Yesterday I went to my health club for a massage, and I got there a bit early to shower and take a sauna. In the steam room, I started up a conversation with a woman who, it turned out, was a career counselor with whom I shared a lot of the same interests, professional and intellectual. We agreed to get together in a more formal and less humid venue sometime. I told her my name and “Miss Conduct” and how to reach me through the Globe, and as I always do after finishing up a friendly and interesting schmooze, automatically stuck out my hand and shook hers.
Now, I am not going to go into the lurid details of my past, but I am a twice-married woman, and suffice to say I have done many things with naked people, but I do not think I have ever shaken the hand of one. It was surprisingly discombobulating.
Although, it occurs to me now, if it struck the other woman as strange at all, it probably seemed much more strange to her. Your first naked handshake with a stranger is one thing; your first naked handshake with a stranger who is an etiquette columnist is probably another thing entirely.
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