Monday, July 11, 2011

Pound Foolish.

"Hey, can I interrupt for one second?" Coworker 1 approaches my desk, where I am sitting down and showing Coworker 2 something on my computer.

Coworker 1 wants to thank me for the help I gave her in setting up a hub for some space shuttle launch coverage.

"Oh sure, no problem. I hardly did anything," I said.

"No but you gave me the foundation for understanding the code and everything, which was hugely helpful," she said. "So, thank you so much."

She is about to turn and leave, but as she does so, she reaches out her hand (which also has a lace glove on it). She is loosely making a fist. I sit there and stare. I do not know this person very well, and would not have pegged her as the fist-bump type, but then she's wearing lace gloves, so she's already a game-changer here. Or maybe she's going for a "gimme five"?

I am terrible at interpreting gestures. Unless you're flipping me the bird or attempting to start a round of clapsies, there's only a 40 percent chance that I'm going to understand your meaning. High-five attempts terrify me. I can even mess up handshakes. Rather than express this in the moment -- pause, ask for clarification, offer a quizzical look -- I try to play along and inevitably err on the side of being embarrassing.

So despite the fact that I have no idea what's going on here, especially with the gloves partly obscuring her hands, I decide to be game and return what I deem to be a fist-bump. "No!" she says, shaking her hand and opening her fingers, and I realize that she actually has something in her hand that she is trying to give me. It's a souvenir from the shuttle launch.

So I have done two things: I have assaulted her with an unwanted fist-pound, and I also suggested that *I* am a fist-pound type, which I am NOT. And I did this in full view of a witness.

God that was awkward. That is going to haunt my Monday.

Update: I have been informed that this gesture is also called a dap. There are also other definitions of "dap" on the Urban Dictionary page for it that are similarly unappealing.


  1. Lindemann6:27 AM

    I love the title to this post. Also, this scenario would be more of a problem for me except that I am actually one of those fist-pounding (or dap-giving) types. This causes problems when I am giving dap to my sister, whose engagement ring is like a giant drill bit in that scenario.

  2. I think it is easier for dudes to do this -- all the more because of the ring factor, which I never considered. I could maybe be a dap-giver (dapper?) in an ironic sense. But I am just too uncool to do it for real, intentionally or not.

  3. The second fist bump is the easiest... You'll get the hang of it!

  4. I think it is easier for dudes to do this -- all the more because of the ring factor, which I never considered.


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