Besides being the fodder for every type of malignancy a baby boomer can scapegoat them for, it seems that we’ve been blinded by too many “Old Man Yells at Cloud” GIFs to see the true millennial conspiracy at play here: the plot to ruin handshakes for everyone.
Yes, millennials! Those goddamn youthy or youthy-adjacent millennials, with their porcelain phalanges and soft palms redolent of the finest noblesse! These millennials, with their callous-less, iPhone screen-scrolling fingertips and carpal tunnel syndrome! (Okay, me with my carpal tunnel syndrome.) Alack, these millennials and their fish-handshake agenda! A plague o’ your house, Generation Y!
A recent study published by the Journal of Hand Therapy reported that the grip strength for male participants tested between the ages of 24 and 34 had significantly weakened when compared to data from 1985. (It should also be noted that women who volunteered for the study showed a much less drastic difference in grip strength in correlation to data sets from roughly 30 years ago.)
To measure the strength of their grip, researchers used a hand dynamometer—a handle shaped like a joystick—which study participants clenched to articulate their brawn into by-the-pound calculations.
Rather than concluding that millennials displayed a lack of strength or dexterity, however, the scientists who led the study argue that the litmus test of what constitutes these norms should be re-calibrated—and that the observed changes probably have to do with advances in technology, which in turn leads to less exposure to manual labor than in previous generations.
“Work patterns have changed dramatically since 1985, when the first norms were established,” said Elizabeth Fain, a professor from Winston-Salem State University who co-authored the paper with her colleague Cara Weatherford, in an interview with NPR. “As a society, we’re no longer agricultural or manufacturing...what we’re doing more now is technology-related, especially for millennials.”
A positive (?) takeaway: despite an overall shift in grasping power, the study showed an uptick in thumb strength. (Take that for what you will.)
So to wit: by default, it looks like ladies will be the sole purveyors of the integrity of the handshake—and here’s to hoping Donald Trump and his oiled baby pierogi hands have nothing to say on the matter.
Image via AP.