The fist bump conundrum is sweeping the globe. From the creation of the fist bump to present times. Many people are still confused and unsure of proper fist bump etiquette. What or rather when is the suitable time for a wicked fist bump? How does one react when one person wants to bump, and you want to shake, or hive-five?
The “First Bump”
Lets start with the origin of the fist bump, someone had to start the madness, right? The fist bump, also referred to The Pound, Knuckle Blaster, Bro Fist, Fo’ Knuckles, or a Knuckle touch, is a gesture when two participants form closed fists and lightly touch knuckles, (that really makes it sound Bad Ass doesn’t it?) The known first fist bump on record is a little “shaky”. According to some it can be traced back to the 1800s as the “Boxers first hand shake”. There is also a cited instance where NBA player Fred Carter of the Baltimore Bullets in the 1970s preformed a fist bump with another player. Despite all the controversy around the first fist, I like to believe the true origins came from the 1970s Hanna-Barrera cartoon classic “Super Friends” where the superheros would fist bump and say in unison “Wonder Twin Powers Activate!”
However the fist bump started one thing is for certain, it is here to stay.
The collision of the bump vs. shake
You know that awkward moment, when you are going in for the bump and the other guy assumes the high five position. This soon can get out of “hand” (pun totally intended) in which a few scenarios are likely. One development that is very likely to take place is the legendary awkward fist conversion confusion. This is when both partakers chose to convert, and the game continues until someone recognizes the situation and verbally points out the unpleasant predicament or goes with it, and a flump occurs. Another possible outcome could be running into “that guy” you know the one who senses the impending fist bump confusion on the horizon. He improvises, and what you end up with is some one armed shoulder hug, with a gentle fist bump to the spine type thingy. No one is entirely sure what just happened, and after an interaction like that you are a little nervous for the next time the two of you intermingle. Last but not at all least is the notorious stand off, where neither party wants to convert. this will always end in a flump or worse, an end of all friendly gestures with the individual, until dominance is re-established. This is usually accomplished thru the ritual of swapping sports knowledge until one of the participants backs down. In this heated discussion a mediator is usually present. Please note this situation will not apply to girls.
1. Bumping is acceptable, at all sporting events sans NASCAR.
2. Bumping is not allowed when meeting a person for the first time, nor is it appropriate for business transactions, (please note above photo of awkwardness) a traditional hand shake is recommended.
3. Bumping is NEVER proper at a funeral or in the hospital, I really can’t think of any scenario where a high five would be appropriate here either. It is highly suggested you stick with the shake.
4. When wearing a suit or business attire, a fist bump is only acceptable when drunk, or when parts of your suit or clothing is tied around parts of your body, most commonly your head.
5. When inebriated fist bumps are always preferred to any other greeting. Mostly because high-fives require hand eye coordination that may not be available to you at that time.
Even knowing and applying the rules of fist bumping it is still inevitable that you will run into that unsavory situation when you have to make a conversion decision. Might I suggest you hold strong to the bump, for one it is much easier to convert an open hand to a fist, (perhaps it just feels like that because you are the one with the fist and therefore no conversion is required on your behalf). By backing down and converting you risk appearing passive, allowing the other person to dictate the greeting. If you change course and convert to the open palm, you risk the other person converting to the fist, and thus the confusion begins anew. Of course this is all mute if you are the one with the open hand. So in conclusion whatever gesture you deem appropriate, hold strong fist or open hand. Show the other person who can greet like a boss. Don’t back down, it is you who decides your friendly gesture fate, and will not be pushed around. Just make sure you’re a girl, or you know more than your buddy about sports.