"Shake my hand." I say to my husband
"Huh?" he replies. We don't usually shake each other's hand as a greeting.
"I need to practice" I say. "For the interview."
He looks worried.
"Because it's a woman who’ll be interviewing me." I explain. “They said her name is Ilana. I"ll actually be able to shake her hand, so I want to check my handshake is ok”
He still looks rather confused. "What's the big deal?"
"Everyone knows there's a lot they learn about you from your handshake. It's very psychological." I should know, I’ve been reading enough online posts about how to prepare for an interview. (Tip: don't say your biggest weakness is hating routine boring work.)
I’ve shaken hands with someone perhaps once in my life. I've spent my last thirteen years making excuses for why I can't shake hands with men, an art form mastered by most Frum women.
We know the hold cellphone/drink/notebook in each hand trick, the sneeze into your hand and hold dirty tissues trick, the nod and smile before he has a chance to stretch his hand technique, and when all fails the " I'm sorry but I don't shake hands with men" explanation. But that's a last resort that risks offending; we try not to let it get that far.
Basically we Orthodox women are adept at how not to shake hands, but unfamiliar with how to actually shake someone's hand, should we so wish. ( Maybe that should be my excuse next time. "I'm sorry, but I don't know how to")
Being interviewed by a woman is a new occurrence. ( And perhaps reflective of the state of women's career paths in the Israeli workplace?)
I stretch out my left hand. My husband reaches out and holds it. We shake.
“How was I?” I ask
“Fine”, he says.
“Not too limp? Not too firm?”
“Maybe a bit too strong. You shouldn’t be trying to move my hand.”
“Oh.” I say. We try again
“How was that?”
“You're fine,” he says, “can we have dinner now?”
“Hi, I'm Ilana.”
“Pleased to meet you" I say.
We both smile. I wait.
“Would you like a drink? Or shall we get started"
No hand appears on the horizon. Maybe at the end?
"It was a pleasure meeting you, FNF."
“Same here.” We both smile. Again I wait.
“Here, I'll show you out.”
I don't believe it. After all that. When I finally can.
Maybe handshaking doesn't even happen anymore? Maybe it’s an archaic custom of a bygone era, sustained in only by orthodox female paranoia?
1 week ago