sorry, i can't shake your hands, sir.

So today is my first day at the new company.

As usual, new place, new tradition, new environment. Honestly, I really didn't know what to expect when I first stepped into the huge lobby (the toilets, however, still cannot beat my previous company's - because they don't have WASHLETS! Yes, the one thing I love the most about my previous company is that. The glorious washlet.) but when I saw other new faces who were with me, I was glad!

At least I wasn't alone. Though it'd be reallyy cool if some friends were in the same company with me. *cries*

We had mini orientation, briefings, plant tour. It was hugeee! Compared to the last one, the plant has doors that could go on forever - the first thing I noticed was that. They have too many doors. Also in-plant clinic, clean surau (yay!), clean pathway. As for the toilet, I think I can't be fair because the last company has the coolest toilet in this country, I can actually swear with it.

When I first met the department members; the engineers, senior engineers and senior technicians, I was taken aback. Almost all of them, even Malays, actually reached out to shake hands with me.

I was stunned. And without even knowing it, my hands were already raised and my mouth already went "SORRY!". And a self-conscious laugh.

At some point, I was really embarrassed. I felt guilty for doing that, but at the corner of my mind - they should've known RIGHT?

Truthfully, I have a problem with people hygiene. I feel weird shaking hands with strangers because of that (and also because of the non-mahram issue) especially guys, because let's face it, girls actually take care of their hands better than guys. You can tell his/her hygiene by looking at their nails. That's why guys with long nails is a major turn-off for me.

But, putting the hygiene thing aside, there's also this thing called modesty and being professional. I've never had this problem after today, I thought about this incident a lot. I can never get used to shaking hands with guys, but I was thinking, if he was much older than me (someone old enough to be my father/grandfather) then it should alright, as a sign of respect. Right?

I also asked my friends on Twitter about the issue - and as usual, they never disappoint. They gave me really good info like, Dr Harun Din says that if you have to save face in front of people then it's alright. Also, I came across this really useful article at Suhaib Webb's website - and something that he wrote really gave light :

"Firstly, shaking hands between males and females who are not mahrams is only permissible when there is no desire or fear of fitnah. But if there is fear of fitnah, desire, or enjoyment, then handshaking is no doubt haram (unlawful). In contrast, if either of these two conditions (that there is no desire or fear of fitnah) is lacking between a male and any of his female mahrams, such as his aunt or foster sister or the like, then handshaking will be haram (although it is originally permissible).
Secondly, handshaking between males and females who are not mahrams should be restricted to necessary situations such as between relatives or those whose relationships are established by marriage. It is preferable not to expand the field of permissibility in order to block the means to evil and to be far away from doubt and to take the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as a model when there is no proof that he shook hands with a non-mahram woman. Also, it is preferable for the pious Muslim, male or female, not to stretch out his/her hand to shake the hand of anyone of the opposite sex who is not mahram. But if he/she is put in a situation that someone stretches out his/her hand to shake hands with him/her, then he/she can do that. "

(source : here)

So there. You can actually shake hands with the non-mahram, under certain circumstances.

I'm still processing this, can't believe it's quite hard to do..I'm not a pro at preaching about religious, really, it's just that it's so hard to change when you've trained yourself about things you can/cannot do, at this age. Especially when it comes to sensitive issue like this.

A friend suggested to bring gloves to work, or use the hijab to cover hands when shaking hands with non-mahram. I shall bring my MJ inspired sequinned gloves to work tomorrow.

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my brain dump.