I'm seriously thinking about trying this. I've always been germ conscious. But ever since I started full time work, with the interviews and all, the handshakes have become much more regular than they were before that time in life. It wasn't so bad at first, when interviews were just every now and then. I think the turning point was when I got to the job I'm at now. On my first day, my supervisor took me around and introduced me to everybody in the branch, meaning everybody on our floor (6th) and the 4th floor. I had to shake the hand of about 50+ people. I think with a few people, at first it wasn't so bad. But after I started shaking soooo many people's hands, I started thinking about what they've touched. I saw guys who had their shoes off in their offices, who could have been touching their feet then shaking my hand. I started thinking about the people who are probably sneezing, coughing, and scratching things, then shaking my hand. And don't even get me started on the people that don't wash their hands in the bathroom - Jason has seen it firsthand, and my boss said he's seen it firsthand in our actual branch. I shudder now just thinking about shaking all those people's hands. I mean, my hand literally had that dirty smell to it, you know, after you've been playing outside for a while or something - yeah that, except just from shaking hands. Blegh.
So now, I'm at the point where I always make sure I haven't been touching public items if I'm about to eat my snacks or lunch. If I go down to the copier, I wash my hands afterwards. I push all the elevator buttons with my knuckles instead of fingertips. I keep my keyboard sanitized if someone from IT comes to work on it. I really don't even like people borrowing my pens, but I try to shake that feeling if it happens. But most of all, I shudder every time I have to shake hands with someone now. Cold... clammy... rough... hot... whatever. And all I think about is the unknown of where that hand has been. And if it's at the beginning of a meeting, then I have to sit there the whole time wanting to go wash my hands. Ick.
Now don't get me wrong - I don't go around using hand sanitizer every 5 minutes. Although I do keep it with me, and I use it after the gas pump, handling cash, etc. But I realize how easy it is to sit at a desk and touch my face without realizing it. I try to remind myself to not do it, but it's also helpful if I avoid the germs in the first place. Anyway, this may be partly confession, and partly me putting the question out there asking if I'm crazy. I honestly don't think so. I think I'm finally just aware of the total lack of personal hygiene some people have, and it grosses me out. And I'm finally aware of the many surfaces people's germs can be that can affect me.
And it's partly unfortunate that I'm thinking this way, because my dad raised me from Square 1 to have a firm handshake. I've always liked that I have a firm handshake. I've even gotten complements on it. And I've even read that women with firm handshakes supposedly get looked at more on the same equal level as men. Not that I'm worried about that as an issue, but it's just that I like my firm handshake. :-) And a handshake is our widely known symbol of greeting people and showing good intentions. But my desire to avoid other people's germs whenever I have the control to overrides that at the moment.
So I heard about this on the radio the other day - how some sports were considering banning the handshakes, due to the swine flu, and encouraging the fist bump. I personally love this idea. So I seriously think I might try it. If someone offers their hand, I'll just offer my fist instead and say, "Oh, I do the fist bump, no hand shakes." It'd be interesting to see what kind of responses I get. Maybe I can still get the greeting and good intentions part across with a nice smile and a "How are you? Nice to see you." Hmmm... any thoughts?
Fist Bumps (I know it's past the official "Day" date of July 7, but it's still got good information on it - check out the story under Founder.)