Handshake Etiquette

From Amy Vanderbilt's complete book of etiquette: a guide to gracious living (1957).

A handshake is as much a part of personality as the way we walk, and although we may modify and improve a poor handshake if someone calls our attention to it, it will usually be just like us, assured or timid, warm or cool.

Bad handshakes include the bone crusher—the grip that makes the other person, especially a woman wearing rings, wince. Or a limp, damp handshake that seems to say, "I am not really happy to meet you at all!" Or it may be the kind of straight-arm shake that seems to hold the other person off, or the octopus grip that draws you inexorably toward the shaker, who never seems to want to let go. Then there's the pump handle, or country bumpkin shake, and the very Continental style—reserved for women—which, though not a hand kiss exactly, is cozy and overlong, ending in an intimate little squeeze.

The good handshake is elbow level, firm and brief. A man does not offer to shake hands with a woman unless she makes the move first. Outdoors, it is no longer necessary for him to keep her waiting awkwardly while he removes his glove, nor need he apologize for taking her hand with his glove on. Whether he is shaking the hand of a man or a woman, the shaker must look the person he is greeting firmly in the eye and, at least, look pleasant, if he doesn't actually smile.

The Octopus Grip

The Bone-Crusher
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Nov 21, 1952

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 28, 2018
     Category: Etiquette and Formal Behavior | 1950s

"Combining the octopus and bone crusher grips can lead to hair loss and bone spurs."
Posted by Bill the Splut on 02/28/18 at 01:15 PM
I despise the handshake. See the article for all the reasons!
Posted by David Plechaty on 03/05/18 at 12:57 AM
All persons who in shaking hands, shake hands with you like that... they never would be missed!
Posted by Richard Bos on 03/10/18 at 05:10 AM
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