Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Year's Revolution

Welcome Mr. 2007. You've arrived, and we're all so glad to see you.

As with other years, plenty of people will be making resolutions. You know the type: I resolve to do this, do that, do the other.

So cool the resolution.

Not me. As with other things (board games, out of office bonding with co-workers, dog clothes, overpriced pizza, and ranch dressing to name a few), I am far too good for the resolution.

So, what you'll find here is not, I repeat, not a resolution.

By defintion, a resolution is: "a formal expression of of opinion or intention made."

Nope, not here. Get thee behind me, resolution.

What you'll find here is my 2007 New Year's Revolution (defined as: "a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure."). Here here! Ol' Anxine! Hoo-rah! Revolute!

I revolute to make a ruling on physical contact based on depth of relationship.

Huh? Stay with me. Problem--often times we might find ourselves in social situations that call for physical contact. However, many times, we are unsure what the appropriate level of contact is. Hand shake? Hug? Hi-five? Perhaps a simple shoulder shrug with two thumbs up?

Here's scenario #1--I am standing in line with my wife, awaiting entrance to a particular venue, when lo & behold if we are greeted by an aquaintance whom we have not seen in some time (6 months?). We exchange pleasantries and then he extends his hand directly into the space between the wife and I. Handshake... right? I look at the hand, look at the wife, back to the hand, the wife, the aquaintance, the hand and then the wife. Am I suuposed to shake it? Is he trying to shake my wife's hand? Look at the hand. Look at the aquaintance. In a moment of sheer social awkwardom, I thrust my hand into his, shake, nod, and release. There's a pause, and then he extends again. Again? What's this guy's deal? Why he is so adamant about shaking my wife's hand? We don't know him well enough for there to be physical contact between he and her... afterall, I refer to him as an aquaintance! Wifey looks at me, the hand, the aquaintance, the hand, me, the hand, and then hesitantly extends. Now what are we to do with this? Let's look at another scenario.

Scenario #2--A co-hort of mine (we'll call him Jack) had invested a good 10-15 minutes in a conversation with others: a dude, another dude and his spouse. Jack doesn't particularly know the other dude and his spouse, hence the conversation. Jack talked with them about their 20, plans, hands, and what-have-you's. Again, it was probably no-more than 12 minutes of getting-to-know-you. As the conversation broke, and adieu's were being presented, Jack shook hands with the other dude. Solid good-bye. End it and move on right? Well, Jack made the telltale mistake of making eye contact with the spouse. Their eyes locked, so he felt obligated. The spouse began to move in for the side-hug. Jack froze, processed, and decided to go full frontal hug instead. Hugging someone else's spouse in full frontal mode is a big, big step. That's not a 15 minute relationship closer. Party foul on Jack, right? Wrong. He lifted the rug of social appropriateness and swept this blunder under with the use of skirting humor. "Guess we'll hug-it-out... we go waaaaaay back." Bold move. Let's look at one more before we make a ruling.

Scenario #3--My buddy, Buddy, had recently completed a project at his new place of employment. Buddy found himself in a situation to receive praise from his boss. His boss delighted, and complimented him on a job well done. Pause. Then Buddy made eye contact with the boss. Extended eye-contact. The boss then made the decision to extend a hand for a shoulder pat. Buddy looked at the boss' misty-eyes and tilted his head... kidding. Buddy looked at the boss, looked at the hand moving in his direction, the boss, the hand, the boss--then the boss froze his hand. More eye-contact. They both held their breathing... in a terror they made a mutual decision to turn and run from the situation. Ignore it and walk away.

Based on these scenarios, I propose the following rules:
-Socially speaking, men should never shake women's hands.
-Inter-spousal contact should only take place after 1)two exclusive couple-couple dinners 2)all-parties involved email exchange using the reply-all button 3)all-parties involved have spoken on the phone to all-parties involved (answering your spouse's phone is acceptable)
-Inter-spousal contact should take place on the following scale: hi-five, side-hug, side-hug with squeeze, then full-frontal. Note: Full-frontal should only be used with your closest inter-spousal friends. A good measure on this use would be: 1) Have you been on a trip with this person? 2)Has this person seen your undergarments, whether, clean, dirty or on your person? 3) Have you exchanged communication with this person just between the two of you (could be text, email, or phone) in planning an event for one of your spouses?

Revolute. The world is yours--if you're going to live here, make sure you're comfortable with it. And while you're living here, let's not shake my wife's hand. That's just socially ignorant.