Culture

Miss Manners: They reached out to touch me and my brain screamed ‘no!’


DEAR MISS MANNERS: Prior to the pandemic, I never shied away from shaking hands. But now, even being fully vaccinated, I shudder at the thought.

Just last week, I attended a student career fair where everyone wore masks. It was the first one I’d attended in a year and a half.

I didn’t even think about handshaking until students started coming up to me with outstretched hands. I couldn’t help but reciprocate, grabbing their sometimes damp, limp hands for a quick pump or two. My brain screamed “no!” while my social reflexes took over.

Two days later, I came down with a runny nose and sore throat. Thankfully, after getting a negative COVID test, it was clear I merely had a cold.

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Would there have been any way I could have warmly greeted them while pleasantly excusing myself from shaking hands? (Don’t think I didn’t thoroughly wash my hands and apply hand sanitizer as quickly as I could afterwards!)

I’m also wondering how to react when I again meet with clients and industry colleagues in upcoming gatherings. Is there any graceful way to handle this?

GENTLE READER: Begin to reach out your hand, stop, look as if you just remembered something, and then convert your movement to the elbow bump that is now becoming commonplace. You can further soften the implied rejection by shrugging and asking, as if you did not know, “Is this what we are supposed to do now?”

Miss Manners realizes this will not satisfy those who, unlike yourself, enjoy educating their colleagues about pandemic safety more if it involves public shaming. She simply observes that the latter isn’t working.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: On a trip to our local library, I used my elbow to activate the entrance door by pressing the handicap button on the side. I did this to avoid touching the door handle.

My 7-year-old daughter said she thought it was inappropriate for me to use the button, as I am not disabled.

I started to explain why it was acceptable for anyone to use the button — unlike parking in a handicapped zone, it’s not unlawful to use the entrance button — but then second-guessed myself. I began to wonder if my daughter was correct: Just because …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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