizing a tournament.

If this is logistically impossible, you should at least have a chat with Meg, and yes, be honest about how her hard-line approach has scared off a lot of participants. If she refuses to adjust, she'll be left with no one to chastise but herself.

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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