the obligatory male handshake

I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon with many of male students. Many of them like to shake my hand after the conference, which I’m okay with, but I’m a bit surprised by. I don’t remember ever shaking a teacher’s hand when I was an undergrad. I wonder if they shake hands with their other teachers? I wonder if it has to do with masculinity and asserting their masculinity (something I had little desire to do as a student and even less desire to do now). I wonder if it’s because of the slight strangeness with conferencing with a teacher, since I imagine few teachers across the university actually conference with students, and that the handshake is a solid way to end the conference, to act as a punctuation mark in a way. I wonder if it’s all of the above.

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8 Responses to the obligatory male handshake

  1. Dennis says:

    I find that strange, as I cannot remember a single instance of shaking someone’s hand at the end of a conference or an office visit. Upon meeting someone, perhaps, but if it was office hours not necessarily even then.

    I’m really curious as to the experiences of others.

  2. Claire says:

    None of my students have ever even looked like they might shake my hand, but then again, I’m a woman.

  3. John says:

    I’ve had a number of male students shake my hand after a conference. I haven’t thought about it much, but there are often a number of factors at play ranging from their upbringing (it’s a method of saying thank you or being polite) to physical proximity (are they close enough to easily shake hands when they leave) and whether or not I stand up when they leave.

  4. Sybil says:

    Just finished reading your “The Effects of Blogging Knowledge”… nicely done.

    I, too, find the endings to my conferences odd. I never know what to say & so usually, I copy my students’ phrases of “later,” or, “see ya next time,” or, my favorite, “take it easy.” Conferences are a bit awkward, yet I do like getting to know them one-on-one. I’ll deal with the awkwardness for that. 🙂

    As a sidenote, I can’t find your “Toward Polyphonic Collage & Mulitvocal Composition” piece, and I’d like to read it. I’m into Multi-vocal/Multi-modal/Multi-genre assignments

  5. M-H says:

    I’ve noticed that young men around my campus (Sydney Uni in Australia) will sometimes shake hands when they meet – or sometimes kind of reach for each others’ hands as if to shake, but rather kind of grab briefly then let go. Recently I had some physio in a clinic which had a contract with a rugby league club. The young men coming in for treatment would all greet each other with this hand grab thing whenever they arrived – they’d walk round the beds and greet each of their club-mates like this. I certainly don’t remember noticing this in the past. It appears to be a kind of bonding ritual.

    I don’t know what it means either, other than I spend too much time sitting and people-watching. 🙂

  6. sara jameson says:

    I get lots of handshakes at the end of conferences and office meetings, mostly from male students but sometimes from female students too. I wonder if this might be related to their major – business majors would learn to shake hands? I am used to handshakes anyway, having grown up in an older generation, Washington DC, with women also shaking hands far more often than the hugs we get now. I used to always offer my hand for a shake out here but that is sometimes seen askance or unusual.

  7. stephanie says:

    This semester, for the first time, I’ve noticed several of my male students reaching out to shake my hand after our conferences. i was suprised, at first, but I like it, actually. I feel it’s their way of thanking me for my time, saying they got something from our meeting.

  8. stephanie says:

    …and hi, Sara, we met at the conference in La Grande last month. How are you?

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