Awkward comedy is the new slapstick. Gone are the days of laugh tracks, canned humor, (good) three camera sitcoms and everything going back to normal at the end of the episode. Parents are watching "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Grandparents are watching "The Office." Everywhere you turn, people are trying to make you feel uncomfortable. Why shouldn't they? In most cases, it's pretty much f*cking hilarious.
I try to be awkward as often as I can. When I smell the stale stench of a room full of self-loathing, ulterior motives and false pretenses, I spring into action. Awkward handshakes are my area of expertise. Here are some of my favorite moves, applicable (with often hilarious results) whether it's your best friend or someone you are meeting for the first time.
The Premature Negotiator- When approaching the introduction, get your Van Damme on, this one requires focus. You have to grab early, so as to only handshake the fingertips. A fraction of a second early or late, and you've either missed and made a fool of yourself, or you just shook a hand that you never intended to. Get the Purell, it's gonna be a long night.
The Torpedo- If done correctly, the torpedo yields extended-periods-of-silence awkwardness.Go in for the handshake full speed, and at the last possible second, tuck your thumb in front of your pointer finger. The aerodynamics increase velocity as your hand will slide through his open hand, leaving him not sure if he should continue squeezing your upper forearm or rip his hand away and seek therapy.
The Cold Hand Luke- Simple, yet effective. A slight twist on the classic dead fish tactic, advance as normal and commence the handshake, except upon dermal contact let your hand go completely limp. The key to this one is to maintain eye contact throughout the entire exchange, even a few moments after your hand is released. The title is a nod to Paul Newman, who you should try to imitate as you gaze into the unsusepcting eyes of an increasingly uncomfortable person.
Bonus Move/Fatality: Illustrator's note: "This is a tried and true flirtation method when used on the opposite sex. Has worked for me at these locations: Concert, Party, Grocery Store. ."
The Low Pressure Front- This move is only for those experienced in the art of awkward. The low pressure front does not require any formal introduction. Simply pick a target (preferably the opposite sex), sidle up to them, and put the tip of your foot on their shoe, applying slight pressure. Oftentimes, the target is involved in a conversation or otherwise occupied, and they do not acknowledge your foot right away. Slowly increase pressure until you are confronted, wait a little while, and repeat. As indicated by our illustrator, if your target is fluent in awkward, you might get lucky. Choose wisely.
That is all, carry on. Make me proud.