It really gets me when people don't shake hands.
In this time of general public fear that any organic being (and many in-organic) that we come in contact with is going to infect us with some terrible virus that has an animal proceeding the word 'flu', I have found that people are much less likely to shake hands.
This upsets me.
A handshake as a greeting goes back at least to the 5th century BC - two soldiers are depicted on a funerary stele shaking hands. According to the universally-accepted-as-true Wikipedia, Sir Walter Raleigh may have introduced this greeting to the royal court in Britain in the 16th century. For hundreds of years, shaking hands is a way of saying, you can trust me - my hands are empty of weapons and I want to have the opportunity to recognize you as a person and an equal. This seemingly simple gesture signifies so much from one human being to another.
It makes very little sense to me to refuse a handshake on the basis of viral concerns. Living in New York City, riding the subway will expose you to more germs than shaking someone's hand. If you have the inexplicable fear that shaking a person's hand will make you ill, Purell works wonders. And while that can be insulting, having someone clean off their hands right after they shake hands with you, I would prefer that than a flat out refusal.
I understand that if you are an orthodox male Jew, you may have a problem shaking hands with a woman, and vice versa. Here we are going back to my feelings on religion and that God doesn't give a shit who we touch as long as we don't hurt anyone, but if its what you believe, then yes, ok, go crazy, avoid human contact. However, there are nice ways to say, "I'm sorry, but I can't shake hands, God doesn't want me to touch you." Don't be a dick about it.
I also don't like it when people don't take off their gloves to shake hands. I always make a conscious effort to take my gloves off when I meet someone, even if we are in the middle of the street in New York City during the coldest days of the year. In many cultures it is considered extremely rude not to remove your gloves before shaking someone's hand, and I would have to agree with that. I mean, its such a half-assed way of going through the motions of greeting someone. It's saying, "I'll shake your hand, but I'm not going to touch you."
I feel like the Roman handshake needs to be brought back.
In case you are unaware of this fantastic way of greeting people, here's a pictorial reference.
This is such an incredibly manly way of greeting people. In fact, from here on out, this will be referred to as the "man-shake". I mean, come on, if someone initiated the man-shake with me, I would probably give a hearty laugh and shout "Verily, HUZZAH!" and then I would go have an irrationally amazing day.
Did you hear that Zsa Zsa Gabor had her leg amputated?
Someone should have given her a man-shake. She'd have kept the leg and probably gained a super power or two.