It’s simply a part of life: sometimes, when you emerge from the depths of the Internet to refill your Star Trek mug with Stumptown coffee, you accidentally encounter a real live girl. You know, that genre of human being that has boobs and always keeps a copy of Lean In on her desk. Your heart might skip a few beats as you’re forced to pass by her, dreading having to interact with someone outside of your favorite IRC channel. A wave of relief hits you as she keeps her eyes glued to the floor and doesn’t acknowledge you: you’re safe. For now.
Luckily, if you are a grown ass man and women still terrify you, there is a community you can turn to voice your concerns. Hacker News, which is like Reddit but somehow worse, has your back. In a thread called Hugs vs. Handshakes, HN commenters swarmed to discuss a post by Contently CCO Shane Snow about whether or not to hug or shake the hand of ladies in the workplace.
Mr. Snow, a “married dude,” is still unsure how to act around lady people:
But with females, I feel like I’m trapped between two walls of a deep-space garbage compactor. On the first meeting, we shake hands. Easy. But the next time we cross paths? Is a handshake now too formal (especially if we got along well in the first meeting)? Will a hug be awkward? What if the answer to both is “yes”?!
Hacker News commenters can totally relate. The problem with shaking hands, of course, is that you might fracture our brittle bones with your manly monster shake. But the problem with hugging is that you might accidentally touch our delicate lady areas. What’s a dude to do?
One commenter wants you to define hugs:
“Are the hugs being discussed in this thread actual hugs? Or going in close as though to kiss on the cheek, but not actually touching cheeks? Or more like the way male athletes embrace each other?”
Another can barely contain his longing:
“My general rule of thumb is – if I’m comfortable with the person and she’s a woman, it’s a hug. If I’m not comfortable, it’s a handshake and a small inner sigh at the inadequacy of it.”
Yet another thinks you should get more creative:
What’s wrong with just saying “hi”? Or a friendly fist-bump if you want to do something more fun?
Such a tough decision! To treat women like human beings or to run away terrified from them because they might give you cooties? You might want to refer to this WikiHow on How to Hug a Girl, just to be safe. Good luck out there.