Ask a Man


“When they met one another, there was an uneasy moment as each watched the other’s right hand. If it went to his sword or gun, there was a battle, but if it went to his hat it was a salute of friendship or respect.”

The Boy Scout Handbook

Doubt and uncertainty will get you killed. An indecisive driver is more likely to cause a collision than that jerkhole who just deliberately cut you off (if you’re reading this while driving, your GPS told me to tell you to unfasten your seatbelt, accelerate, and make an immediate hard left turn exactly… now). If the month-old milk in your fridge smells like it might have gone bad, don’t drink it until you’ve tricked someone else into drinking it. If you’re not sure that the firearm you wear to bed is loaded and the safety is off then the Chinese have already invaded your home, devoured your pets, and you and your family have become slave labor in one of those sweatshops where the little letters that appear on computer screens are assembled one pixel at a time. In a social situation, the handshake provides a shorthand determination of who’s who and how steady or shaky their character is.

But the question at hand is how do guys know which handshake to use and, when it’s your standard fist bump pas de bourrée, whose fist is on top? It turns out that the top fist is determined by an extremely complex equation developed by the heretical 14th century Portuguese mathematician Aperto de Mão. Fortunately the equation with all its arcane symbols can be summed up as “who hast initiated ye fist bump is on top, unless ye initiator is a dwarfe or ye totally precocious baby.”

As for how we determine exactly which handshake to use, the magic of the Y chromosome has endowed men with a specialized gland that emits and detects identifying pheromones.

This gland  coupled with our ability to recognize types of headgear allows us to know in advance of physical contact whether the other fellow is a Lakers fan, a Freemason, a gang banger, or French, and we adjust our handshake/aim accordingly. Scoffers: this is science, dammit, and cannot be disproven by any method known to Man.

So the next time you see a couple of bro’s or homeys engaging in complicated modes of manual hierarchical determination, remember that you are witnessing just one beautiful thread in the grand tapestry of snips, puppy dog tails, farts, and dick jokes that makes being a dude so totally totally awesome. Question answered.

 ©  2011 Anthony Robert Russo

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13 Responses to Ask a Man

  1. littlebadwolf says:

    meanwhile, if you check the girlscouts manual, you will learn that a proper lady always offers her hand to be kissed………their text isn’t called a ‘manual’ for nothing.

  2. Juri says:

    I refuse to use anything but the ordinary handshake. The list of accomplishments on my gravestone will include “he did not high-five, fist bump or palm slap with any man. Ever.”

  3. Andra says:

    Good for you, Juri.
    I bet you don’t wear your hat backwards either.

  4. Sister Wolf says:

    Andra – Juri is a man among men.

  5. Andra says:

    Robert Russo: is this the author is some wonderful stories of life in American towns?

  6. Romeo says:

    Nope. There’s a Richard Russo who wrote Empire Falls and whose first novel was Mohawk. I happen to have an uncle named Richard and currently sport a mohawk and may be related to the author Richard Russo, and while I may bot be anybody mentioned or listed anywhere on this page I’m certainly not Robert Russo.

  7. Suspended says:

    I’m with Juri.

    I don’t do Budweiser noises either.

  8. Andra says:

    Yes, that’s who I was thinking of Richard Russo. I love his books and have read them all, even if I don’t know his name.
    Interesting and quirky.

  9. JK says:

    Now hold on, wasn’t Robert Russo Bill Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury?

  10. Sister Wolf says:

    What about Robert Roper? I bet no one has read him. He wrote one of the most disturbing novels I’ve ever read.

  11. Andra says:

    Sis, I haven’t read it but I will find the sucker and do it.

  12. Hammie says:

    Can we have the double kiss, half hug shake etiquette please?

  13. Andra says:


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