Business class: Will fist bumps replace handshakes?

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I ran across an interesting fist-bump article this morning on USAToday.com, and since Lynn is traveling abroad with Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, I'm taking the liberty of posting it.

The Obamas have recently received a lot of media attention for their fist bumping. I, too, have used the fist bump with teammates, friends, my boyfriend and, more recently, my boss.

Interestingly enough, USA Today is reporting that the fist bump has made its way into the business realm. Apparently some young men are replacing the traditional handshake for the more informal gesture, especially in social settings with business associates.

I'm young, but I'm not a man and I didn't use the fist-bump outside of the office. I've used it (many times!) in my boss' office after we've solved nerdy Web issues....

I can't say I used it in place of a handshake -- I used it instead of a high five. (You could argue that high fives don't belong in business settings either, but I digress.)

Last month, Sen. Obama and his wife, Michelle, fist-bumped at a campaign speech in Minnesota. When Michelle Obama co-hosted ABC's "The View" in June, she greeted Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd with a fist bump. And The New Yorker used the fist bump as part of a controversial drawing of the Obamas that was published on its July 21 cover.

According to the USA Today story, the Obamas were not the first fist-bumpers. "It's been around for years among athletes and is used by Howie Mandel, host of TV program 'Deal or No Deal', who says he fears germs."

The article also states that there's a gender gap:

Tom Moore, the 62-year-old CEO of Cord Blood Registry in San Bruno, Calif., which stores cord blood stem cells from 220,000 newborns for potential medical use down the road, says he began seeing fist bumps at his company about two years ago.

"A female employee considered it a male-dominating interaction, so ... people were made aware that it might be inappropriate," Moore says.

Is fist-bumping a fad or is it here to stay? And can women get away with it too?

2 Comments

What is a first bump anyhow?

OF COURSE NOT!
THAT'S BETWEEN THE OBAMA FAMILY!
BARACK OBAMA IS A VERY RESPECTFUL AND CORDIAL
TO ALL!
DON'T TAKE THE FIST BUMP THING TO ANOTHER LEVEL,
IT'S AN OBAMA THING, AND SOME PEOPLE JUST DON'T
UNDERSTAND!
THE BIG FIST BUMP WILL COME IN NOVEMBER!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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