The latest fad of Washington Society, one brought from Europe, is to discover character by the clasping of hands. The Washington Post thus describes the fad:
Just clasp your hands quickly. Don’t stop to do it with intent. Clasp them. How did you do it?
If you are a woman, naturally you clasped them with the left thumb outside the right, and the fingers as interlaced were nearer you than the right one; that is, beginning with the digit nearest you, thumbs and fingers would be arranged in this order: left thumb, right thumb, left this order: left thumb, right thumb, left forefinger, middle right forefinger, middle left finger, middle right finger, third left finger, third right finger, little left finger, little right finger.
If you are the man who absolutely dominates a woman, then the order was precisely reversed. Where the order of thumbs and fingers read left, in describing the order of the masculine fingers it would be right.
If the man should be classed under the popular term of “henpecked,” he will clasp his hands just as the woman does, with the left thumb nearest him and the fingers interlaced in the same order.
No explanation comes with the simple little test. Only it is said that in a married couple the one who, in clasping hands and interlacing fingers, brings the right thumb nearest the body, with the right fingers correspondingly placed in relation to the left fingers, will be the dominant member of that couple.
The Household, June, 1896