It's been an interesting time to be here, for sure, what with all the unrest and so forth. Things will be stable and reasonably approaching normalcy for a while but then periods of tension, anger, or random shouty bits pop up randomly, much like my irritating tendency towards shameless self promotion. The moments of chaos are something I could do without, to be honest, especially having been down that road many times before (oh god cheap crowd rage plug!) but I wanted to let you all know that it isn't all bad. In fact, it's mostly good, sometimes great, especially now that I have found a venue that has beer, Karaoke, plates of meat, and gelato under one delicious roof.
And, as followers of the Rage Cage know, one of the best things about traveling the world, other than the tan lines, groupies, and beer induced madness, is finding those little things that make a culture unique. I am a freshly minted babe in the Egyptian woods, so to speak, but I have been here long enough to start spotting that sort of thing. My favorite one thus far is easily The Egyptian Handshake.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Is that some kind of weird sexual fetish involving 80s pop music and wrist bangles? Or is it some type of scrambled egg and chili powder combination? To which I reply, no, you sick bastards, I mean it literally. I love the way they shake hands.
Having lived in Asia for five years, where the "limp fish" style of greeting is in terrible vogue, I have learned to appreciate a good handshake when I come across them, and I think that, in my worldy opinion, the Egyptian method is the perfect technique.
First off, they shake hands for everything. From the time when I leave my building in the morning, buy a coffee, get on the bus, and walk into my office, I will have already shaken hands about 20 times. When I drop off my laundry it means a running of the handshake gauntlet with the 6 employees. When they deliver it later on (in a group, of course) we do it all over again.
Whenever I enter someone else's office, even if it is just to pick up a piece of paper, first we shake hands, then I sit down, get the aforementioned paper, get up, we shake hands again, and I leave.
At this point in my life I am developing the most well mannered callus ever.
I have found myself sucked into that world, too: as I walk down the hallways my right hand seems to move of its own volition, seeking out new people to shake with. Kind of like Voldemort's snake in those movies, but without the cool CGI and thirst for Muggles.
So what is the method? What makes their version so infectious?
Well, it's a simple, yet game altering technique. Their shaking arm comes out at a wide angle (almost like going in for a one armed bro hug) and, right before the palms connect, they back their hand up a bit and then move forward at more speed. The outcome is a solid smacking noise followed by a quick pre-release squeeze. It is as close as a society has come to the ideal greeting, as shown here:
Half the audience reading this are now pregnant. The other half is on their way to buy hair removal cream and protein shakes.
Man, that smacking sound is so satisfying. Much better than the bro hug, the shoulder slam, the arm punch, the biker shake, and the Scottish Head Butt. I would hazard to claim it even surpasses the fist bump in terms of manly beatitude.
And on the 8th day, God brought dem knux.
So, Cairo, while things have been a bit weird lately, remember you always can fall back on the masculine satisfaction of that palm slap. I mean, the pyramids are great and all, but c'mon bro. Let's be bros.