Now that the traditional handshake is on hold and the elbow bump is in (except for the most aggressively ignorant buffoons), here's how we suggest you do it:
Make it firm. — We're not talking the force of an NFL forearm bash or that of roided-up '90s MLB power hitters, but pressure should be applied. A mere elbow tap is the handshake equivalent of a wet dishrag.
Eyes. Always the eyes. — Once your elbows have embraced, look the other person directly in the eye. If he reciprocates, you know you've found a man you can do business with. If not, he's probably a crook.
Speculation has been running high about why Obama does, and the leading theory — that he does it to protect the ring from would-be thieves — makes no sense at all. First, he shakes hands with his right hand, not his left. Second, there's a reason you've heard of "pickpockets" but not "pickfingers" — it's much easier to lift a ring from the former rather than the latter.
But the notion that Obama has big plans for his First 100 Days out of office doesn't wash either. Even armed with those Trumpian ties and some Tic Tacs®, we just don't see him stepping out on Michelle any time soon. Which, as faithful readers have already no doubt deduced, leaves only one plausible explanation: The lame duck leader of the free world is finally adopting at least one Magnificent Bastard principle.
Just look at this photo. If you didn't know better, you'd think John McEnroe just lost the 1984 Wimbledon final. But he crushed Conners in straight sets, 1-1-2.
The handshake is one thing any MB always does right. Never eye avert like McEnroe is inexplicably doing here. When you shake another man's hand — especially one you made look like a fool on Centre in the Final — you look him straight in the eye.
Well, we looked it up, and, no, there's no such penalty as "Unnecessary Toolbaggery." But if there were, Ford Field would have been adorned with more flags than a Tea Party rally at the end of Lions-Niners game on Sunday.
No doubt you've seen the replay already — after the resurrected 49ers handed the Lions their first defeat of the season, Coach Jim Harbaugh, pulled his shirt up to show (a) he wasn't packing any heat and (b) he has been packing on the pounds. That was good for Flag 1. Then, he tried to execute a chest-bump with one of his players. This alone would have been good for Flag 2, but he compounded the toolbaggery by failing to break contact with the ground — that's Flag 3 — and failing to make contact on the chest-bump — that's Flag 4.
Then, instead of giving Lions coach Jim Schwartz a traditional post-game handshake — which requires coming to a complete halt, looking one's opponent in the eye, and giving him a solemn, almost funereal shake — he treated Schwartz like a fan standing between him and the post-game buffet and simply gave him a rolling shake and a hearty back slap. That was Flag 5.
At that point, Schwartz took over, chasing down Harbaugh and staring him down without actually looking at him — Flag 6 (pictured). Then, when some space opens up between him and Harbaugh and he no longer has a real shot at him, he gets really angry and starts trying to go at him again, except that somehow he cannot make the proper turn upfield and just keeps heading for the locker room, as if he were wearing bowling shoes instead of cleats. Do we have any flags left? If we do, that gets one too.
If we ever get around to writing The Magnificent Bastard Guide to Life, one of our foundational pieces of advice will read something like this:
It's easiest to take the high road when you're winning, so always take the high road when you're winning. That way, when you're faced with taking the high road in more challenging scenarios — and you should always take the high road — you'll have some experience to fall back on.
Surely, Steve Williams, Tiger Woods' caddie for 13 years and 13 major championships, could have used this advice on Sunday. After his new boss, 31-year-old Aussie Adam Scott, won at Firestone this weekend, Williams had this to say to CBS's David Feherty: "I've been caddying for 33 years and that's the best week of my life ... and I'm not joking ... honestly that's the best week of my life; I've caddied for 33 years, 145 wins now, and that's the best win I've ever had."
Now, it may be that Tiger Woods is such an awful person to work for that what Williams said was true: Winning the Bridgestone Invitational was actually better than winning the 2005 Masters (who can forget the chip-in on 16?), or the 2008 U.S. Open (possibly Woods' last major). But why shift attention away from your new boss on his big day, just to send out a subtle fuck-you to your old boss? Especially if it truly is the best week of your life? If you still have room for petty grievances in the best week of your life, then it's not the best week of your life.
You know the sort of conspicuous consumption that involves dining on tiny $95 portions of Il St. Canut suckling pig with hedgehog mushrooms and celery root? We're all for it. But when you devour that suckling pig like a barnyard hog snorting up a pile of grain, that's the sort of conspicuous consumption that's a little too conspicuous. If you're not a celebrity and everyone in the restaurant's still staring at you when you eat, you are probably following our handy little guide a little too rigorously. We present: Top 7 Ways to Eat Like a Total Toolbag.
A: We're pretty sure Glenn O'Brien -- GQ's Style Guy -- is using "ow" for comedic effect. Either that or he's become exceedingly brittle in his old age. Or Conde Nast's health care coverage has a high co-pay.
Anyhow, we recommend a firmer handshake than endorsed by GQ -- "grip lightly, the way you'd pick up a baby" -- for both men and women. What sets a handshake apart has less to do with grip pressure than with one's eyes. Once you've embraced the other fella's hand, look him straight in the eye. If he reciprocates, you know you've found a man you can do business with. If not, he's probably a crook.
Q: Is "dressy casual" a girlie thing? I'm having a film premiere and want to put something on the invitation to indicate some level of expectation for the guests. It's not a formal event, but I don't want people showing up in work jeans and Uggs. --Sam
A: Sam, you're not going to like our answer but we're strongly opposed to any invitation with sartorial guidelines that don't include both the words "black" and "tie," especially something as oxymoronic as "dressy casual." (To our ear, "dressy casual" is a dangerous invitation to popped collars and banana-colored capri pants -- not to mention coral sneakers and mom's leggings -- and should be avoided at all costs.)
MBs don't concern themselves with what their guests wear, rather, important things within their control, like whether or not they ordered enough booze. We'll be looking for our invite, and we like Dewar's.
Q: Etiquette question: I've been invited to the wedding and bachelor party of a friend from college. I can't make the wedding (another, better friend is getting married a week later. I can only afford one cross country flight.) Is it poor taste to attend just the (local) bachelor party? Also: I've only received a "Save the Date" from the bride. Should I contact them now or wait for the invitation and the RSVP? --Mike
A: Mike, this is a sticky situation, but we've got a solution:
Option A: Telling the truth. Pleading poverty is very un-MB, so don't do it.
Option B: Not attending. You'll have to come up with another Emily Post-sounding excuse not to attend the bachelor party. Which leaves the only logical choice:
Option C: Get disinvited from the wedding. Have a wicked good time at the bachelor party, take a bunch of pictures and post them Facebook. Then "accidentally" unblock them. Oops! It was an honest mistake! Plus it takes care of that wedding "Save the Date" / RSVP situation.