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31st May 2017

An unnecessarily in-depth look at Theresa May’s bizarre handshake techniques

Theresa May's handshake game is bizarre. This is the proof

Ciara Knight

Theresa May shakes hands weirdly.

No politics here, just an unnecessarily pedantic look at how a sixty year old woman engages in handshakes. It’s weird.

I’ve compiled footage of the Prime Minister involved in numerous handshake situations that I will now analyse to the brink of insanity all in the name of proving a point.

Strap yourself in, it’s about it get uncomfortable.

Theresa May vs Vladimir Putin

Before we get into the heavy stuff here, we need to talk about the lady in the striped suit putting Theresa’s handbag underneath her chair. Couldn’t Theresa have done so herself? Or perhaps foregone the bag on this important occasion? Does it even contain rudimentary handbag items? Perhaps it’s filled with snacks, such as Ritz crackers, Skittles and the financial independence of Britain.

This delightfully awkward encounter is particularly spicy because it seems as though Theresa has sat down prematurely in a bid to avoid shaking Vladimir Putin’s hand. You can tell he mutters something to her, which I can verify is ‘Get the fuck up and shake my fucking hand you stupid bint’, because I am a legally certified lip reader. At this point, Theresa abruptly jumps out of her seat to play along with the facade.

The handshake itself is painful. There’s approximately two bounces, a small aftershock and then a stiff yet intimate clasp. Sure, they’re facilitating the photographers, but shutter speeds are more advanced than they used to be, we’re a far cry from smudged visuals due to movement. We need to ask why. Why the intimate clasp for four seconds? Why does Putin retain his handshake hand formation for a moment after the handshake itself takes place? Politics. That’s why.


Theresa May vs Donald Trump

This is so much more satisfying watching in awkward gif silence. I implore you to watch it four times before reading any further.

The first few seconds of rigid awkwardness before the handshake feels like a lifetime, with the weight of George Washington’s icy stare looking deep into the pit of all our souls combined. Trump pulls an uncomfortable grimace right before Theresa says ‘I didn’t fly six thousand miles for you to refuse my handshake you repugnant oaf’ (see lip reading qualifications above), at which point the Donald politely obliges.

Theresa instigates proceedings with her left hand, visibly confused by Trump’s tiny, tiny paws. Their hands bounce furiously in unison, all controlled by Trump because this is his damn office complete with a poorly concealed secret door. Theresa nods her head far too enthusiastically to counteract her deep hatred for humanity and perseveres until the interaction comes to a natural conclusion. She can’t get that damn hand back to her side quick enough in the end, making her, for one night only, the most relatable person on earth.

Theresa May vs Angela Merkel

We’re all business in this encounter, as Theresa is landed face to face with *gasps* another lady.

She rushes herself over to Angela with the importance of a thousand nightclub bouncers, only to be told ‘The only thing strong and stable about the UK is that time Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson visited Torquay on holidays’. Visibly shaken by such a sick burn, Theresa halts the handshake bounce to a standstill, only to be yet again bodied by Angela, proving that she once again has the upper hand in this situation (and every other one) by adding another handshake bounce to the equation.

Theresa gives Angela her trademark series of aggressive nods, followed by a quick jibe ‘At least my surname doesn’t rhyme with circle’, which is easily the shittest comeback the world has seen since Celebrity Deathmatch was on telly.

In total, the handshake lasts four and a half deeply uncomfortable seconds, during which they exchange lukewarm words. The biggest crime here is their lack of photographable angles they refuse to offer up for the paparazzi.

Theresa May vs Uhuru Kenyatta

The President of Kenya is bestowed the highest honour of the United Kingdom by having the Prime Minister walk a handful of steps down the front drive to greet him.

Don’t let the hijinks fool you, this trip is strictly business, as Theresa’s march, posture and hand movements prove. She takes lengthy and powerful strides, resisting Uhuru’s premature extension of his arm in anticipation of a handshake. She stood her ground and made him her bitch, respectfully.

The handshake itself is quite a spectacle, as their hands bounce approximately four times in a very controlled manner, accompanied by a nod from Uhuru and Theresa pointing the direction of her house, which doesn’t particularly need pointing out since there’s a big red carpet and policeman standing outside the very obvious door.

Christ knows why, but I wanted to see a fist bump, or at the very least, a cordial touch of the upper arm. They’re standing so far apart, it’s as if they’re lovers separated on parting boats headed to pastures new in the 1840s. Get in there, go for a kiss on the cheek! Have a hug! Kiss him on the head! Relinquish British Rule! DO SOMETHING FUN.

Theresa May vs Nicola Sturgeon

This one takes the title of ‘Most Awkward Theresa May Handshake We’re Ever Going To See’. Everything about the situation screams discomfort.

Having just walked up three steps like a fucking peasant, you can tell that Theresa is determined to gain back some control of the situation. She quickly notices that she’s taller than Nicola, so hones in on that by unnecessarily slouching as she greets her and bending her neck further than is remotely necessary. Rightfully, Nicola asks her if she’s ‘wearing red shoes because that’s the colour of the gates of hell?’, which is a fair question.

If you pay close attention as the camera zooms in, you’ll notice Nicola saying ‘I’ll go first, I’m a twat’, that’s because her and Theresa’s meeting took place on Opposite Day. Theresa reportedly said ‘Yes and I am a very decent human being’. Two jokers, the pair of them. Happy Opposite Day to you and yours!

Their handshake lasts eight and a half seconds. Eight. And. A. Half. Seconds. That’s longer than it takes to microwave scrambled eggs in some countries. To relieve the awkwardness, Nicola keeps their hands bouncing as she’s learned it’s a successful calming measure during her time as an air steward. Nicola’s squeezing Theresa’s hand extremely tightly, which I for one welcome and encourage. Squeeze your Prime Minister today!

Theresa May vs Narendra Modi

Two worlds collide as the Prime Minister of India meets the Prime Minister of Britain in what is sure to be internationally deemed ‘a very uncomfortable experience for all involved’.

Narendra’s smiles are quickly ushered conveniently in front of two flags representing both of the Ministers’ great nations. Theresa’s once again all business as she lands her mark perfectly, leaving Narendra slightly baffled as to why they haven’t spoken a word to each other by this point.

The handshake to end all handshakes has a quirky start, with the pair catching hands before it even begins. There’s a HTT (hand touching timeframe) clocking in at 12 seconds in this particular setting, a second for every angry man in that old movie, presumably. It’s a revolutionary handshake we’re watching here, one that stops and starts SEVEN times. If that handshake stopped and started once more, they both would’ve been entitled to a free coffee at their nearest Pret.

Their rigid smiles speak a thousand words, all of them ‘awkward’. Theresa gives her signature aggressive nod twice towards the end, signalling that she has successfully zapped Narendra’s soul through his hand in a Dementor-esque manner and will remain strong and stable for another 4-6 hours (if kept at room temperature) as a result.