So like I heard this dude was on the radio and I was struck by two things: 1) His middle name is Fabius, and 2) he claims he stopped saying 'dude' when he finished grad school.

I like to think that I first started saying 'dude' out of irony. I mean, unless you're Doug, you probably started saying 'dude' after you heard Jeff Spicoli say it. If you're like me, you started using it in irony because you were definitely not the type of dude who said 'dude'. Or so you thought.

All this reminds me of something I call 'the dude shake', but which seems to be better known as 'the homey handshake' (which, I must say, sounds more hygienic). I'm sure some of you are familiar with it: One common variant begins like a normal handshake, but then the participating dudes press their thumbs together, wrapping their four remaining fingers around the back of the other dude's hand, before sliding their palms past each each other and hooking fingertips. They then bring their thumbs and index fingers together in a pinching motion as if to pass a doobie, raise the phantom spliff to their lips and drag on it. You've done this. You can be ashamed of it, but you've done this.

A couple years ago I was speaking with a young American lawyer at a cocktail party. After several drinks, it came to time to take our leave, and we found ourselves in mid-homey handshake (on second thought, that doesn't sound very hygienic either). Since then I've had the untested hypothesis that any (American?) man under the age of, say, 45 is susceptible to the, erm, aforementioned handshake and, regardless of his station in life, will reciprocate if you press your thumb against his.

I think of this as I notice the Czech Republic's business and political leaders getting younger and younger. Surely the handshake described above didn't permeate the same age level in Czech society, but if I ever get to shake hands with Stanislav Gross or Martin Jahn, I'll let you know.


At 12:35 PM, Blogger Douglas said...

The idea of Standa Gross doing the homey handshake is kinda funny, especially because it seems that even though he's younger than me, he's has never had a 'normal' upbringing. Hell, he was probably born in a blue polyester blazer.

And yes, there are parts of the world where people say 'Dude' without irony.

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