Opinion

Slip me some skin!

Okay, so which actor said, “Slip me some skin!”? Where did he say it? Who did he say it to? What was the name of the movie?

You do realise that I am merely showing off with my movie buff skills, right?

Meanwhile, I’m just trying to introduce a post on shaking hands. After all, we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and we’ve been told to stop shaking hands, innit?!

Do you mind shaking hands? I’ve never had a problem, generally speaking, with grabbing another person’s hand and shaking it up and down. I was always taught that this was a socially acceptable means of greeting. Especially a stranger. It’s the perfect means of showing that there is nothing threatening hidden in your hand. Isn’t that how it started in the first place?

I must admit a hug has always seemed warmer to me, but for obvious reasons that don’t necessarily work, especially with strangers.

Speaking of strangers, do you know that I never thought about snapping a person’s finger when shaking hands until a foreigner brought it up in conversation many years ago? He was in Ghana to do business and had been forcefully introduced to the very Ghanaian habit of snapping the finger of the person you are shaking hands with.

Apparently he had not reacted too kindly the first couple of times and was now petrified that he would alienate any potential business partner by either not snapping at all or snapping in the wrong way. I’ve never seen anyone so afraid of a handshake!

The idiots who shake hands but do not want to snap fingers are not wrong, but surely they can do it without practically throwing your hand away. That’s just annoying. Don’t snap, that’s okay; but then at least you can grip the other person’s hand firmly. That should stop the other person from snapping when you don’t want to. This habit of flinging the hand away before the person can snap….seriously??

Of course, shaking hands is currently in the news for all the wrong reasons. Because of the presence of certain coronas in the areas we have been asked to cease and desist when it comes to shaking hands. This has led to all sorts of alternatives, from elbow bumps to foot taps and namaste bows, not to mention distant waves.

And it has brought home just how deeply ingrained a habit can become. I have struggled with not shaking hands, I must admit. The other day I actually stuck my hand out to someone whose hand I might not even have sought in normal non-virus times, much less do so in these corona days. Thankfully he ignored my hand and bowed. I always knew I was a toonoo; I just didn’t think it would take a handshake to make it so clear. 

One of the offspring from the corona issue has been the use of sanitisers. These gels have become de rigeur when it comes to keeping yourself clean and safe from a virus. Unfortunately, they have also become victims of economics. You know, supply and demand. To put it simply you can’t find sanitiser on the open market for love or money.

Which has led to the unfortunate sight of people attempting to help themselves to the contents of hand sanitiser dispensers, and when I say help themselves I mean just that. People take containers to these public dispensers and attempt to….dispense….all the contents….into their own containers! Apparently this has been observed in a church or two, and a pastor or two has had to intervene with warnings from the pulpit. Won’t the Holy Spirit desert your sanitiser if you stole it??

Another offspring from the lack of shaking hands is the enterprise of producing ones own sanitiser. I have seen several recipes spring up on social media platforms. The one that blew me away was not on social media, however. It was explained to me, face-to-face, by a lady, who said that it included akpeteshie.

To ensure that the akpeteshie was the right strength….she set it on fire. I swear my father. She said she lit a match, touched the akpeteshie, and it began to burn brilliantly. Satisfied, she blew the fire out (I’m surprised it went out without a burp), and proceeded to make hand sanitiser. I’m still laughing at the description. Although…I did smell my hand after she left….and I’ve been drunk ever since.

Please use the sanitisers liberally, as we have been advised to do by various experts. Sometimes just using a sanitiser works for you psychologically as well. Whether it actually sanitises or not, it makes you feel good, innit?! And if the smell is just right….well, that’s a nice bonus too, innit?! Don’t try the akpeteshie flavour though. 

Since not everyone is a fan of shaking hands, is it possible that the current pause in the practice might lead to the permanent death of shaking hands? Could hand-shaking be a victim of the coronavirus? That might be a death not entirely mourned by everyone, innit?! What irritates me about some people who do not want to shake hands, but have to, is how they grab your hand limply and then let it go quickly.

It’s like you have a virus. Well, you know what I mean. If you don’t want to shake hands keep your digits to yourself, or shake hands properly. The limp shake and quick release are simply too annoying. A firm brief grip is what a handshake is all about, and gentlemen, if it’s a lady’s hand you are shaking, be gentle. When we emerge from the corona era you might even want to consider kissing a lady’s hand when you meet her. Fist bumps? High-fives? All not acceptable in the corona era.

Okay, since you have been begging me from the beginning of this post….the quote, “Slip me some skin!”, is from the comedy Good Morning Vietnam, and is uttered by the late sorely missed Robin Williams. He plays an Army radio presenter stationed in Vietnam in the 60s, pretending to be a teacher so he can meet a lovely Vietnamese chick. The class he stumbles into is an English class, and he is trying to teach them ‘real English’. Hence, don’t just say hello, say “Slip me some skin!” as you extend your hand. Groovy, isn’t it?!

Well, all I can say is, in old Ghanaian style, “Give me five, baby!”, because I need to feel some skin!

“…., a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.” Ecclesiastes 3, 5 


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