Handshakes and Friends

So our conversation on Thursday got me thinking about an episode in Friends.  It’s called The One with Rachel’s Inadvertent Kiss, and has Rachel basically going to a job interview to meet her potential boss.  In the clip shown below, Phoebe and Rachel work on the interview skills, and start out with the handshake.  Phoebe pronounces Rachel’s handshake as a good one, and Rachel can go off to the interview feeling confident.  However, everything falls apart rather quickly.

I thought it was fascinating to contrast this little bit with what we saw in class.  The guy, the boss, did step towards Rachel, but it was Rachel herself who gave him the kiss.  I thought this might mean that the habit is so ingrained in society that she couldn’t help her own motions at going towards him and kissing his cheek, much like I can’t help it when I go back home and people lean in towards me.  Rachel herself committed the act, and not her boss, and it was he who was ‘violated’ in a sense, as she broached on his personal space.  The next few bits are equally as amusing.  Rachel, now afraid that she’s led her boss on, reacts violently while he tries to point out that she has ink on her lip, and she stomps out angrily.  Upon realizing her mistake, she returns to basically beg for the job.  At the end of that interview, she asks if she can hug her new boss.

It was surprising to me that Rachel, who wants to be seen as a strong figure in the work force, and one to be contended with, should do such things as kiss her boss on the cheek or want to hug him.  I guess this shows a lot about what women have to learn still, or the difference of greetings that must be taught to women.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share that little bit, because I was strongly reminded of it in class.


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