#974 High tens

Booming double palm-on-palm smack

High fives are good. High tens are great.

Picture it — jaw dropping in slow-motion silence, eyebrows furrowing in mock-angry rage, head slowly wagging side to side, both hands lifting high up top, waiting a brief moment for your friend to answer your call and deliver a booming double palm-on-palm SMACK.

Now that’s a beautiful picture. That’s the happy dial turned to 10. That’s a good day giving birth to a great one. That’s a photo from Appendix A of The Study of The Best Things Ever. Lady, I don’t know who you are, where you live, or what you’re all about. But I know that you gotta love that beautifully loud high ten and its satisfying twenty-finger crack. It’s just explosive.

Like I said, the high five is good, too. But really, almost anyone can deliver a high five. It’s just one hand! Once you start tenning, the five starts to look wrong, incomplete, and unfinished. It becomes a half, a partial, a sort of, like a flop with no flip, yang with no yin, pong with no ping, or a unicycle.

But the high ten! Sugar, let’s talk about that high ten. Now that’s the celebratory hand-on-hand gesture for you and me. See, the high ten takes guts for two big reasons:

  1. First off, higher chance of looking stupid: You throw a high five up there and no one answers it, no problem. You just put your hand nonchalantly back in your pocket, scratch your head, or swipe it through the side of your hair, Fonzie-style. No one notices you covered it up and all is well. But you throw a high ten up there and you get left hanging? Well now you just look foolish — like you’re trying to get the wave started at your kid’s T-ball game or just airing out your pits.
  2. Also, there’s more coordination required: Think about it, during a high five all eyes are on that one hand. With four eyes focused on one slap, there’s not too much that can go wrong. Yes, there’s the awkward pinky-on-pinky slap, but those really don’t happen too much. Now, the high ten’s a different animal. This time each person has to focus on two slaps. Time them right. Aim them precisely. Smack them hard. You can’t just high ten perfectly the first time. It is very difficult and requires a lot of practice.

However, the good news is that once you work up the nerve to pull off the high ten, it can be a very rewarding slap. So give it a shot. Test it out. See what it’s all about. And hey, maybe even try laying a thundering double palm-on-palm SMACK on one of your closest friends…today! Then maybe go out for beers or something. Wings too, if no one’s eaten.


Up high


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74 responses to “#974 High tens

  1. When I was a child my best friend Martin and I would make fun of the jocks that did that silly high five crap. We’d both go up to high five each other, then completely miss and laugh like Louis from Revenge of the Nerds. It was hilarious to a ten year old. Somewhere along the path to adulthood though, I forgot about it.

    Martin and I are still friends, over 20 years later. In fact, he was my Best Man on June 8th when I married the wife. After we said our vows and walked up the aisle, Martin was waiting for me at the door. I saw a familiar glint in his eye as he went up for an exaggerated high five, and my entire childhood came back to me in that instant. We missed, completely, and laughed. Only now Louis has been replaced by Peter Griffin.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.

  2. Chela

    You know, I heard somewhere that if you stare at the person’s elbow while you’re doing a high five, you’ll never miss their hand. Some wholly (un)scientific studies conducted by my friends and I have proved this to be true. No data for high tens, though.

    • That guy

      This theory applies to achieving the loudest high fives. Same principle as playing sports with bats/racquets, you plant for the follow through, as you naturally prepare for impact by slowing down. If you anticipate the impact being further on, you naturally hit your target harder, hence a massive SLAP.
      Like a boss

    • Maryssa

      The whole elbow thing doesn’t work. My friend and I miss everytime when we do that, but never when we don’t.

  3. I wait anxiously now for the next awesome thing just so you know.

    I believe the high 10 was the precursor to the hip modern chest bump. Stupid people who couldn’t connect on a high 10 would just slam together awkwardly which morphed into the famed sternum y sternum.

  4. Dutt

    Last night I discovered how awesome high tenning is. I used to do it in Trumble after a completed pass or touchdown, but now i do it after every beer i drink. My friend Jurgen likes to do it and he’s european, so i guess europeans like high tenning as well. thats called deductive reasoning to those who are lame and dont high ten.

  5. I’ve never managed to hit a high-ten yet. The most I ever got was a high-flying seven, but that co-ordination thing buggers me up every time. I can get one hand to connect, sure, and the jolts of awesome begin to connect – but the other hand almost always misses. I can only hope that one day, that second hand connects, and the awesome times continue.

    That day will be a good day.

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  8. high 10

    the only thing that can top this is the jump high ten! I’ve only had opportunities that merit this awesomeness a few times in my life. my best friend losing his virginity to a total babe was one of these rare jump high tens.

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  10. bedbuga

    I work in an extremely busy neonatal unit. A colleague and I began high fiving each other in greeting about a year ago. As the pace of the unit has picked up over the past few months we have now progressed to high tens to cheer each other up when things are getting tough.

  11. Mitch

    There was only one time when I had the luxury of the jump high ten with my friend, it was ages ago…ah good times my friend, good times….

  12. Jenn

    My sister and I have our own version. We call it negative five. Basically, it’s an upside down high five. Kinda awkward. When we get the smacking sound, it’s most likely because we’ve whacked elbows and hit each other’s funny bones.

    (For truly awesome situations, we have Zero- a high five followed by a negative five. Because 5 and -5 cancel each other out to make 0. We are such nerds.)

  13. How much force you can put out is basically how high you are going to jump. Increase strength = Increase force.

  14. djsison

    Another great variation is the perfectly timed and suave “Air Five.” Whether you are across the room from someone, or across the stadium, slapping the inside of your arm to make the same noise feels great!

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  16. High tens are awesome! even though high fives are not that bad either ;)

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  20. Barbara

    You’re absolutely right.
    A great benefit of high tens is that you can add more variety than with high fives. My personal advice: high ten with your arms crossed for extra fun! And when you don’t warn each other it’s like a surprise too!…
    More mistakes = more new techniques!

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  26. wendywithaurora

    I have a “friend” Sasha, who is a polydactal~she gives high fourteens…try to top that one! hahaha

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