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Home JackpineRadical Rooms JPR Reading Room The psychology behind Trump's 'clasp and yank' handshake

  • Judi Lynn (7971 posts)
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    The psychology behind Trump's 'clasp and yank' handshake

    FEBRUARY 21 2017 – 8:46PM

    The psychology behind Trump’s ‘clasp and yank’ handshake

    Geoff Beattie


    Handshakes are meant to be relatively simple affairs, at least in terms of their signalling function. “Shake hands on it,” we are told. “Shake and make up.” They have been used as a civilised greeting for at least 2500 years. But Donald Trump is in the process of redefining the handshake, transforming it into the opening salvo in a battle for supremacy.

    Handshakes date back at least as far as ancient Greece – and there are artefacts from that period featuring images of Herakles shaking hands with Athena. Glenys Davies, writing in the American Journal of Archaeology, said that this particular scene “represents the acceptance of Herakles as an equal by the gods”.



    On other artefacts we find images of Hera, the goddess of women and marriage in Greek mythology, shaking hands with Athena, the goddess of wisdom, craft and war. These handshakes are symmetrical and equal in their execution. The sort of handshake that we would recognise instantly today.

    Our common understanding is that the handshake originated as a gesture of peace, demonstrating that the hands are free and not holding a weapon. It is meant to signal co-operation, reflected in the symmetrical nature of the shape of the hands and the movement, not aggressive competition. But tell that to Trump, who uses handshakes as a weapon in his games of one-upmanship.

    daleanime, morningglory, broiles and 3 othersBiaviiansGalore, zoolook67, Herman4747 like this

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  • tularetom (2312 posts)
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    1. How can he do that with those tiny hands?

    My granddad was a short guy about 5-8 or 9.  But he had the biggest hands I’d ever seen.  And he was a master of the sneak attack handshake.  Before you knew what he was doing, he would grip your hand right at the knuckles and squeeze, preventing you from getting a grip on his hand at all.

    He didn’t pull or yank, he just squoze.  He even did it to us when we were little kids.  I don’t know what he was trying to prove and I can’t ask him because he’s been dead for 50 years.

    I went home with a waitress the way I always do  How was I to know she was with the russians, too?
  • hollys mom (907 posts)
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    2. I thought it was a sign of a bully.

    not going to achieve any relationship.

    • FanBoy (7983 posts)
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      3. that's how i'd interpret it if someone did it to me

      sure blindsided abe