It’s not the ‘virgin floating hand’, in Korea, it’s the ‘manner hand’

Peace Chiu
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In the US, you might get scorned at when you use the “hover hand”, where a guy is photographed with his palm hovering over a (usually attractive) lady’s shoulders or waist.

That's because it seems to suggest that you’re a nerdy virgin man who is uncomfortable with touching a woman.

But in South Korea, you actually get respected and even praised for using what they call the “manner hand”.

While skinship (physical intimacy usually in the form of kissing and hugging) is rather common in Korea between friends of the same sex, there are strict social rules dictating interaction between males and females.

Here’s what Koreans have to say about touching the opposite sex:

Lee Sanghyun , a 27-year-old student from Korea, told Yahoo! Singapore his mother always told him that hitting girls is wrong.

"If I hit a girl, it's like I'm hitting her [his mother]. And when I think of that, I become sad. So I will never hit a girl. The girls can hit me though," said Lee.

So as the name suggests, using the “manner hand” is an indicator of having good manners in Korean culture.

f(x)'s Amber uses "manner hand" on SNSD's Seohyun. (Screengrab of allkpop)

f(x)’s Amber once used the “manner hand” for fellow label mate, SNSD’s Seohyun.

That caused quite a stir among the netizens as the “manner hand” is usually seen when a man puts his arm around a woman.

It didn’t help that there are lots of speculations that Amber may be a lesbian, especially with her androgynous image.


So what happens when physical touch is necessary, especially when celebrities film dramas or attend variety shows?

The “manner hand” is modified to avoid unnecessary contact.

Here are some variants of the "manner hand". (Screengrab of

These male celebrities move their palms into awkward positions to avoid touching the female celebs.

SNSD's Seohyun uses "manner hand" for Tiffany. (Screengrab of

“Manner hand” is not all about avoiding physical contact with someone of the opposite sex. For example, SNSD’s Seohyun shows her good manners and thoughtfulness by helping Tiffany with her short skirt that was blown up by the wind here.

Big Bang's Taeyang's "manner hand". (Screengrab of

And even when you’re alone, there are times when you need a little bit of help from your well-mannered hand to help cover sensitive parts when you're wearing tight clothing, such as in this photograph of Big Bang's Taeyang.

“Naughty hand”

While you have the angels on the one hand, you also have the devils on the other.

Here, SNSD’s Yuri’s “naughty hand” playfully pulled Taeyeon’s clothes exposing her shoulder.

Thankfully, Yuri is a lady and SNSD members have known each other for years, so she’s been spared from the fury of Sones (SNSD fans).