Courtesy to become a curtsy?

As flu of pandemic proportions invades our news headlines and everyday consciousness, a specific issue in etiquette has surfaced again. Does one for-go the customary greetings of handshaking, hugging or cheek kissing in order to avoid the transfer of germs?   This morning’s Vancouver Sun ran a piece quoting Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN, as being a proponent of the “el-bump” – bumping elbows in greeting.

See http://www.vancouversun.com/Health/swine+Saying+hello+time/1571814/story.html.

To many cultures our North American greetings and personal space requirements already seem distant. Will we be appearing even colder if we resort to bumping elbows or even distant curtsying in greeting? Or could we instead be deemed more courteous and thoughtful if we are seen to be protecting not just our own health but that of those we meet?  Just another example of the evolution of manners.

 In offering etiquette guidance, The Image Builders always stress the importance of making others feel comfortable – the essential essence of etiquette in any culture and any setting.  If one chooses to greet in a non-traditional way,  it is important that the reasoning be communicated in the context of the other person’s  benefit.  Whether one chooses to hug, shake, el-bump or even curtsy, let’s be sure we never go so far as to reject the ritual of greeting altogether!


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